Review: Truth Seekers
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunite for a charming and spirited paranormal comedy series
Written by Katherine McLaughlin
Supernatural investigation has kept audiences entertained for decades and British television has a long history of toying with our fascination with ghosts in creative and sometimes controversial ways. That now legendary Halloween airing of Ghostwatch is forever embedded into TV history and its delicious trickery was somewhat revisited in Inside No.9’s live episode, Dead Line, which set Twitter alight when the show ran into some ‘technical difficulties.’ Who can resist a good old-fashioned scare? From classics like The Stone Tape to children’s shows Rentaghost and The Ghost Hunter (Shoeshine boy!) and reality TV series such as Ghosthunters they allow an audience to be both freaked out by apparitions and uncover historical details or deeper meaning from tragic personal tales.
Truth Seekers follows in the spooky footsteps of the aforementioned titles in delivering entertaining paranormal activity with a fondness for the macabre. Humour, chills and pleasingly gory effects are plentiful as we follow a group of lonely souls (made up of a talented ensemble cast) who team up to film ghost sightings and solve mysteries across the UK for their YouTube channel.
Nick Frost stars as top broadband engineer, Gus, who is partnered up with new-to-the-biz millennial Elton (Samson Kayo) to show him the ropes. What begins as a distant work relationship turns into a beautiful friendship as the two get to know one another via eerie work visits to haunted hotels and cosy cottages. Their family members are also drawn into their escapades. Malcolm McDowell does hilarious work as grumpy relative, Richard to Gus and Susan Wokoma as Elton’s sister Helen turns in a particularly poignant performance as a young woman with agoraphobia. They are joined by Simon Pegg, Emma D'Arcy and Julian Barratt who delivers a typically great slimy performance as a leading authoritative voice on the paranormal.
As innovative technology continues to open up new lines of communication in the modern day the growing divide between age groups is ever more noticeable. Through the dynamics of its players Truth Seekers explores the fissures between multiple different generations by bringing them together through their shared interests – just the way the internet was intended to be used. With malevolent and manipulative forces threatening to bring the world to the end it’s up to this motley crew to save the day.
The series was created and written by Pegg, Frost, Nat Saunders and James Serafinowicz and it features touching observations on how each character reaches out for connection in their own unique way. Richard is mostly ignored by Gus, living almost like a ghost in the house they share, but he takes great comfort from watching Helen’s online sci-fi make-up tutorial videos; he’s a huge fan. Gus is grieving his wife and in his own way is attempting to summon her enthusiasm for the supernatural and remain close to her via his dedication to his spectral focused channel. Helen's love of sci-fi and horror allows her to connect with a growing fanbase via her channel while Elton strikes up rewarding IRL friendships that boost his confidence and force him to confront the past.
The eight-part series makes for moreish viewing as each episode investigates themes of grief, loss, trauma, loneliness and insecurity with warmth, charm and giggles. Balancing humour and pathos is tough to do but Truth Seekers confidently pulls it off thanks to an inventive script and spirited cast.
Truth Seekers launches on Prime Video on Friday 30th October.
Launch date: 30th October
Episode number: 8
Running time: 25 minutes (approximately)