Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers about the season finale of “Ghosts,” “The Heir.”
“Ghosts” concluded its season with the smallest of cliffhangers, leaving the audience to dangle into the fall (and possibly beyond, depending on how long the writers strike drags on). Yet the finale more broadly underscored the growth of this very funny CBS comedy, which has joined ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” in helping breathe life (ironically, in this case) into the genre on the major networks.
Adapted from a British series, “Ghosts” has become a hit for CBS practically from the get-go, creating a potent one-two punch with “Young Sheldon” on Thursday nights. Easily overlooked, though, in the show’s broadly comic elements, as it mixes ghosts from across decades and indeed centuries, is its underlying sweetness as those relationships have developed and evolved over two seasons.
That aspect unfolded on two fronts in the season finale, which saw Isaac (Brandon Scott Jones), who was closeted when the series began, take the leap of proposing to his boyfriend Nigel (John Hartman); and Alberta (Danielle Pinnock) deal with her feelings of betrayal regarding Hetty (Rebecca Wisocky), who had hid the details of Alberta’s death from her for roughly a century.
If that wasn’t enough, the great mansion’s living couple, Samantha (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), nearly had the house scammed away from them by a woman claiming to have an ancestral right to the estate.
The prospect of losing the property prompted a wistful Sam to remember all the good memories they had amassed there, before the cliffhanging moment: A blinding light suggesting one of the ghosts, identity unknown, had been sucked off to Heaven. (The terminology remains a small triumph for the writers over the network’s standards-and-practices department.)
Granted, the question of who was taken probably won’t amount to much in terms of the core cast, but simply as a practical matter, letting the audience ponder what happened during the show’s potentially more-extended-than-usual hiatus certainly isn’t a bad idea.
Although the show employs a single-camera format, “Ghosts” possesses all the virtues of an old-style ensemble sitcom, with the added benefit of being able to weave in new characters and issue callbacks involving older ones, like this season’s encore appearance by Hetty’s detestable husband.
Genuine hits on broadcast television have become particularly rare in the streaming era, especially in terms of shows that bend the cookie-cutter mold of franchise-able drama series. In that sense, “Ghosts” seems underappreciated, though to be fair, having a cast this big and talented works against it in terms of individual accolades.
CBS, however, knows a hit when it sees one. Given that, whatever the resolution of the cliffhanger, if the network has its way “Ghosts” won’t be heading into the light anytime soon.