CBS’s Ghosts tells a tale as old as time: Freelance journalist Sam (Rose McIver) and her chef husband Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) inherit a mansion from one of Sam’s distant relatives. They decide to turn it into a B&B. And then Sam has a near-death experience and can suddenly see that their new home is full of the ghosts of people who died on the property and for whatever reason are unable to pass on. Whoops, excuse me, the ghosts on Ghosts refer to ascending as “getting sucked off” and descending as “going down on us,” and like Trevor, the most recently passed ghost, we will not correct them if that’s the terminology they choose to use.
Where were we? Ah yes, so now Sam, and Sam alone, has the ability to see, hear, and hang out with the ghosts in her house — and, she learns, any place she goes. As we know, with great power comes great responsibility, and also great annoyance, because while the ghosts left to haunt the Woodstone mansion aren’t, for the most part, of the scary variety, they are very high-maintenance and also pretty pumped that they finally have a “living” to help make their afterlife a little more comfortable. It’s not long before Sam, Jay, and their gaggle of ghosts, which includes a Revolutionary War soldier, a Viking, a jazz singer, and a douchey finance guy with no pants, among others, become some sort of dysfunctional family prone to hijinks and personal character development and great cast chemistry, as families are wont to do.
While Sam didn’t get to choose the ghosts she’s stuck with, what if you could? There might be certain characteristics you’d prefer the spirit haunting you for the rest of your life to have (or not have). Sure, Ghosts’ ghosts may be freaking hilarious, but there are some real-world practicalities to consider. With that in mind, let’s celebrate the show’s return from hiatus tonight by taking a closer look at all the ghosts Sam interacts with, diving deep into the pros and cons of being stuck with one of them until your last day on this planet — and ranking them accordingly.
While alive, Elias (Matt Walsh) was a robber baron and a dick. Locked in his own impenetrable vault for 130 years, upon his release, it doesn’t take long for him to, as one ghost puts it, go down on us.
Pros: His ghost power is that any living who walks through him gets insanely horny. (For Sam, that means a craving for a Nancy Meyers movie, which is relatable.)
Cons: A misogynist. A philanderer. Literally twirls his own mustache when he’s hatching an evil plan to turn all weddings into orgies.
Do I want to be haunted by him? As resident Viking Thorfinn puts it, “He is evil, and I used to pillage for a living.” As difficult as it is to say, putting up with his brand of awfulness is just not worth being able to get horny on demand.
Sam’s overly critical mom Sheryl (Rachael Harris) dies in a Cuban-Mexican-Hawaiian restaurant called Mojitown and only “gets sucked off” after making things right with her daughter.
Pros: Doesn’t seem that interested in haunting.
Cons: Ghost power is stinky shrimp burps. Even in death, she has notes on her daughter’s choices.
Do I want to be haunted by her? She’s really against her daughter being a freelance writer, so for personal reasons, that’s going to be a hard pass from me.
The Cholera-Pit Ghosts
This (large, so large) group of ghosts was ravaged by cholera and locked in a shed to die, but they now reside in the basement for all of eternity.
Pros: Mostly stay downstairs. Have extensive knowledge of the water heater.
Cons: Knowing there are so many of them downstairs just milling around is nauseating. Rotting flesh is a turnoff.
Do I want to be haunted by them? I would say “not to be offensive,” but no, I 100 percent want to be offensive here — they are disgusting and the possibility of running into them for the rest of my life would be true torture.
Nancy, the Cholera-Pit Ghost
Nancy (Betsy Sodaro) rises above just regular Cholera Pit Ghost when she comes upstairs for a while to pretend to be Pete’s girlfriend so that he doesn’t have to admit he has a crush on Alberta. She is … a lot.
Pros: A real wild card who keeps things interesting, understands the importance of standing up for yourself, understands the importance of having enough pillows on your bed.
Cons: Can be exhausting in long exposures. That whole rotting-flesh thing we talked about before.
Do I want to be haunted by her? Although it’s hilarious to watch her interact with other people, I fear a one-on-one lifelong partnership with Nancy would be untenable after, like, a day.
James Dean–esque ghost Crash (Hudson Thames) has a decapitated head that sometimes falls off. Thus far, he’s only appeared in the pilot, but his body has been seen wandering the premises in other episodes.
Pros: If it’s just his body, he’s pretty quiet.
Cons: If it’s just his body, he’s pretty terrifying.
Do I want to be haunted by him? I don’t really want to run the risk of finding a severed head in my bed one morning. I’m not trying to live like I’m in The Godfather, as much as I love cannoli.
Peggy Sue (Nadine Djoury) is a roller-skating waitress from Mojitown who met her demise by way of a car’s tail fin in the 1950s. Drive-ins were dangerous, people.
Pros: Very chipper. Great hair.
Cons: Talkative. A ghost on roller skates is highly unpredictable
Do I want to be haunted by her? She seems nice, but spending my entire life with a grown woman on roller skates sounds challenging.
Sondra (K.C. Coombs) is a ghost from Mojitown who died after eating the Cheese Hurricane appetizer.
Pros: Likes to hang out at the bar. Into cheese.
Cons: Encourages Sheryl to pretend to make amends with Sam in order to get sucked off. Seems like a person who has a lot of notes
Do I want to be haunted by her? And be reminded that too much cheese can kill me? Uh, no, thank you.
Newsboy Winky (Jamie Mayers) chats with Sam when she’s trying to find work. He was trampled by a horse.
Pros: Always has the scoop.
Cons: Pretty bloody. Still uses old-timey newsboy speak. Talks about being trampled by a horse a lot.
Do I want to be haunted by him? If you’re a newsboy who isn’t Christian Bale from Newsies, then I don’t have time for you, that’s just a code I live by.
Shiki (Crystle Lightning) is a Lenape woman Sam runs into at the local publication where she’s trying to dredge up some freelance work, and she has a tie to Sasappis (see No. 2).
Pros: Seems pretty low-key.
Cons: Plays games with Sas both in life and death.
Do I want to be haunted by her? I would say she’s dead to me for hurting Sas, but she’s already dead, so …
Lieutenant Colonel Nigel Chessum and the Other Redcoats in the Shed
There are a few British soldiers killed during the Revolutionary War hanging around in the shed, including Nigel (John Hartman), who has a sort of slow-burn romance going on with Isaac.
Pros: They only show up a few times a year to negotiate treaty lines.
Cons: Incessant fifing. Hate democracy.
Do I want to be haunted by them? I’d like to say that the reason I don’t want them to haunt me is that they are the enemy, but if I’m being honest with myself, it’s the fifes.
Doctor P. Ghost
When Sam goes to the hospital to find out why she is suddenly seeing ghosts, she doesn’t realize she is actually talking to another ghost (Marcel Jeannin) who just happens to be a doctor.
Pros: Whoa, the thought of having instant access to a doctor with nothing else to do but answer all of your medical questions sounds pretty useful.
Cons: He looks like he might be from the 1930s, so thinking about the type of medical advice he might give to a woman is … well, haunting.
Do I want to be haunted by him? Too risky.
Hetty (Rebecca Wisocky) is Sam’s great-great-great whatever and died in the 1890s after living as a pretty mean but successful robber baroness. She still believes she is the lady of the house, and she still believes the best medicine is cocaine.
Pros: Will suffer exactly zero fools. Open to learning and growing as a human-slash-ghost. Will organize walking club.
Cons: Vehemently hates Irish people. Is only a feminist “as long as it doesn’t mean supporting women handling money or riding bicycles.” Will possess your body and try to flee to Paris with it. Has a lot to say about your exposed ankles.
Do I want to be haunted by her? Hetty is a damn hoot to watch interacting with other people. She does have very outdated notions on what women shouldn’t do, but she is getting better about that part, and if she likes you, she is a very loyal friend. And yet still, I can’t get past the fact that when she accidentally possessed Jay, she refused to give his body back so that she could go on adventures she missed out on and also eat more Sour Patch Kids.
Flower (Sheila Carrasco) is a bank-robbing hippie who was part of both a cult and commune before getting attacked by a bear on the Woodstone property.
Pros: She spends a majority of her time chasing butterflies. Her ghost power is that anyone who walks through her gets high.
Cons: She repeats all of her stories. Loves talking about basketball but only knows facts from the 1960s and earlier.
Do I want to be haunted by her? Flower is pretty harmless, but I just can’t hear about that time she robbed a bank any more.
Our Viking warrior Thorfinn (Devan Chandler Long) is the oldest of the ghosts, and since he died by lightning strike, he can mess with the electricity in the land of the living. He once ate his best friend Oskar. Oskar was a squirrel.
Pros: Will defend his people. Great beard. Strong. Into therapy. Loves reality dating shows.
Cons: His “lullabies” are about smashing people’s heads in. Still has a rage problem. Will watch ahead when you’re supposed to be watching a show together. Used to pillage a lot. Ghost power is a fire hazard.
Do I want to be haunted by him? Aw, Thor is trying to become a better, softer person (and he might have a thing for Flower??), but who wants to deal with those violent outbursts or his lectures on cod?
Trevor (Asher Grodman) is a Wall Street bro who died in the year 2000 while not wearing any pants, and he has arguably the most useful ghost power: He can sort of touch surfaces. So he can, with great effort, knock things over, type, change the channel on the TV, etc.
Pros: Is a softy under all his douchebaggery. Will start his own slow clap if the situation calls for it. Knows what a movie is.
Cons: Can’t help but objectify women. Loves vodka ice luges that look like cleavage. Talks nonstop about Diddy’s white party. Will catfish your sister with a dating profile that reads “L’chaim, ladies.”
Do I want to be haunted by him? There’s more kindness to Trevor than he’d like to let on, but sorry, his ability to write on steamy bathroom mirrors is too much for me to handle. And I’m not talking about sort-of scary messages like “She lied.” I’m talking about the demanding ones like “Make pizza.” I just don’t have the time!!
Isaac (Brandon Scott Jones) is a Revolutionary War soldier (on team original colonies) who was a terrible leader and dies of dysentery because he doesn’t believe in washing your hands.
Pros: Hilarious quips. Will roast the hell out of Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry, the state of Maryland, etc. Has endearing slow-burn romance with an English soldier who he accidentally killed (the drama!). Will fight to protect his land against annoying kids on Halloween.
Cons: Sometimes those hilarious quips are very mean. Because he had dysentery, every time you walk through him, it smells disgusting. Always wants to lead but is terrible at it.
Do I want to be haunted by him? Here for the quips but not the smells.
Alberta (Danielle Pinnock) is a 1920s-era jazz singer who was murdered and can project her voice into the land of the living.
Pros: Great pipes. Excellent fashion sense. Will tell you about her Jason Momoa sex dreams. Is not okay with her biggest fan keeping a vial of one of her toenails and having her face tattooed on his back regardless of how badly she wants a legacy.
Cons: That voice can get creepy when projected from dead to living worlds. Knows a lot of ways to secretly murder people because of affiliation with gangsters. Goes on and on about her murder — like really, lady??
Do I want to be haunted by her? Okay, how many times am I going to be asked to host a dinner party for the descendants of the ten most likely suspects in her murder so that I can figure out the truth and enact revenge, though?
Sasappis (Román Zaragoza) is a member of the Lenape who died in the 1500s. His nickname is Sas because, yes, it is the shortened version of his name but also probably because he gives a lot of it.
Pros: A great storyteller. Truly adept at sarcasm. Great hair. Understands the importance of not watching ahead when you promise you’ll watch a show with your friend, and yes, I’m looking at you, Thorfinn.
Cons: Always wants to smell your food. Can’t keep a secret. Hates compromise. So much sass!
Do I want to be haunted by him? Sas could be a great buddy, but he is a little demanding, and he will make you deliver messages to a woman who is just not that into him.
Pete (Richie Moriarty) is a Girl Scout troop leader who dies in 1985 after one of the girls accidentally shoots him through the neck with an arrow. He’d also like you to know that he’s an award-winning travel agent and a great dad.
Pros: Friendly. Accommodating. Loves guidebooks. Just oozes positivity. Respects rules. Loves Newhart. Is in touch with his feelings. Forgives his wife for cheating on him with his best friend. Knows a lot about knots.
Cons: Will make you play D&D. Doesn’t understand what the friend zone is. A real chatty cathy. Does improv. Will talk about knots a lot.
Do I want to be haunted by him? Frankly, I just don’t think there is a better ghost to be haunted by than Pete. He may try to hang out a lot, and it seems like it would be hard to get used to that arrow through his neck, but he only wants the best for everyone. And hey, you may need to know about knots one day.