Extreme Ghostbusters turns 20 years old this year... and today I look back at the first episode 'Darkness at Noon, part 1'
KICKING GHOST BUTT
First a little history: Back in early 1997, in an issue of Disney Adventures, I read that one of the upcoming shows for the Fall was Extreme Ghostbusters… and that got me super-stoked, because then home for Real Ghostbusters cartoon, the USA Network’s Cartoon Express, were no longer showing them, and we were still a year away from the launch of Fox Family where the RGB would be staple of the early years of that channel. So on Monday September 1, 1997, the day before I entered High School, I opened the TV Guide and saw on WGTW, Channel 48, at 4 PM ‘Extreme Ghostbusters’ was listed and I tuned in to watch it… and instantly fell back into being the Ghosthead I was 10 years prior with the Real Ghostbusters. It was a continuation of the Real Ghostbusters, time has moved on and they openly acknowledge it, it wasn’t a reboot and certain elements of it tied into what happened between the fist two movies, which I’ll talk about in a bit.
Now this morning I re-watched the first episode, ‘Darkness at Noon, part 1’ and let me say the animation still holds up. Sure the designs weren’t exactly how they were for RGB in regards to Slimer, Egon, Janine or the Ecto-1, but everything still looks sharp and crisp in my view, but lets the story.
The Mayor of the New York wants a new Subway tunnel built, and the subway workers accidently unseal something (similar to Knock Knock), and what they unleash is Achira, a class six demon who can spread a disease via touch with also possession abilities. Achira’s design is pretty damn cool, looking fairly human normal but has a truly hellish ghoul form, with her hands that turn into appendage creatures. Her presence, sets off all the PKE and paranomal scanning equipment at the firehouse, which has been fairly dormant since the 1980s. And this is where I double back to talk about the first two movies and where people have a problem with ‘Everyone forgot there were Ghosts’, the fact is, something that’s a ‘craze’ for a period of time can be easily forgotten, just look at various pop culture elements where once it starts to fade away from public view, it’s totally forgotten about, plus the events in the first and second Ghostbuster film revolved around major paranormal events happening which lead to the rise in Ghost activity. So when it’s said by Egon in this episode that the Ghostubsters shut themselves down it was because there were no more ghosts at that time, and thus people forgot about the Ghostbusters and what they did.
That said, this episode does play into the passage of time quite a lot, as Egon has gotten older, the Ghostbusters equipment is not up to snuff and the Ecto-1 needs a serious wash. Still he is teaching and has a class at the local community college, where he has four new students, Eduardo, Roland, Kylie and Garrett whose personalities are firmly established. Eduardo is the skeptic / slacker, Roland is a tech head but open to possibilities, Kylie is a believer in the spiritual sense and Garrett… is the macho-mouth dude in the wheelchair who wants to hear about Egon’s glory days. This is certainly a unique bunch that play to the original four Ghostbusters without copying it outright, because these are four college teens in the mid-90s as opposed to four grown men in the heart of the 80s
The obvious stand out is Kylie whose goth look and the fact she is coping with the lost of her great-grandma Rose leads to her taking a ‘Ghost Beacon’ from the firehouse to ‘contact the other side’ and her becoming possessed by Achira, in a scene that I’m surprised never got the Rule 34 treatment in fan fic or fan art form considering the amount of screaming involved. There is one problem, if Kylie wasn’t shown in the opening sequence of the show, one could easily have written her off as a one-and-done character, so we know she ends up getting saved even when she gets into trouble.
That said this episode does have some great quotes, when Eduardo makes a quip about people believing in Ghosts have half a brain, and then he sees Kylie’s books, Garrett’s remark of ‘Smooth move, open mouth insert foot’ always gets a chuckle… then there’s the line from Kylie ‘Ghosts walk among us’ followed by Eduardo’s line of ‘And So Do Weird Chicks’ is awesome, and plays into some of the various character interaction. Of course there is the stuff with Egon and Janine, who likes to think their relationship was something more than her being the Ghostbusters receptionist… of course, she handled the bookkeeping and collections! (Egon’s words not mine), but you can tell she’s still pining for him and Egon is a bit dense on the subject, but that came into play in the episode the Crawler, which I talked about a while back.
Next Time (in two weeks) in the Ghostbusters Containment Unit, we’re going back to the Real Ghostbusters with Look Homeward Ray!