Preview: Ghosted 1×1 (US: Fox)

Fox spoofs its own TV show


In the US: Sunday, 8:30/7:30c, Fox. Starts October 1

When The X-Files was at its peak, it spawned numerous imitators and cash-ins, trying to capitalise on its success. Remember Dark SkiesFreakylinks, The Lone Gunmen, Millennium and Miracles? Probably not, because largely it didn’t work. There were lots of reasons for the success of The X-Files, and simply having people (usually a man and a woman) investigating the paranormal wasn’t one of them.

The other, even better remembered phenomenon was spoofs. So many X-Files spoofs. You couldn’t move for them, whether you were watching movies like Men In Black, TV shows like The Simpsons, adverts, late night talk shows or whatever. Hell, there were even songs.

So now that The X-Files has officially returned, it seems appropriate that the spoofs should return and on the show’s home network, Fox, too.


Ghosted sees Adam Scott (Party Down, The Greatest Event in TV History) playing a former Stamford physics professor who’s forced to work in a book store, since everyone thinks he’s crazy – he told them all his wife had been abducted by aliens. Meanwhile, Craig Robinson (The Office (US)) is a mall security guard fired from the police force after his partner was killed.

Oddly, they both get abducted by a secret organisation called The Bureau Underground, run by Ally Walker (Profiler), that investigates weird paranormal things. It seems one of The Bureau’s agents is missing and the last thing he said was that the two nobodies in question were the only people who could help.

Soon, Scott and Robinson are off together, working for The Bureau, looking for the agent and head-removing aliens from other dimensions. That’s the aliens’ own heads, not humans’, mind.

Not a spoof

For the most part, Ghosted gets by on a bit of bickering between Robinson and Scott, Scott saying smart but unhip things, Robinson saying street things, and some stupid alien effects. Should Scott give Robinson a bunk up to look in a window or vice versa, given their relative sizes? Will Robinson see the obvious proof of aliens or will he be looking away at the exact moment they show up?

It’s all gentle, easy stuff, and not especially funny, although some gags do land and are even occasionally clever. A few more laughs are to be had at The Bureau’s HQ thanks to Walker and her minions, particularly Adeel Akhtar (Utopia), who don’t quite act like terrifying Men In Black. And given Scott’s an exec producer, don’t be too surprised that we get a tribute or two to other media, and that the soundtrack is always only ever two chords away from becoming the theme tune to Ghostbusters.

There’s a little twist at the end, but this is far weaker than Fox’s rapidly cancelled Making History, so don’t be holding a torch for this one, as I suspect it won’t last any longer than Night Stalker. Remember that? Thought not.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.