Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Haunted Hathaways

The Haunted Hathaways

Spring 2015 Television
Ages: 8 & Up
Producer: Nickelodeon
Rating: TV G

The usual teen sit-com format gets a supernatural twist in Nickelodeon's program The Haunted Hathaways. In this live-action half-hour show, a divorced mom and her two daughters move to New Orleans only to find themselves living in a haunted home. But don't expect gauzy ghosts or otherworldly ghouls. The spirits cohabitating with mom Michelle and daughters Taylor and Frankie turn out to be a Jazz musician and his two sons.

By now, we all know the formula for a sit-com includes wacky hijinks and silly misunderstandings. The bigger the cast, the greater the mathematical possibilities are for character interactions that lead to—you guessed it—even more wacky hijinks, and here Mom and her two daughters and Ghost-Dad and his two sons offer a lot of combinations.

Storylines usually rest at the intersection of everyday teen melodrama and otherworldly teen melodrama, with some loose plot thread tying them together. In "Haunted Rapper," one of the ghost-kids Louie wants to win a talent show, while human-kid Taylor sets up her little sister as part of a ploy to get close to the high school football player she's crushing on. In "Haunted Telescope," ghost-kid Louie becomes possessed (it has something to do with a ferret he's watching) while human teen Taylor tries several strategies to get into a party attended by that boy she's still crushing on. And in "Haunted Mind Games," sassy little sis Frankie taunts her older sibling while the ghosts take turns haunting the bakery run by Mom Hathaway.

Imagine The Brady Bunch

if either Mike or Carol's part of the blended family happened to be ghosts and you'd get something like The Haunted Hathaways. This program has its mildly entertaining moments but you'll always see the plot twists coming and the ghost element seems incidental rather than a major device that moves the storylines forward in any really creative or unexpected way. The Haunted Hathaways is a harmless indulgence and as long as you don't go in expecting out-of-this-world laughs, you'll be okay.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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