Amazon UK TV review: Truth Seekers
Ivan Radford | On 31, Oct 2020
“We’re on the cusp of something here. A gateway between worlds…” That’s the sound of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost getting their spook on with new horror comedy Truth Seekers. The series, which follows a team of paranormal investigators through some Very Bad Things, hasn’t got a patch of red on Shaun of the Dead, but does find its own strengths by leaning into horror more than comedy.
Frost plays Gus, the number one broadband installation engineer at communications giant Smyle – a company that sits somewhere between Amazon and BT. As he goes round old hotels and homes with dark and shadowy corners, though, he finds a fertile crossover between dodgy Wi-Fi connections and his homegrown YouTube channel, in which he explores paranormal phenomenon as the “Truth Seeker”. But after years of Gus failing to strike paranormal gold, why is there is a sudden rise in actual incidences? And why is that happening after Gus has been joined by new technician Elton John (Samson Kayo)?
The answer comes eventually, but not after the duo have picked up a third member of their motley crew – Astrid (Emma D’Arcy), who witnesses a particularly eerie domestic incident. Together, the ramble from churches and hospitals and the way through to a warehouse where sinister plans are afoot. Soon, they’ve gone from bad internet connections to a possible Armageddon.
Those coming into Truth Seekers expecting a Nick Frost and Simon Pegg double-act will be disappointed – Pegg’s role as Gus’ boss, Dave, is almost a cameo – but that means more time for the show’s impressive ensemble cast. That includes the always-excellent Samson Kayo, but also a scene-stealing Malcolm McDowell as Gus’ grouchy father, Richard. He turns out to be the unexpected backdoor into the main backbone of the narrative, which involves Julian Barratt on deliciously nasty form as Dr Peter Toynbee, a self-styled genius who fancies a legacy that lasts much longer than most.
All these strands are drawn together by the script – co-written by Frost, Pegg, Nat Saunders and James Serafinowicz – a decent pace, with each episode smartly kept to just 30 minutes. Each episode is peppered with amusing dialogue and nicely observed skits, from the actor Kevin Eldon as a haunted hotel manager who can’t spot the one room that’s actually haunted to Susan Wokoma as Elton’s agoraphobic sister Helen, who is much savvier than Gus about growing a YouTube channel.
The laughs, though, take an unexpected second seat to the scares, and Truth Seekers gets better the more it ramps up the genuine horror, building to a finale with some messy carnage and genuinely unnerving encounters. The ending leaves enough unanswered questions – and potentially a bigger role for Dave – to warrant a second season. Even if Truth Seekers doesn’t always deliver on the jokes, it certainly conjures up enough darkly imaginative entertainment to linger in the memory.
Truth Seekers is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.