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Series / SurrealEstate

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SurrealEstate is a series airing on Syfy, starring Tim Rozon, Sarah Levy, Savannah Basley, Adam Korson, Maurice Dean Wint, and Tennille Read.

Luke Roman is the straight-talking head of the Roman Agency, a real-estate firm that specializes in rehabilitating "stigmatized properties" - haunted houses. Together with his eclectic team of experts, and new hire Susan Ireland, Luke investigates houses whose property values have been adversely affected by paranormal activity, either real or imagined.

The series was originally canceled after its first season in 2021. However, on May 12, 2022, the series was Uncancelled with a Season Two expected to arrive in 2023.

This series contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: The pilot gives us Lauren Lenore, teenage telekinetic.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Very frequent. For instance, Susan is aware of her pyrokinetic powers, but doesn't believe in haunted houses.
    • In "White Wedding", Susan is reluctantly hired by the mother of her lifelong best friend to investigate strange occurrences at her house. Despite long knowing that Susan has telekinesis, the mother is skeptical when Susan suggests that the house might be haunted.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: In "Quarantine", Phil identifies the Roadie as a supposed Norse creature called a "tregastur". "Tregastur" is an Icelandic word, but it just translates to "saddest".
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Roadie tricks the team into thinking that they defeated it and then moves on, having found what it was looking for.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Susan is told to look for a mundane explanation to a haunting which turns out to be a telekinetic teenager.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The Donovan House... and Luke Roman's stillborn twin sister, who has been screwing with his life for years because she resents that he lived while she died.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Solid black eyes are often a sign of possession on this series.
  • Body Surf: In "Quarantine", the Agency has to deal with a "Roadie", a spirit that possesses humans and forces them to do its bidding.
  • Broken Ace: Susan was one of the best closers in the local real estate market. Then she had an affair with her boss and got fired. The Roman Agency was the only place that would take her after that.
  • Broken Pedestal: In "For Sale by Owner", Luke finally meets the ghost of his long-missing mom, only to learn that she wasn't taken to the other realm by force, she chose to go there, because she resented having to raise Luke and was relieved to be free of him. It later turns out that this is not actually his mom, but the ghost of his stillborn twin sister, who resents him because his umbilical cord strangled her in the womb.
  • Brought Down to Normal: At the end of the first-season finale, Luke loses his powers after his sister's spirit is finally exorcised.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: In "Quarantine", the Roadie turns out to be a tregastur, an old Norse demon that can be detected by interrogating the possessed person, as the tregastur is unable to tell lies.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    Megan Donovan: I could just burn the place down and send it back to hell… or lower the price.
    Luke Roman: Lower the price!?!?
  • Control Freak: This is Susan's main character flaw - she has to do everything her way, and has trouble seeing things other people's way, which causes her to butt heads with Luke and everyone else at first.
    Susan: My way just works better than everyone else's! [beat] I just said that out loud, didn't I?
  • Creepy Child:
    • In "The Harvey", Cindy looks like a cute little girl until you make her mad enough, at which point the sharp teeth come out. Get her even more upset, and she shows her true form of a grotesque, demonic looking hag with sharp teeth and claws.
    • In "Ft. Ghost Child", George initially seems like a harmless little prankster, but when nobody will play with him, he gets angry and turns into a full-blown poltergeist.
  • Dead All Along: Susan's client in "Roman's Six", who can't move on until he's sold off a house owned by his estate that's being occupied by obnoxious dude bros.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The North Cabin became cursed after Samantha North, distraught over the deaths of her husband and her relatives, drowned herself in the nearby lake. Her desire to have her family back resulted in her relatives' spirits all becoming trapped in the cabin.
    • It turns out that Luke's mother disappeared because the vengeful ghost of his stillborn twin sister tried to drive her to suicide. This eventually led her to the Donovan House, which captured the sister's spirit, freeing Luke's mother from her influence. It's unknown where his mom has been since then.
  • Eye Scream: In "Roman's Six", Luke deals with a house where everyone who enters it ends up dying of a gruesome eye-related injury.
  • Fake Cutie: In "The Harvey", Susan contends with Cindy, a malevolent spirit disguised as a little ghost girl who claims that she can't move on unless her doll is found and returned to her.
  • Faking the Dead: When a Watchmaker threatens to kill Megan, she and the Roman Agency manage to throw her off the scent by planning an elaborate fake death before she starts watching, then acting as if it were spontaneous when she did, thus preventing her from fulfilling her action on time and defeating her.
  • False Friend: Luke has a special classification for malevolent ghosts like Cindy who pose as imaginary friends - "Harvey", named for the imaginary rabbit from the movie of the same name.
  • Fiery Redhead: Susan is a redhead with pyrokinetic powers. They apparently manifested when she got pissed off at her ex-boyfriend and set his bass guitar on fire. That said, whatever anger-management issues she had seem to be in the past (although she does start a small fire on her former boss' table during a dinner party in one episode).
  • Five-Man Band: Luke is the hero, Zooey is the lancer, Anthony and August trade the smart/big guy roles back and forth, and Susan is the chick/the heart.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Quarantine", after the second attempt at destroying the Roadie, the detector is showing five green (safe) dots when there are six people in the room, including the later arrival Megan, foreshadowing that the Roadie has gone into Megan.
  • Hellhound: In the pilot, the Donovan house's cellar is being guarded by a hellhound. Luke is able to bribe it with a porkchop just long enough to take a quick look around.
  • Insistent Terminology: Luke insists on referring to haunted houses as "stigmatized properties", as it was seen as a more credible term by the focus groups.
  • I See Dead People: Luke can speak to and interact with some ghosts (as well as demons) that the others cannot.
  • It's Personal: In the pilot, Luke's interest in the Donovan house stems from the fact that his mother happened to live next door back before she disappeared, and she was last seen knocking on the front door.
  • Jerkass: Susan's ex-boss, Bob Livingstone. He cheated on his wife Twyla with her and lead her to believe that he would leave Twyla for her... only to renew his vows and fire Susan to save his marriage/his own skin. In "Quarantine" he has the gall to try and convince Susan not to accept a major award, or at least not acknowledge her current employer, because he fears it would reflect badly on his agency if someone he fired continued to do strong business, especially with an agency he looks down on.
  • Locked Room Mystery: In "Quarantine", the team must figure out which of them has been possessed by the spirit that they just expelled from a house.
  • Logic Bomb: A Watchmaker is a very powerful demon who always kills people in the same way. You can defeat it by interrupting its pattern in a way that causes it to think that it has encountered a paradox. It cannot deal with contradictory information and it will go into an endless loop and suffer a supernatural stroke.
  • Lost Lenore: August lost his wife years ago, and has never really gotten over her.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: In "Baba O'Reilly", Luke, Phil, Zooey, and Augie get trapped in a house that reverts all four of them into sixteen-year-olds and tries to fulfill their every immature desire in the hopes that they'll stay there forever.
  • Mama Bear: Susan's mom, who gives Bob Livingstone some impressive death glares and snarky comments when she sees him.
  • Mind over Matter: Susan is not only able to generate fire, she is telekinetic as well.
  • Missing Mom: Luke's mother disappeared when he was a child, and he spent most of his childhood being raised by his single father.
  • Nay-Theist: Megan understands that ghosts exist and that her old house is haunted, but being a medical student, she refuses to treat them as anything more than an inconvenience.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Susan still regrets that her last conversation with her father was an angry argument about changing her university major, which culminated in her calling him an asshole and then hanging up. He suffered a fatal stroke the next day.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Luke does not approve of calling malignant entities 'ghosts'. He even outright calls it the "G" word. He also has the euphemisms "Harvey" and "Lassie" - a Harvey is a malevolent spirit disguised as an imaginary friend, while a Lassie is a more helpful spirit that attaches itself to a child.
  • Real Dreams are Weirder: In "Quarantine", Susan mentions having a dream where she's trying to sell a house to Justin Timberlake, only for him to start singing instead of signing the paperwork and his pen turns into a snake.
  • Red Herring: Throughout the first half of "White Wedding", the team investigates the home of Susan's friend Priya, searching for some hint of the paranormal, but all they can find is traces of the ghost of Priya's father Dev, who shows no signs of malevolence. The actual source of the paranormal problems comes from Priya's fiancee Leon, whose family is under a curse that kills the first love of ever son in the family.
  • Remember the New Guy?: "White Wedding" introduces Priya, Susan's childhood best friend, who has never been previously mentioned.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Upon rewatching the Roadie episodes, one notices that there are a lot more hints to there being way more than one - there's at least three. There are three circles on the drawings on the fridge that Susan looks at in the initial episode, and Phil later says Roadies don't normally travel in even numbers.
  • Rubber Man: While possessed by the Roadie, Augie briefly gains the ability to stretch out his arms, while Megan turns her head 180 degrees - interestingly, while Augie shows visible signs of pain and says his arm was dislocated, Megan shows absolutely no ill effects afterwards.
  • Slasher Smile: While sleeping in her grandmother's house, Megan has a nightmare about being attacked by a surgeon with an extremely wide grin.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Susan was having an affair with her old boss. She got fired after he decided to rekindle his marriage with his wife.
  • Stealth Pun: The episode "Baba O'Riley" is named after a song by The Who of the same name. While the title itself doesn't connect to the content of the episode, the song is known for repeating the phrase "teenage wasteland"—which is an apt description for a Lotus-Eater Machine where victims waste their lives away as permanent teenagers.
  • Straight Gay: Phil looks and acts for all the world like a straight man, in sharp contrast to his husband Anthony, who enjoys singing Gilbert and Sullivan showtunes on the job and is generally a bit more camp.
  • Take That!: One of the types of ghosts the team deals with is called a "Mumford"... because it does the same thing over and over again.
  • Telepathy: Luke is able to communicate with Aunt Ruby in this way.
  • Troubled Teen: In the pilot, Susan deals with Lauren, a stressed-out, moody teenager who also happens to have telekinesis. Unable to control her powers, Lauren has been unconsciously lashing out at her overly strict parents and grandparents.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Much of Susan's aggressively driven personality stems from trying to impress her late dad, who was distant and mostly obsessed with his business.
  • Wendigo: Mentioned in "Quarantine" as one possible origin of the Roadie.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Susan's stated life goal is to make the world a better place, one home sale at a time.
  • Woman Scorned: In "White Wedding", the source of all the dangers against Priya is Johanna Baptiste, the ancestor of her fiancee Leon, who put a curse on the Baptiste family that every son would lose his first love before they could marry. This is because Johanna's own fiancee, Isaiah, had another first love who was not her.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: In "The Harvey", Cindy is a malevolent spirit who poses as a sad, lonely little girl to manipulate people. Luke calls this sort of thing an LRG, or "Little Red's Grandmother".