'Ghosts' Season 2 Amplifies the Laughs for Searingly Sharp and Funny Sophomore Return (Review)

After earning a sophomore renewal on CBS this past winter, Ghosts returns for Season 2 this Thursday and the single-camera comedy proves it's still as funny as ever and no doubt, here to stay. Based on the BBC One series of the same name, Ghosts amplified the network's comedy offerings following a record ratings win for its premiere season scoring an average of 8.4 million viewers across its 18 episodes. The Joe Port and Joe Wiseman-created series starring Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar among a playful ensemble enters its second year and continues to demonstrate that its masterclass in comedy writing deserves to haunt audiences for years to come.

Returning Sept. 29 at 8:30 pm. ET on CBS for Season 2, the whimsically wholesome network sitcom has become one of TV's brightest series across the primetime landscape. Featuring witty writing, a charmingly talented cast, and a cozy setting that feels like your own home, the 22-minute sitcom has artfully moved far from its BBC inspiration to reinvent itself as a bubbly kaleidoscope of joy and heart continuing its trek through American culture. With PopCulture.com having watched the first four episodes of the season (there are no spoilers ahead), it's most joyfully noted that not since The Office has there been a show that has most cleverly diverged from its source material in a way that feels naturally heartwarming and comforting. 

Spies
(Photo: Bertrand Calmeau / Paramount)

Like The Office, Ghosts has in fact got even funnier thanks to the show's eccentric, diverse and authentic chorus of characters, never before seen on network television. Through its heart and comicness, this unicorn of a series features a roster of unique characters with backgrounds that bring their own humorous flair to situations they find themselves in week after week. Not to mention, Ghosts never features a lackluster moment nor loses its momentum in its humor from the Season 1 finale to the sophomore premiere, proving it's a series that is as relevant and fresh as ever thanks to a lovable story and cast. 

Picking up on the events from "Farnsby & B" in the Season 1 finale, the Season 2 premiere titled "Spies" finds the couple finally opening up the Woodstone B&B after a disastrous debut, which found their home's entrance caving in. After discovering their first guests are an overly critical Midwestern couple (Don Lake and Meagen Fay) with complaints up the wazoo about every establishment they hit up, Sam (much to Jay's vexation) asks the ghosts to help her spy on the pair as a way to secure a good review and perfect their faults. Elsewhere in the episode, Isaac (Brandon Scott Jones) tries his best to integrate Nigel (John Hartman) into his friend group, which means also befriending Thorfinn (Devan Chandler Long) — a spirit who is as electric in personality as he is, power-wise. But knowing how things transpire at Woodstone, it won't be easy for Isaac. 

But where "Spies" offers up a funny, charming escape of a return to refreshing humor after almost five months away, the show's second episode of the sophomore season titled "Alberta's Podcast" airing Oct. 6, truly establishes Ghosts as a force across the television landscape dominated by series like Ted Lasso, What We Do in the Shadows and newcomer, Abbott Elementary. Making us feel like we never left Woodstone, the series plays to its usual humor but amplifies its zeal tenfold thanks to luminous performances by Danielle Pinnock, Rebecca Wisocky and Sheila Carrasco and keenly witty writing from Talia Bernstein. With the episode bound to stand out in the 2022-2023 TV season while featuring one of the most essential dialogues surrounding women, it would be a lowdown dirty shame if the Emmys didn't consider this one next year, as well as its performances from Pinnock and Wisocky. 

"Alberta's Podcast" is one of the best episodes of the four offered so far and speaks to a plethora of necessary conversations as it organically expands its own mythology, unraveling layers behind these Woodstone spirits — something we will, no doubt see explored more this season. Additionally, it's an episode that is incredibly funny with some very laugh-out-loud situations, including one very hilarious, hold-your-tummy kind of moment between Alberta's number one fan Todd (Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll) and three of the Woodstone Mansion ghosts, venting their frustration in a moment that will have you screaming along too.

Alberta\'s Podcast
(Photo: Paramount / Bertrand Calmeau, CBS)

Returning with McIver and Ambudkar is the large, ensemble cast of ghosts — played most brilliantly by Pinnock, Wisocky, Carrasco, Devan Chandler Long, Román Zaragoza, Brandon Scott Jones, Richie Moriarty and Asher Grodman — who, one can assume, would have their quips and moments spread thin across episodes. But everyone gets ample time in respective plots to show off their comedic chops without it ever feeling overdone. After all, one of the best things about Ghosts is that it's a soulful series comprised of main characters who experience their own troubles and triumphs, mostly living through common themes of regret and remorse. The beauty of a show like this is how it celebrates life after death through these characters, many of which are demonstrated through eclectic combinations, like Thorfinn (Long) and Isaac (Jones), Flower (Carrasco) and Trevor (Grodman), or Pete (Moriarty) and Sasappis (Zaragoza). These very refreshing blends of personality not only give audiences another lens in peeling back these layers of who these ghosts really are but provide more chances for the actors themselves to interact with each other and become a larger part of the main storylines.

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Having attended the very hilarious table read for "Spies" and "Alberta's Podcast" in its rawness this past June and getting a first-hand look at primary moments thought up before the writing team fine-tuned the story for broadcast, it can be noted how the talented writers — led by Port and Wiseman — are a real blessing for the show, propelling the series to a game-changing model in comedy. Ghosts, in all its charm and effervescence, has set the bar for TV sitcoms to think outside the box with writing that is refreshingly sentimental and strikingly intelligent while offering genuinely laugh-out-loud dialogue packed with an arsenal of magnetic one-liners and charm, enough to make you want to watch it over and over. In taking one of the most inaccessible things in the world, like the afterlife through the eyes of these eight Woodstone ghosts and making them accessible to a point of it being relatable, Ghosts has most captivatingly become one of the most instantly joyful series to grace television and continues to prove it's a lively force here to stay.

Check in to Ghosts when it returns on Sept. 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS. For more on Ghosts, the Season 2 news you need to know and its ensemble cast, stay tuned to PopCulture.com for the latest. Stream all of Season 1 now on Paramount+.