The Haunted Hathaways
Episode 1: Pilot
By: Carlos Uribe
The Haunted Hathaways is a show about a normal family who moves into a home occupied by ghosts.
The Haunted Hathways has a pretty complicated premise when it comes to live-action kid shows. There is a family that moves into a house that is occupied by ghosts. It's a high-concept idea that leaves a lot of room for supernatural hijinks but it does carry a level of tragedy that wizards don't carry. A ghost is what's left of a living person after they have moved on in this planet. This means that the ghost family in this show died at one point. Death is a pretty serious topic that can be hard for a kid to truly understand. Even if a kid does understand death, it's one that might naturally upset them. The conversations that The Haunted Hathaways might strike up could potentially be risky for any parent not prepared to talk with their kid about the subject. It could be risky because a kid might realize these ghosts were living people once and become alienated from it. On the other hand, a kid could never realize they were alive once. After all, a kid's innocence has a way of shaping their perspective. Maybe I only think about this because I'm an adult and my mind is willing to connect the dots that a kid's mind might not. It's possible that by presenting a light spin on ghosts, the kid might actually become more willing to accept the natural state of death. Whatever the case, it's likely going to be something that only comes up if the kid connects the dots. It's no surprise that the Haunted Hathaways does absolutely nothing to even broach the subject of death. If anything, it's content to largely make a lot of jokes without giving a real reason to why the show should exist in the first place. The plot in the pilot is predictable, the characters are flat, and there is zero depth in this show. It's basically the very representation of the reputation that multi-camera comedies have recently earned: lame jokes, weak characters, and silly plots. I'm guessing kids are going to like this show and it's good for them. Their parents? They'll probably be bored to tears as there's nothing redeeming about this show for anyone over the age of thirteen.
The plot for the pilot is largely to set up the premise. The family moves into a house filled with cobwebs because the mother presumably has the worst realtor in the world. She presumably bought the house online without looking at a photo because the family is largely unaware of it's conditions when they first arrive. That's when the ghost family notices them so they decide to do their best to scare aware the living family. Hijinks ensure and it's not long before the mother hires a ghost buster to get rid of them. Only the ghost family has a friendly member, Miles, that helps save the day for the female protagonist, Taylor, which basically convinces the human family to try to live with the ghost family. The ghost family agrees since they don't want the ghost buster lady to come back. It's a basic plot that never really has any subtlety to it. It sets up the premise and the very basic forms of the characters but it never goes anything beyond that. It doesn't establish themes, it doesn't justify it's own existence, and there's nothing more to it. The show itself starts to set up it's universe but it looks like the rules aren't going to matter. The show has the young ghost who can't control his powers but the other two ghosts have no problems doing so. Their very powers seem to basically amount to magic without any real limit. The biggest part is where two of the bad ghosts are confined to the living room but Miles is allowed to save the day before he gets captured. It makes little sense as to why the ghost buster's spell would work like this. This simply makes it feel like the show will only follow rules when the plot demands there be any and then discard them when their no longer needed. It's a comedy for kids so it doesn't really need rules for it's universe but a well-written show lays out the rules and then sets up scenarios where the rules are obstacles. In this show, ghosts can basically do anything except when the writers decide they can't.
The characters in the Haunted Hathaways are as flat as their plot. Taylor is a normal teenager whose freaked out by the ghosts and into gymnastics. She's a bland protagonist who could easily be replaced without anyone noticing. There is nothing more to the character. She has a younger sister in Frankie. Frankie's whole character seems to be built around the idea that she thinks ghosts are cool. That's basically all that there is to her. Their mother is Michelle, who has just gone through a divorce and has some self-esteem issues when it comes to being a mom. She does seem to believe in her bakery. She's largely as one-dimensional as her kids. The three ghosts aren't any better. The father of the ghost family is Ray. He's largely willing to scare the family away for seemingly no reason. He agrees to live with them but the series didn't actually give him a character. His oldest son is Miles, whose basically Casper. He wants to be friends with the Hathaway family because he's sociable. That's basically all there is to him. The youngest son is Louie, who talks a big game about what he can do but he always falls short. It's a good idea for the very basics of a character but the show never develops him beyond that. Basically: don't expect three-dimensional characters when watching this show. They exist solely to deliver the jokes.
The Haunted Hathaways is a typical kid's show without any value. It has jokes and there's a vague semblance of a premise and plot to hold them but that's it. The characters exist to say the jokes but aren't defined. The plot is predictable and the premise doesn't really bother to explore it's implications on death. Kids might enjoy this show, parents will bored, and this won't be one of those kid shows that gather an adult audience. There's just nothing here beyond the vague concept of a show and the lame jokes it contains.