“Connecting worlds” is the promise of broadband provider Smyle, their stated aim to provide 100% coverage the length and breadth of Britain, a robust and speedy service thanks to installation engineers such as Gus Roberts who has just been asked to train a new apprentice by the unlikely name of Elton John.
Expecting to be hip deep in routers and cables, Elton instead finds himself becoming familiar with Gus’ extra-curricular activities for which he uses the company van – with the tacit approval of his manager Dave so long as he pays for the petrol – as he preferentially selects jobs which will allow him to visit sites of particular interest to paranormal investigators.
His YouTube channel Truth Seekers not exactly setting the world on fire, despite years of searching for evidence Gus has come up short, but all that is about to change with a visit to Connelly’s Nook where elderly spinster Jennifer is having connectivity problems, the routine troubleshooting leading Gus and Elton to a secret upstairs room and the experiments of her late father…
Created by the dynamic duo of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg who play Gus and Dave alongside James Serafinowicz and Nat Saunders who together have written all eight episodes of the first season of Truth Seekers, it is a blend of Ghostbusters and The Omega Factor released in time for the dark evenings of the Hallowe’en season.
Directed by Jim Field Smith, those expecting comforting fluff from the men behind Shaun of the Dead will be shocked how immediately graphic and grim the tone is as a young woman is haunted by nightmarish figures of flame; her name is Astrid (Emma D’Arcy), and soon her path will collide with the perambulations of Gus and Elton (Samson Kayo) as they seek out broadband lines and leylines.
The cast rounded out by Susie Wokoma as Elton’s agoraphobic sister Helen and Malcom McDowell delighting in bad behaviour as Richard, Gus’ curmudgeon of a parental figure, guests include Kelly McDonald and Julian Barratt as Doctor Peter Toynbee, author of Beyond the Beyond, a figure somewhere between paranormal guru and abrasive cult leader.
Gus and Elton coming across a procession of odd and eccentric characters, or as Dave would call them “customers,” their cases take in the Porton Beacon, advertised as “Britain’s most haunted hotel,” ancients tomes written in blood on parchment of human skin, numbers stations, former mental asylums where witches were executed and the Beast of Bodmin Moor.
Frost reigning himself in to give a subdued performance and Pegg largely in a supporting role, Truth Seekers is an ensemble piece, each episode structured efficiently and effectively with Gus and Elton falling into an easy partnership and friendship which is the vehicle for the stories rather than the focus.
About the aftermath, the enduring trauma of those whose lives have been touched by the unexplained as much as it is the supernatural itself, Astrid, Helen and Richard are developed more slowly but become reluctant members of the team and integral to investigations.
With only eight episodes of between twenty-five and thirty minutes the pace gallops along and the links between the supposedly isolated incidents swiftly become apparent, making Truth Seekers a show to watch to the finale which signals a significant broadening of the spectrum if a second season is produced.
Truth Seekers premieres on Prime Video on Friday 30th October