The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Lane Gwinn
The Times 

My favorite ghost stories on TV


October 28, 2021

Dead Like Me

Some of the scariest characters in afterlife lore are grim reapers. Shadowy skeletal figures, in hooded black robes, carrying a scythe who take souls to their final destination. Dead Like Me offers a very different take on these dark characters by portraying reapers as ordinary, though dead, people stuck in limbo. They are tasked with guiding souls to their afterlife before they themselves can move on.

The main character, George (Ellen Muth), is killed after being hit in the head by the toilet seat from the re-entering Space Station Mir. In life, she was an unhappy temp, and now she is a grim reaper. And it is not much better.

She is recruited after the freak toilet seat accident by Rube (Mandy Patinkin) to become a grim reaper. George is one of several reapers who meet at a diner to receive their assignments. It is also a great time to discuss their pre and post-death lives. She finds death has not freed her from her mind-numbing temp work. However, reapers must hold down regular jobs along with their death duties as they muddle through limbo.

The series can be rented or bought on Amazon Prime or iTunes or watched for free on IMDb TV.

Ghosts, Original British series, BBC

This 2019-present show which just released a third season, is a popular show for BBC. The series starts with the death of a 99-year-old Lady Button, whose death bed is surrounded by ghosts. She has lived in a house unaware of the other occupants, which include a scoutmaster with an arrow through his neck, a sketchy, pantless politician, a WWII general, and a basement full of plague victims.

Lady Button's soul rises from her body, sees the crowd, and before they can welcome her to the group, she is whisked up to heaven. Clearly, there are reasons the others are still in the house, and their stories are sure to come out. After fighting over the Lady's now abandoned room, they find out their peaceful existence is threatened.

A distant relative, Alison (Charlotte Richie), and her husband Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) show up to take over the estate. After the ghosts discover the couple plan to turn their home into a hotel, they decide to fight or fright.

The location used for the estate is the perfect place to haunt.

Scenes where the living pass through the dead are well done. You see the empty room as Alison walks through, jumping to the room full of frustrated ghosts. Recovered from an accident caused by otherwise ineffectual haunting, Alison was near enough to death to now see ghosts. Seeing the estate's complete roster of tenants changes everything as negotiations begin.

The series is available on HBO-Max and Paramount+.

Ghosts, New American series

There have been many attempts to bring successful British shows to American TV. It does not always go well. There have been exceptions, All in the Family, Shameless, and The Office, to name a few. I am not sure this measures up to those efforts yet. I have only seen the first few episodes, and they do mirror the BBC version closely. There have been some changes to the cast of ghosts. The 80s politician is now a Wall Street weasel (still pantless). The WWII captain is now an American Revolution officer who can't believe there is a musical about Hamilton. The basement-dwelling plague victims are now cholera victims. They are still masters of the estate's ancient hot water heater.

The premise is the same as the original. Unfortunately, the grand house is not as convincing as an actual historic British estate. It feels more studio lot and less Downton Abby. The distant relative is Samantha, played by Rose McIver, who starred in another popular dark comedy, iZombie. Her husband Jay is played by Utkarsh Ambudkar. As in the original, Samantha has a near-death accident that lets her see the ghosts in the house. As she goes from thinking she has gone crazy to accepting their existence, the neediness of the un-dead becomes apparent. There is a lot of deal-making to keep peace and learn to coexist. If only it were that easy in real life.

This new series is available on Paramount+, HBO Max, and Pluto TV.


So, you want to sell your house, but the ghosts are bringing your property value down? Unlike the spirits in Ghosts, these squatters are no fun. The solution is finding the right real estate agent. Luke Roman (Tim Rozen) and his team of specialists are called in to sell haunted or possessed houses. Their competing realtors scoff until they list a home with oozing walls or a portal to hell in the basement.

The series starts as the agency welcomes a new agent, Susan Ireland (Sarah Levy). Levy is Eugene Levy's daughter who played Twila on Schitt's Creek. We learn all about the agency as she works to fit in. It is part Ghost Hunter and part Million Dollar Listing. It is described as a paranormal drama and can be seen on the Syfy channel.


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