“Gravity Falls” was released when I was a fifth grader and ended during the latter half of my eighth grade year. It defined—and still does define—that era for me. Its ending, all about growing into a teenager and leaving something special behind, hit very close to me at the time. BBC’s “Ghosts,” which began in 2019 and has ended during my senior year at Brandeis, defined this passing era. It does not end in a dramatic sappy fashion that kismet-ly represents the transition from college to adult life, but it has ended and that alone makes me sad.
All in all, “Ghosts” has five seasons and a mere 39 episodes, with a final Christmas special releasing later this December (I will cry, it will be embarrassing). I reviewed the first two seasons back in 2021. At the time, I had seen the show through only twice. That number has quadrupled. I just love showing this show to people. Everyone should get to experience the lingering comfort of “Ghosts.”
I can not comprehensively review three entire seasons of this show within a word count suitable for this paper but what I can say is that “Ghosts” never faltered. When I inevitably rewatch it in the coming year, there is no episode I would skip. Episodes don’t necessarily build upon one another. Outside of five or six world-altering plot points, “Ghosts” could be watched in any order. There are certain episodes I would watch more than others as well as episodes with B-plots I don’t find particularly compelling, but this show does not have a bad episode and it deserves to be watched in its entirety.
The proto-finale episode, which does serve as the show’s ending, despite its true finale not yet airing, is exactly as it should be. For readers looking to avoid thematic spoilers, skip this and the following paragraph. When entering a show’s last episode, one expects a few boxes to be checked. All character storylines should be wrapped up, all information that the audience should have has been laid out and the story of the show should end. Often in the form of characters splitting up. “Ghosts” doesn’t do that third thing. The remaining ghosts could have passed on to the afterlife or Allison and Mike could have moved out, but instead, nothing changes. The residents of Button House continue living together, we just don’t get to see it anymore.
No other ending would be fit for “Ghosts.” It is a slow-paced and simple show that does not need a grand finale. Its charm and coziness are the results of understated writing and a largely stagnant world. That description inevitably makes “Ghosts” sound boring, and I have no doubt some viewers may find it to be just that, but it is simply meant as a testament to how powerful that world and that writing is.
I have thus far failed to mention real specifics of what makes this show so special to me. Partially that is because my 2021 article goes into much of that, but, to better pitch all five seasons of this show, I will expand slightly here. BBC’s “Ghosts” has many of the makings of a children’s show (which makes sense given the creators’ past ventures, all of which I also adore). In every episode, the silly central characters are faced with a problem and they must work together, through bickering and wacky hijinks, to solve or overcome that problem. But “Ghosts” is not a show for children. Its characters, particularly the eight main ghosts, are far too thoughtful and tragic. Their dialogue and the relationships between them are sweet and funny and so British but there is always this underlying darkness that other shows don’t capture quite as well. It never overwhelms an episode, it never gets too dark, but it is a show about dead people. Dead people who are stuck in a liminal space and unable to interact with the world around them. It should be a little sad all the time. And “Ghosts” is. It is unquestionably a comedy, and with that children’s show quality about it, not even a black comedy, just a macabre one.
On a final tangential note, were one to ever confuse or unfavorably compare this show to its American remake (which already has more episodes than the original), I would throw down. Anytime, anywhere. I will fight you. I have never and will never see even a clip of “Ghosts (US),” I spit at its mere existence. It is a stain upon the spotless reputation of BBC’s “Ghosts” and I hope it gets canceled.