A haunting hoot! Ghosts is not the typical sitcom, but the transformations of the actors on the show are just part of the fun.
The CBS series, which premiered in October 2021, follows married couple Sam (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) after they inherit a country estate. The pair plan to convert the historic home into a bed and breakfast, but their situation grows more complicated when Sam suffers a near-death experience in the house and suddenly acquires the ability to see the ghosts who live there.
The personalities of the spirits range from a Viking to a Prohibition-era singer to a flower child. Their knowledge (and costumes!) span centuries since they all died on the property and failed to move on to the afterlife over the years.
Joe Wiseman explained in October 2021 how he and fellow showrunner Joe Port crafted the ghost characters.
“The first thing we did was look at the macro and we thought of American archetypes and what kind of characters were from what period,” Wiseman told Entertainment Tonight at the time. “We sort of landed on the Northeast, where the Hudson Valley is and where the show is located, because we felt like that had American history baked into it.”
One character, in particular, dictated the background of the show’s entire ensemble, as the executive producers were set on including Thorfinn, played by Devan Chandler Long.
“One thing early on that we decided we wanted was a Viking,” Wiseman recalled. “And we just thought that would be a fun character to have. That sort of forced our hand a little bit in terms of location because we did a lot of research for all the characters. We wanted things to be historically accurate as much as possible because it’s just as easy to be accurate and funny as it is to make things up.”
Following “a lot of research about Vikings,” the creative team discovered that some sailed “down the coast from Canada and did exploratory missions inland,” Wiseman said. “So it rang true that one would be in the Hudson Valley.”
The key to the show’s charm was to build a diverse cast of undead characters. “The fact that these people who never would have met in real life from all different kinds of people, from all different kinds of places, but also from different eras who literally weren’t even alive at the same time,” Port told the outlet. “It’s a very interesting world where, even though they’re very different, because they’re forced together, they become friends and learn a lot from each other.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see what the stars of Ghosts look like in real life: