Truth Seekers is Nick Frost and Simon Pegg’s much heralded return to tv, though this time around Edgar Wright is nowhere to be found and they’ve collaborated with James Serafinowicz (Sicknote, The Peter Serafinowicz Show) and Nat Saunders (Sicknote, Trollied) on the writing side, it’s directed by Jim Field Smith (The Wrong Mans, Stag), and while Pegg has a supporting role the lead duo are Nick Frost’s Gus and Samson Kayo’s Elton John.
Gus is essentially a slightly smarter version of Mike from Spaced, who works as broadband installation engineer and is distinctly unimpressed when his boss Dave (Simon Pegg) asks him to train up Samson Kayo’s Elton. The duo soon bond though, and Gus shares his obsession with numbers stations (weird recordings which no one understands the existence of) and the paranormal, to the extent that he has his own youtube channel where he investigates strange spooky events.
Pilots have a lot to do and this one does so impressively, as it introduces our lead characters and the world they inhabit in a speedy and effective manner, makes it clear that very unusual and disturbing things exist in it, and sets up a number of mysteries including who is the woman who saw her mother burst in to flames? Who are the strange people in the woods? How did Mrs Connolly swap souls with her dog? And perhaps most disturbingly of all, why is Simon Pegg wearing that very, very dodgy wig?
Frost and Kayo undoubtedly have great chemistry and their pairing up may well become as memorable as any of Frost and Pegg’s much loved characters, and the supporting characters seem reasonably strong too. Few have been given a great deal to do just yet but Malcolm McDowell’s superb as Gus’s Dad, and it’s really great to see him in something good again give the, well, let’s be charitable and call them b-movies that he’s often in these days.
As first episodes go it’s a bit of a slow burner, but it has certainly done enough in establishing that the strange things are very definitely afoot, there’s some nicely tense scenes and it mixes horror and comedy in a way that doesn’t jar. There’s a good few strong jokes too, with the gag about Isis (which stands for Ilford Specialist Internet Systems) and IsisIsis (ah, just watch the show yourself for that one) being the best, but throughout there’s rarely one which falls flat and I was very fond of the way the series has yet to mock Samson’s character’s name.
I’m definitely looking forward to watching more of the series to see where it goes next, and Pegg and Frost have created another bunch of characters whose lives I’m already gripped by. It’s not quite up there with their very best work just yet and doesn’t quite burst on to your tv screens in the way that Spaced did, but there’s enough going on here to suggest that over time it hopefully will be loved just as much as that show is.