SurrealEstate Review: “Pilot”

I’m here to help.
Who are you? Are you a priest?
No ma’am. I’m the real estate guy.

The Roman Real Estate Agency deals with haunted (or “stigmatized”—they don’t like the “h” word) properties. Since supernatural doings seriously affect the value of the property, they either clear up issues that aren’t otherworldly, or clean up those that are.

Title: “Pilot”

Cast and Crew

Director: Paul Fox
Writer: George Olson with Gillian Muller and Thomas Pepper

Tim Rozon as Luke Roman
Sarah Levy as Susan Ireland
Adam Korson as Father Phil Orley
Maurice Dean Wint as August Ripley
Savannah Basley as Zooey L’Enfant
Tennille Read as Megan Donovan
Jennifer Dale as Victoria Roman
Jessica Clement as Lauren Lenore
Petrina Bromley as Elsa Lenore
Kevin Curran as Herb Lenore
Matt White as Brock Harlow
Greg Malone as the Surgeon
Alison Brooks as Rita Wells
Eliza King as Jaguar Woman
Brooke Adams as Nurse

Premise

A family and a medical student each find themselves in properties compromised by supernatural forces. As it happens, a real estate firm deals with exactly these situations.

High Points

SurrealEstate features a tone and premise reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with side orders of The X-Files, Supernatural, and Ghostbusters. It takes its own approach, however, and the often dry humour and gentle camera-winking work very well. I think the show will prove an engaging and entertaining watch.

Low Point

Let me revisit one of my recurring Low Points from other shows: Jessica Clement is a good actress with a history as a child performer. However, she’s clearly in her mid-twenties at this point, and casting her as an adolescent, particularly given the way the part has been scripted (as, at most, fourteen), is stupid and distracting. She’s not on the screen very often. They couldn’t have just cast an actual teen?

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 Surrealestate doesn’t hide its influences, and even riffs humorously on some of them. An early scene parodies one of the most familiar shots in horror movie history. At the same time, it takes some interesting twists. The show sets up Roman and Ireland as Mulder and Scully, but provides some unexpected developments, especially for our skeptical female agent. The notion of exploring the supernatural from the perspective of real estate sales feels original in English. I have not watched the Korean series, 대박부동산 (Sell Your Haunted House), which has a similar premise and, I am told, a similar blend of drama, comedy, and horror.

Acting: 6/6 Rozen and Levy sell the show, with their snappy comic chemistry. The other actors do well, though some of the supporting cast have too little to do, and will be developed, one assumes, in future episodes. In a couple cases, the script becomes a little to blatant establishing these characters’ default personalities during short appearances.

Story: 5/6 First episodes get some slack because they have to set up so much. This episode features two compromised properties and some characters who will almost certainly return. The solution to one of those stories will be obvious early on to people familiar with the haunted house genre. The other is almost too generic, but it has obvious long-term implications for the series. However, they have been handled effectively.

Production: 5/6 The show boasts good production. Many genre shows have been filmed in Canada, but this may be the first to take advantage of Newfoundland and Labrador. We see some splended cinematography that takes advantage of a famously scenic region.

Effects: 5/6

Emotional Response: 5/6 The premise provides opportunities for both developed arcs and Monsters-of-the-Week. The scares are pretty routine, standard low-level Halloween/horror stuff, but it has been a while since a supernatural series has grabbed my attention from the start.

Overall: 5/6 Just possibly, what we need now, is a slightly goofy, contemporary supernatural show that channels some of the lighter approaches TV took in the 1990s, provides some scares, and doesn’t require yet another platform subscription to watch.

In total, SurrealEstate, “Pilot,” receive 33/42

2 replies on “SurrealEstate Review: “Pilot””

  1. Well, I’m convinced to check it out. I’ll check back after I watch it.

  2. JD DeLuzio says:

    I’m hoping it holds out. They definitely have the right cast for “Buffy with adult characters set in the world of RealEstate,” and the Canadian Maritime coast has a lot of great locations that have rarely been exploited by film and TV.

    I don’t know how much the location choice was influenced by the Atlantic provinces’ comparatively low rate of COVID-19.

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