SurrealEstate is the latest series on Syfy with a different approach to the ghostbusting genre. The only reason they try to help rid haunted houses of their restless spirits is to sell them and maximize their value. Tim Rozon, whom we spoke with about the show, stars as Luke Roman, the head of the Roman Agency. He leads a group of specialists in helping turn over the homes no one else can.
In the pilot, Luke welcomes a new member to his crew, Susan Ireland (Sarah Levy). She’s your typical sales agent who’s good at her job but has fallen on hard times career-wise. The Roman Agency is involved with two properties this week. The first is an old home with an abundance of paranormal energy owned by a medical student named Meg Donovan. The other is from a nice family whose house inexplicably has various objects float and thrown during showings.
The first episode of SurrealEstate does a good job introducing its main characters. You receive an idea of who Luke is. Rozon instills his character with levelheadedness, considering the circumstances, and compassion for his clients. He’s a veteran when it comes to the unexplained and nothing seems to phase him. There’s an intriguing twist about Donovan’s home and its connection to Luke that creates an overarching story and not just a house of the week feel.
Levy is very amiable in her role and her character is a real power player and alpha when it comes to selling homes. She’s just not as familiar with the supernatural side of things. Though it is interesting that we receive some hints at why Luke hires her besides her realtor experience and she demonstrates it with helping to sell the other home. We do meet the rest of the gang at the agency including Father Phil, an ex-priest who does background checks, Auggie the tech guy and Zoe the office manager but it’s all pretty superficial.
For a paranormal drama, SurrealEstate really knows how to develop frights and suspense. The pilot doesn’t have to rely on cheap jump scares but creates really freaky moments. They run with Meg Donovan’s medical background for her home with a sadistic looking doctor helping teach anatomy. The grin on his face is enough to give you nightmares not to mention his lurking in unexpected places.
With horror, comes a little campiness in a good way. It indicates the series is having some fun and the humor is quite good. You’d expect nothing less when a member of the Levy family is involved. The levity helps break up time between those scarier moments and make them more palatable. However, the campiness at times can lead to some subpar effects, particularly with the final monster.
Despite the setting and subject matter, there are more grounded moments because Luke likes to remind his new employee to not rule out the rational explanation. Though there is still a strange phenomenon angle to Susan’s property, it gives the character an opportunity to connect with a teen on a more personal level and reflect on her own life.
The series premiere strikes a good balance of chills and comedy for a fun ride with some engaging leads.
New episodes of SurrealEstate air Friday nights on Syfy.
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