by pat howard

DVD WISH LIST | “Ghostwriter”

In DVD Wish List on March 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm

The ’90s were a mysterious time, especially for tweens on PBS.

Looking back (through a magical YouTube memory tour), it is both dated and naive. But this was a seminal show in my youth, because it fused everything I loved into a single package: reading, writing, and television. I even have a tattoo of Ghostwriter, and it’s the kind of show I would be inclined to share with any children I run across in the future. Ghostwriter was a mysterious entity that looked out for a group of Brooklyn schoolkids who always seemed to run into mildly dangerous trouble. His origins were murky but he was able to communicate through the written word and help the children get to the bottom of semi-elaborate mysteries.

Each mystery spanned four or five half-hour episodes, originally airing on PBS before being sold to classrooms on VHS and later syndicated to Noggin. Over three seasons, the show chronicled 18 mysteries over 74 episodes. A few years after PBS pulled the plug, CBS aired the spinoff New Ghostwriter Mysteries, which retained none of the charm of the original and condensed each new storyline to a single half-hour.

DVD status: Awesome. Shout Factory will release season 1 this summer.

Prognosis: Trick a new generation of kids into a love of reading and writing through the awesome, manipulative power of television, assuming they’re not already too cynical.

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