We weren’t stoked on the Ghosted trailer when it dropped in May, but now we’ve seen the full pilot for the Fox scifi buddy comedy starring Craig Robinson and Adam Scott—and we can report that while the show’s first episode is still a little rough, it has definite potential.
It’s tempting to just be sucked in by the charisma of Robinson and Scott. Both are beloved comedy actors and they are obviously very funny together. The title might make you think that the duo is solely chasing ghosts, but the pilot and the panel that followed made it clear that Ghosted will encompass aliens as well as other monsters and creatures (Bigfoot was mentioned more than once). It will also explore multiverses, which are a particular area of interest for Scott’s character. And its tone will pay as much homage to odd-couple buddy action movies from the 1980s (like Beverly Hills Cop and 48 Hrs.) as it does The X-Files.
The pilot unfolds at a breathless pace and is very, very eager to get its ridiculous set-up established so that Robinson and Scott can do what they do best, which is riff off each other. An agent in “the Bureau Underground” goes missing, and his last transmission name-checks Leroy Wright (Robinson), formerly a top LAPD detective now toiling as a mall security guard, and Max Jennifer (Scott), a onetime genius MIT scholar who’s gone off the rails a bit since his wife was (maybe) abducted by aliens. When they’re recruited by the Bureau to help investigate the MIA agent, neither guy has any idea what the hell is going on, but both are secretly pleased that this weird disruption has given their unsatisfying lives a shake-up.
Other employees of the Bureau include a bossy boss (Ally Walker) and a goofy guy in a lab coat (Adeel Akhtar); the officious character played by Edi Patterson in the pilot will be replaced in future episodes by a more badass (read: more fun) weapons and tech expert played by Amber Stevens West. If you’re willing to buy that a top-secret, highly classified organization would entrust a fate-of-the-universe level case to a couple of untrained civilians, you will have an easier time embracing Ghosted. But to truly work, Ghosted will need to make its genre-melding feel more organic, and perhaps take its scifi and horror elements a little more seriously. Right now it feels like an action buddy comedy that happens to have forcefields, random monsters, and multiverses shoehorned into the mix.
BUT STILL. Robinson and Scott would be appealing if the show was just them doing an extended version of the copy-machine repair scene (glimpsed in the trailer—everything in the trailer is from the pilot) for an entire episode. Ghosted has enough talent behind it to make us think improvement is inevitable—and the first episode leaves plenty of room for that. This show could be amazing. And, well, we want to believe.
Ghosted premieres October 1 on Fox.