Plot: Frank Taylor (Matthew Fox) is an investigator who finds his life in chaos after his own son is abducted and despite his best efforts, the case goes unsolved. Before that dark incident, Taylor seemed to have it all, with a promising career and loving home life, but that all vanished. Years later, he is divorced from his former wife Jessica (Lynn Collins) and works as a private investigator, as he was also dismissed from his detective role at the police department. Once a rising star and devoted family man, Frank now finds himself alone and with little direction. He soon finds it easier to make new friends however, after a near death experience opens his senses and he finds himself able to communicate with ghosts. But are these visions real or just part of a mental break and why did the spirits choose Frank?
Entertainment Value: This genre has seen countless twists and attempts to spice up the well worn formula, so it is no surprise to see supernatural angles explored. In the case of Haunted, the “I see dead people” approach was taken and while that premise sounds fun, the show was cancelled before the first season had finished. The show was only given seven episodes before the hook and given the dark, serious premise involved, that didn’t give Haunted much of a chance. A serious concept like this needs a little time to build steam and that obviously didn’t happen, though more episodes were produced, just never broadcast. I do like the premise, a crime show with some light horror elements, but I think the dead serious tone likely scared some viewers off, pun intended. A lot of shows in this genre have dark threads at times, but also bursts of comic relief or at least less tense moments. But Haunted is serious at all times and quite bleak most of the time, so that can be a harsh experience. But if you like the idea of a detective solving crimes with the help of ghosts, this is a solid watch.
Matthew Fox starred in Haunted between two hit shows, right after Party of Five and just before Lost. This show will never be discussed on the same level as those programs, but fans of Fox should still appreciate his work here. He handles the relentless bleakness quite well, with a dead serious, often brooding presence. His performance is good and he tries to make the most of the material, but Haunted doesn’t give him a lot of chances to shine. Lynn Collins is also good as the ex-wife and brings a different kind of energy, while Russell Hornsby, Michael Irby, and John Mann help round out the regular cast of performers. The show does have some interesting one shot players, such as Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Michael Eklund, Zachary Quinto, Ken Marino, and of course, the great Vitamin C herself. While Haunted is no television classic, it has an interesting premise, some solid narratives, and for fans of supernatural television shows or Matthew Fox, is worth a look.