Ghostwriter (TV series)

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"He's a ghost, and he writes to us: Ghostwriter."
Jamal Jenkins, Ghost Story
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Surreal, quirky mystery/educational series on PBS and The BBC from 1992-1995 produced by Sesame Workshop. A group of middle-school kids in Brooklyn, New York are the only ones who can see a benevolent, amnesiac ghost, whom they dub Ghostwriter. He can only see and communicate through writing, and he uses his abilities to help the kids solve mysteries. The show never made it clear who Ghostwriter was, or why he chooses to help people. Although some episodes implied that the ghost retained more memories than he claimed to, Ghostwriter's true identity was never revealed.

His abilities, by contrast, were extremely well-defined. For example, when the kids take a comic book as evidence, Ghostwriter can't see anything in it except the speech balloons. His spying often made the perp obvious very quickly, but the kids then had to find other evidence that would be admissible in court -- with a few exceptions. Each mystery was a four-part episode, except for the premiere and "To The Light," which were five-parters.

Presumably because of PBS censorship codes, almost all violence on the show happened off-camera. This made the show painfully slow and talky most of the time. But some scenes were truly scary nail-biters. The villains ranged from eccentrics to raving nutcases, and were fascinating -- too much so, as they made the heroes look bland. Some episodes managed elaborate mysteries without any villain at all.

Not recommended for anyone over the age of twelve, but worth seeing just for how the writers managed to come up with tension without much on-screen violence or if you grew up with the show and see well it was back then to now. And keep an eye out for Julia Stiles, Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee in guest roles.

If you're looking for the trope that could have gone here, see Playing Cyrano. Not to be confused with a literary ghostwriter, defined by That Other Wiki as "a writer who writes books, articles, stories, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to another person". Also not to be confused with the film The Ghost Writer.

Tropes used in Ghostwriter include:
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Jamal: It was his first time. We all know what that feels like.

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