Ghost Wars takes place in the extremely secluded Alaskan town of Port Moore, where an earthquake of supernatural proportions causes a bunch of accidents that rock the very foundations of the town. Not to mention, it brings out the ghosts to play. And by play I mean cause mass hysteria via paranormal induced hallucinations amongst the living. Resulting in more deaths and thus adding to the ranks of the Ghost army.
The only hope Port Moore has is the shape of Roman Mercer, the towns outcast and pariah who also happens to be a latent telepath who can communicate with the dead. Yes, he sees dead people. Like that kid from that movie. He acts as the pseudo paranormal General of this endless series of Ghost Wars. Aided by his ghoulfriend (see what I did there?), Maggie, a recently deceased teen who acts as Roman’s conduit into the paranormal. Communicating how they think and feel.
Actors Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy & Prison Break), Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica) and Vincent Donofrio (Daredevil & Law and Order : CI) are what save the show. Then there’s Meatloaf who’s best known for Meatloaf and he plays an angry old alcoholic who yells at people. So finally we have a show where Meatloaf plays Meatloaf. Clever. These mainstays barely form enough emotional attachment for me to care about them in Ghost Wars. The supporting characters, even less. Though, I do applaud the inclusion of a functional lesbian couple with a family of two twin daughters and Kim Coates, who plays the creepy over protective uncle. I applaud the focus of that family unit being just a family and a successful one at that (one is the town mayor, the other the doctor).
Ghost Wars tries its hardest to bring issues such as science, religion, paranormal and rebirth into the fold but doesn’t achieve in its mission to coherently link those themes. Ghost Wars leaves little more than what would be the dreaded remains of a John Carpenters and HP Lovecraftian bukakke love fest. A whole lot of WTF scenes make up the show with most of them disproving its own continuity. The ghosts who wage war on the citizens of Port Moore play their core motivation close to the chest. All we know is that they are angry with the living until a deeper menacing truth of the need to procreate is revealed.
What kept me watching is executive producer/director Simon Barry’s involvement in personal favourite Continuum; assuming we’d get a more well rounded tale that explores the deeper emotional depths and layers of the characters and their environment. How it molds and how it shapes them. I got this in Continuum but not so much in Ghost Wars. What I wanted was less alien pods and more hallucinations via homicide. To be fair, I’ve seen a whole lot worse first seasons of shows that just didn’t meet the bar, yet continued to get renewed over and over. On that basis, it weighs in alright comparatively but I’m concerned that the fan favourite characters are going to be absent in the second season due to chief protagonist Roman Mercer successfully making it across to the mainland.
Key episodes for me include “Deaths Door,” “Whatever happened to Maggie Rennie” and “The Feast.” Ghost Wars shows an interesting take on the paranormal through it’s homicide/suicide via hallucination. The ghosts manipulation of perception and how the citizens of Port Moore react to the sheer horror is the stand out winner of this series.