tek's rating:

Ghost Patrol (CGI), on Disney Channel (USA) / Family (Canada)
Family.ca (archived); IMDb; Kickstart

Caution: spoilers.

This first aired on October 9, 2016, on Disney Channel (in the US), and a couple weeks later on Family Channel (in Canada). It seems a bit odd to me that it aired earlier in the US than Canada, considering it's a Canadian production, but whatevs. I don't get either channel (I mean of course I don't get Family, but Disney... I lost access to several years before this aired). So, I ended up watching it on YouTube. Anyway, before it aired, I wasn't quite sure if it was meant to be a one-shot special, or the pilot for a series. And now that I've seen it, I'm still not completely certain. It definitely seems like a pilot, but it was billed as a special. I wouldn't mind seeing the story continue (if I had access to a channel it was on; I certainly wouldn't watch it on YouTube on a regular basis). But if the one installment is all we get, that's fine too. (It's not like it ends on a cliffhanger, or anything, but it does set up a premise for further adventures.)

So... there are these two kids, Gabi Flores and Spence Avery. (The one little page DHX has for the show currently calls Spence "Kip," for some reason, but just ignore that.) Gabi and Spence have a business called the Ghost Patrol (although I'm not sure "business" is an apt term, because I didn't get the impression that they charge anything for their services). They're both very eager to find ghosts and obtain evidence of their existence, but so far they've never found anything. (People around town do seem to call them a lot, but the "ghosts" always turn out to have perfectly normal explanations.) I suppose I should say Gabi is the one who seems more gung-ho about the whole thing (she's also a conspiracy theorist, who believes both ghosts and aliens are being kept secret from the public by the government). Spence certainly isn't a skeptic, but he takes a more low-key, scientific approach to their ghost-hunting. Oh... and the two of them are also accompanied by Gabi's dog, Spooky. Meanwhile, Gabi has a vain, kind of dumb older brother named Marco, and Spence has an older sister named Harper. The two of them like to ridicule their younger siblings for all the ghost stuff. (The fact that we always see them hanging out together makes me wonder if Harper and Marco are a couple, but they may just be friends. Anyway, it's not important.)

Well, Gabi and Marco's mother is a realtor, and she's currently trying to sell a 200-year-old mansion called Geist Manor, which is in disrepair, so it's proving hard to sell. One day, Gabi, Spence, and Spooky go check the place out, but fail to find any ghosts. Later, though, Harper and Marco decide to prank them by making an anonymous phone call to the Ghost Patrol, saying they saw a ghost fly into the mansion. So the kids (and Spooky) go there again that night, unaware that their siblings are already there setting up things to scare them. But none of them are prepared for the discovery that the place actually is haunted, by the ghost of Colonel Walter Geist, the original owner of Geist Manor. He scares off the older kids, but by the time he subsequently meets the Ghost Patrol, they'd already discovered the prank props their siblings had set up. So it takes a little while for Colonel Geist to convince Gabi and Spence that he's a real ghost, and not part of the prank. But finally he does convince them, and tries to get them to leave. But of course they're not scared, they just want to take pictures of him. He doesn't like that, so he steals their cameras and hides them.

While looking for their cameras, Gabi and Spence find a secret room that leads to Geist revealing something about himself that I don't want to spoil. But... when Mrs. Flores shows up with some prospective buyers (who for some reason could only come at night), things start getting chaotic... in a way that has to do with Geist's revelation, so... I can't tell you what happens, exactly. But I will say that Gabi, Spence, and Spooky end up helping Geist deal with a certain problem. And in the end, Geist invites them to help him with similar things in the future. (Which is why it seems like it could become a series.) Anyway, that's all I want to say. Except that, while parts of the show were a bit cheesy, it was also reasonably fun and funny. And I did like Gabi and Spence, and even Spooky.


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