I had the opportunity to watch the first three episodes of Paramount+ and Awesomeness TV’s School Spirits before its premiere next Thursday. The young adult drama stars Peyton List, Kristian Flores, Spencer MacPherson, Kiara Pichardo, and Milo Manheim.
The series is based on the upcoming graphic novel by Nate Trinrud, Megan Trinrud, and Maria Nguyen, and it centers on Split River High senior Maddie (List), who, after suffering a mysterious death, is stuck in the afterlife. Rightfully suspicious, Maddie investigates her disappearance, which puts some of the closest people to her in the crossfire as potential suspects. She bands together a rag-tag group of ghosts from the Split River support group to help her uncover the secrets and the lies that lie in the halls.
Whodunnits are really having their moment in film and television right now with programs like season 4 of You on Netflix and Rian Johnson’s Knives Out: A Glass Onion Mystery. School Spirits is a twisty, whodunnit-style teen drama that is the latest addition to Paramount+’s ongoing efforts to grow its young adult content.
One of the most enjoyable parts of the series is just how disconnected a lot of the dead are from modern times. It produces a lot of chuckles — like how blogs aren’t a thing anymore because they’re “too hard to read.” (Rhonda, the 90s kid, gives a large eye roll.) Nick Pugliese’s Charley makes a perfect ghostly sidekick to Maddie, and Manheim’s Wally falls right into the lovable jock trope. List, meanwhile, proves yet again why she’s one of the most underrated stars to come out of Disney Channel. Her acting is great with the little quips she throws in from time to time, but her facial expressions and reactions are on another level. School Spirits is a fun, fresh, and promising mystery series. Essentially, if The Breakfast Club was a support group of ghosts instead of detention, it would be School Spirits.
School Spirits will premiere on Thursday, March 9 with the first three episodes exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and Canada. Following the premiere, new episodes of the eight-episode season will stream weekly. They will be available the following day in Australia and the U.K. and will also launch on Paramount+ in Latin America and Brazil on Friday, April 28. Premiere dates in other Paramount+ markets will be announced at a later date. The graphic novel from Clarion Books/HarperAlley, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books, will release this fall.