During the upcoming weeks, as the snow falls outside and you take a much deserved break after a busy semester, you may find yourself — for the first time in quite a while — wondering how to fill your time. If you end up in this situation, take one of my suggestions and begin one of the shows discussed below. Each one is funny, captivating and expecting another season in the near future, meaning that if you get attached, there is more fun to come. I promise that no matter which you pick, School Spirits, Ghosts or Only Murders in the Building, you will not be disappointed.
If sometime during winter break you begin missing a school atmosphere, School Spirits might be the way to go. School Spirits began streaming on Netflix on Nov. 30 and quickly achieved “widespread acclaim.” The first season of the show has an 83 percent critic rating and an even higher 92 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. The second season is set to begin production in 2024.
School Spirits is about a high schooler who finds herself trapped in high school after her untimely death. Joined by the ghosts of students who died at the school throughout the eras — including a hippie from the ‘60s or ‘70s and a jock from the ‘80s — Maddie, played by Cobra Kai star Peyton List, navigates her new afterlife. But unlike the other ghosts who know exactly how they died, such as one who forgot his epipen on the day the school cooked the french fries in peanut oil, Maddie has no memory of her death. And so begins the quest of the eight-episode first season — finding out how Maddie died and who was involved. While this may seem like a typical who-dunnit, I found the twists and turns in School Spirits unique and refreshing. I can say with some certainty that you will not guess who actually did it until the very last episode. School Spirits will keep you clasped in its hold until the very end and it will have you feeling grateful that you are not stuck in high school for all of eternity.
Yes, another spooky themed show — but I promise that Ghosts has a very different vibe than School Spirits. A sitcom which began streaming on CBS in October 2021, Ghosts has two hugely popular seasons under its belt, the first of which consisted of 18 episodes and the second of which had 22. With the recent ending of the SAG-AFTRA strike, the date of the much anticipated third season has finally been released. Ghosts will be returning to CBS on Feb. 15; so if one were to watch the first two seasons during winter break, they would be perfectly positioned to watch the third once it is released. And I promise, if you watch the first two seasons, you will be eagerly awaiting the third just like the rest of us.
Ghosts is light-hearted, fun and strangely poignant at times. The episodes are short, fast-paced and always entertaining, perfect as a background show if there is any work to be done during the break, or simply for relaxing during your new free time. The show follows young couple Sam (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), who inherit an abandoned mansion in upstate New York after the death of Sam’s great-aunt. Predictably, this creepy old house is haunted, not by only one, but by a band of ghosts who died on the property. From a Lenape man to a Viking, a closeted Revolutionary War general to a mysteriously murdered jazz singer from Prohibition-era, all of the ghosts of the show are intriguing, loveable kooks who fill Sam and Jay’s lives with chaos, mystery and fun. Despite how much you will inevitably enjoy watching these ghosts in the show, let’s hope the Woodstone Bed and Breakfast is the only haunted old building in upstate New York.
Only Murders in the Building
Why does every show include some sort of murder? Whatever the case, murder is certainly interesting, and in certain cases, absolutely hilarious. Only Murders in the Building, like Ghosts, has been around for a little bit, as the first season premiered on Hulu in August 2021, but it is an absolute must-watch. My favorite of these three shows, Only Murders is, in my opinion, the best show created in a very, very long time.
For one thing, you cannot beat the cast. The show’s main trio is the unstoppably hilarious combination of Steve Martin, Martin Short and the always fantastic Selena Gomez. These three are neighbors in a New York City building called the Arconia, where people are constantly being murdered. And somehow, our lovely trio is always involved in some way or another — whether through knowing the deceased, being accused of murder themselves or following the latest murder on their podcast. They are joined in the show by an unforgettable slew of side characters, which in the past three seasons have included Amy Schumer, Tina Fey, Cara Delevinge, Meryl Streep and Paul Rudd, among others.
It makes sense that Only Murders is Hulu’s most-watched comedy ever. The show is beautifully created, full of energy, humor and creativity. While poking fun at society’s true crime obsessiveness, Only Murders in the Building simultaneously offers incredibly exciting and mind-bending mysteries for viewers to try and piece together. Despite your attempts, I promise that you will never be able to figure out where this show will go next: who will be the next suspect, the next victim or be involved in the next utterly unbelievable turn of events. From random musicals to flashback scenes, love stories to beautiful friendships, this show is surprising, heart-warming and attention-grabbing. I think the success of Only Murders can be credited to the fact that the show was co-produced by Steve Martin, and the three main actors are all executive producers. It is clear that they have poured everything into this show, and their labor of love will not let you down. The show’s renewal for its fourth season was announced on Oct. 3, and it is estimated that the next season will be released in the summer of 2024. It’s time to enter the Arconia and get caught up on everything that has happened in those hallowed — or rather harrowed — halls.
Don’t let your winter break be dull — pick up one of these shows and fill your next few weeks with laughs, thrills and amazing television. Merry watching!
Jenna Ledley is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].