Review by C.J. Bunce
Tom Rozon is looking like you probably haven’t seen him before–or at least for the past 10 years. The handlebar moustache from his stint as roguish Doc Holliday on Wynonna Earp is gone, and that lack of facial hair he’s sported for his outlandish roles in Vagrant Queen on back to Lost Girl and beyond makes the real estate agent he plays in his next series seem boyish, trustworthy, and kindly–he looks at least 10 years younger than his 45 years. The new series is SurrealEstate, and the pilot episode that aired Friday on Syfy has all the makings of a regular addition to any good genre TV follower’s DVR. It begins with fantastic writing and dialogue, from new TV creator George Olson and writer Gillian Muller (Endlings, Life with Boys).
The series follows Rozon as Luke Roman, a real estate agent for homeowners with properties that have some kind of compromised past. This pretty common thing–homes where a crime occurred, a murder, a suicide, etc., isn’t that far-fetched an idea to base a series on. But this is Syfy and a genre series, so expect to find that some of these homes might be possesses in some way with spirits, ghosts, apparitions or whatnot. Which puts the series squarely in the camp of Ghostbusters or last year’s Nick Frost series, Truth Seekers (reviewed here). It’s not either of those shows, but fans of both should love this spin on the genre. (Genre TV fans will want to keep an eye out for a few forthcoming episodes directed by Wynonna Earp star Melanie Scrofano.
So with Roman’s real estate agency homeowners get a unique level of treatment, without the typical smarmy dealing of the realty world. Roman seems very sincere. The real estate process and procedure is realistic. He and his team are trying to help people–while earning a fair commission for their work. That team includes a priest played by Adam Korson (The Twilight Zone, Longmire), an eloquent, incredibly Frankensteinian/Lurch-like techie combination of Ghostbusters’ Ray and Egon (wielding a set of prop binoculars that are worthy of a Warehouse 13 episode) played by Maurice Dean Wint (Murdoch Mysteries, Haven), and a supernatural expert of a yet-to-be disclosed variety played by Savannah Basley (Wynonna Earp, Private Eyes).
But the real co-star looks to be Sarah Levy (Schitt’s Creek), stepping into the genre realm as a normal real estate agent who joins the team as apparently, as she says, Winston Zeddemore, aka the fourth Ghostbuster (or fifth on the team in this case). As a refreshing twist, Levy takes a character that could be a skeptic or bumbler, and makes her interesting and a promising player–agent–on the team. And she has her own secrets.
The first case has the team examining a giant Victorian home, that the team at first believes was apparently never built, but somehow existed forever. Tennille Read (Heroes Reborn, Good Witch) is the homeowner who is seeing apparitions while she studies images of corpses studying at home as a medical student. The parallel case being tracked is brought to the team on a referral, split-fee basis by another local, generally loathed agent, trying to sell a house where objects seem to be moving on their own. But maybe it’s not the house that is the problem.
The great pilot will have you coming back for more. Watch the first two of the first season’s ten episodes now here at the Syfy website, or set your DVR and view the series weekly Friday nights on Syfy.