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Real Ghostbusters: The Best and Spookiest Episodes

We're continuing our month-long salute to The Real Ghostbusters animated series in preparation for the theatrical release of Ghostbusters Frozen Empire. Plus, we've got a bunch of all-new artwork we've created just for this post! The series debuted on September 13, 1986 and ran until October 5, 1991 for a total of 147 episodes. A spin-off of the 1984 movie, it took on a life of its own with a successful toy line, comics and a plethora of merchandise. Who doesn't remember the Ghostbusters 2 themed ghost zappers from Hardees?


Real Ghostbusters art


This post is part one of a two-part series where we're teaming of with Slasher Design to pick our favorites from the series.


FAVORITE EPISODES


At Osbourn Draw, we had a three-way tie. The easiest pick is the episode that we've seen the most, "Halloween 2 1/2". We love the character of Samhain, the Spirit of Halloween. This, his second appearance, featured the ghost imprisoned by druids as goblins freed him from the containment unit and he used the opportunity to seize the firehouse from the Ghostbusters. it was up to Slimer to help the boys in grey find a way to take back their headquarters and end Halloween on a good note. This episode also features the Junior Ghostbusters and was written by Pamela Hickey and Dennys McCoy.


Our second favorite episode is "The Thing in Mrs. Faversham's Attic." This episode had the elderly Mrs. Faversham coming to the Ghostbusters to determine what spectral entity lives in her attic. It turns out her late father tried to summon an entity that would bring his daughter a better life, but found he couldn't control it. He trapped the entity in the attack where, for 70 years it grew angrier and angrier. Luckily, the Ghostbusters used that anger to trap the ghost. This episode is notable for doing that one thing that cartoons did to show they weren't just meant for kids. The "B-plot" featured Peter being overly helpful to Mrs. Faversham and we learn at the end of the episode she reminded him of his mom (who it is implied has died).


Our third episode tied for the best is "Ragnarok and Roll." A distraught man named Jeremy, with his hunchback friend Dy Tyillio, plays the Symphony of Destruction on a flute that brings about the end of the world. Natural disasters and strange hauntings begin to plague the world. The Ghostbusters meet Cindy, the woman who broke up with Jeremy, and Egon is able to track down Jeremy atop a New York skyscraper. As a "dark entity" looms above, Dy Tyllio is nearly killed and in a change of heart, Jeremy, with the help of the Ghostbusters, decides to reverse the world's destruction by playing a different tune. The plot of ending the world is essentially telling the viewer that Jeremy is planning to commit suicide, he's just going to take everyone else with him. Pretty heavy stuff for kid's Saturday mornings, but the episode pulls it off brilliantly. We are likely never to see this quality of entertainment again as animation diverges into shows for kids and separately shows or animated movies for adults.


The last two episodes were written by the great J. Michael Straczynski. Looking back, this is not where I first saw his work. That would have been He-Man and She-Ra. Then Ghostbusters and also another of my favorite TV shows, Murder, She Wrote. Finally, from one of his most renowned roles as the creator of the sci-fi epic Babylon 5. Lesser know, Straczynski was also responsible for two of my earliest favorite and most treasured comics, as well. The first issue of the Babylon 5 comic from DC that told the story of B5 between seasons one and two. And the series Rising Stars, which was one of the first books that got me into comics outside of the Batman, Star Trek titles. Looking back at Staczynski's Ghostbusters episodes, you'll see a theme of stories that can appeal to both children and adults. The first couple of seasons were very strong in their use of paranormal myth and lore which has only added to their rewatchability.


We asked Justin, from Slasher Design, his favorite episode. He also chose "Halloween 2 1/2" and "The Thing in Mrs. Faversham's Attic." However, he had another entry called "Flip Side" written by Tony Marino. In this episode, a strange tornado in Central Park sucks Peter, Ray and Egon into an alternate version of New York (called "Boo York, the Big Pumpkin") where they are hunted by ghost versions of themselves called Peoplebusters.


There is one episode that deserves an honorable mention and that is "Citizen Ghost." Also written by J. Michael Straczynski, it was a flashback retelling of the events that took place right after the Ghostbusters movie events and their battle with Gozer. Their tan uniforms were so soaked with ectoplasmic energy, they had to get new ones (the colorful ones from the series), but Peter forgets to throw the others out and they become spectral versions of the Ghostbusters themselves out to take down their living counterparts. The story also shows how Slimer came to live with the Ghostbusters, the installing of the new containment unit and the rebuilding of the firehouse.


Our favorites list is bigger than Mr. Stay-Puft himself, but these episodes were and still are central to the creativity that now put into our own works. When I wrote the comic about a submarine in a haunted world, I called it SeaFright after the Real Ghostbusters episode, for gosh sakes! "The Halloween Door" gets a nod because it has the notoriety of being the only episode run in primetime and featured clips from the unaired Real Ghostbusters pilot episode. Another Straczynski entry, it skipped Samhain and introduced Boogaloo (who was back in town) when a ghost tricks a crotchety old man into removing any semblance of Halloween. This breaks the ancient contract between the living and the dead and therefore, the ghosts can now take back our world. The resolution, and more of that brilliant Straczynski writing, was that the ghosts just wanted us to remember them.



Real Ghostbusters episode art

SPOOKIEST EPISODE:


The quality of an episode is one thing, but what about an episode that was legitimately scary?


Osbourn Draw chose the episode "No One Comes to Lupusvile", a second season episode that saw a man named Gregor hire the Ghostbusters to remove vampires from his small, isolated town called Lupusville. Something isn't right and the Ghostbusters eventually learn Gregor is also a vampire and they've stepped into a battle between two factions--one who ones to isolate, the other that wants to journey beyond Lupusville. But it gets really hairy (no pun intended) when the original inhabitants are found imprisoned where they can't see the sky. Why? They're werewolves! It's about to hit the fan and the Ghostbuster get out of Dodge when the war between vampire and werewolf heats up!


A second, runner-up episode is "The Grundel." In this outing, the Ghostbusters help a kid whose trouble brother is under the influence of a demon called a Grundel.


Slasher Design chose the aforementioned "The Thing is Mrs. Faversham's Attic" and "Knock, Knock". The latter episode had the Ghostbusters head underground to close a door accidentally breached by subway workers that wasn't supposed to have been opened until Doomsday. All of the spookiest picks were written by J. Michael Straczynski with "Knock, Knock" being his first for the series.




Spooky episode characters from Real Ghostbusters

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