SurrealEstate Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Stigmatized Properties

Well, that was the start of something with a lot of potential.

With Tim Rozon leading a talented cast of fellow Canadians, SurrealEstate Season 1 Episode 1 set the expectations for what the show will be all about.

It feels similar to other Syfy shows off the bat, such as Warehouse 13 and Haven, and that’s good company.

Luke Roman runs the Roman Real Estate Agency, where he and his team offer specialized services to homeowners who find it hard to sell their homes, let alone get top dollar.

These people are among the unlucky few who have stigmatized properties that make unburdening their homes a tremendous burden on them and those who show interest in a property.

A stigmatized property is one whose value has been affected by unfortunate occurrences — ragic events associated with the property, including but not limited to murder, suicide, even accidental death or the perception, either real or imagined, of any residual unpleasantness related to said unfortunate occurrences.


Enter Luke and his specialized team. Like all real estate teams, it has a title guy, an IT guy, and an office manager. On the premiere, he’s also hiring a new agent. Business is booming. He needs a hand.

Title guy Father Orley (Adam Korson) is a fallen priest. That sure comes in handy in their profession. August, the IT guy (Maurice Dean Wint), has nifty contraptions that capture the images (and likely a whole lot more) of spirits cluttering the properties they sell.

It’s unclear how Zooey, the office manager (Savannah Basley), contributes to the whole process, but if what we learned about the new agent, Susan (Rozon’s Schitt’s Creek costar, Sarah Levy), is any indication, then she’s got a something special that will be revealed eventually.

It wasn’t revealed exactly how Luke got involved in this unique side of real estate, but he’s darn good at his job. Not much phases him, and he carries on as normal when others are practically sh!tting their pants in fear over otherworldly occurrences.

Everyone in the show refuses to outwardly admit their belief in the supernatural, especially Susan, who arrives at Roman Real Estate with a chip on her shoulder.

It wasn’t as simple as finding the agency’s specialized services unique, though. She was on the run from a bad relationship that scuttled her career. As most of us know, sleeping with the married boss isn’t always the best for job longevity.

Luke knew to leave Susan to her own haunting on her first day. That’s because it wasn’t a haunting at all, but telekinetic children wreaking havoc. Susan had experienced similar powers as a teen.

She acts as if she’s over it, but the possibility remains that she’s more in touch with herself than the average real estate agent, and her history is exactly why she got hired.

Susan, people die. Their souls, they pass on. Only love and low-maintenance composite decking last forever.


Susan is as close as to a Scully as we’ll get to Luke’s Mulder. Luke believes. Susan is skeptical. We’re excited to see how that plays out.

It seems to be his interest in the Donovan house that requires Luke to add another agent. Megan Donovan (Tenille Read) has taken possession of her grandfather’s house after his death, and while she’s trying to sell it herself, it’s not going well.

The opening scene of the series found Luke walking to the house in an homage to The Exorcist. And, really, that’s what Luke is. He’s not a Roman Catholic Priest, but he banishes spirits and demons nonetheless.

His timing was excellent and allowed frightened Megan a strong pair of arms to launch herself into when she decided to leave the warmth of her inherited house for the thunderstorm outdoors. Anything was better than thinking she was losing her mind.

Megan: I don’t believe in ghosts.
Luke: Neither do I. I just work with them.

Of course, the Donovan house was haunted, and by the end of the hour, Luke had convinced Megan that it was, relatively, at least, spirit-free.

Perhaps the evil surgeons who had lured Megan into their dark realm are gone, but the house is far from spirit-free.

The Donovan house isn’t just another job for Luke, whose mother visited the then-vacant house to complain about the weeds around the property. When she stepped inside, it was the last time anyone saw her.

As Luke told the story, I wondered how anyone knew about it. If the house was vacant, then nobody knew she was there to talk about weeds. Did someone see her? I think there’s more to the story.

It’s an interesting story, though, especially considering Luke’s family history.

His mother left when he was young, so he was raised by a single dad who has since passed away. He’s got unfinished business with his mother that started way back, and if he can find a way to free her from that house, he’s going to do it.

So right off the bat, SurrealEstate introduced a capable cast and two ongoing storylines. Luke isn’t letting go of the Donovan house any time soon, and Susan can investigate a new haunting on every episode.

I don’t know if that’s how it will unfold, but it would make sense. It would also allow the supporting characters to shine with so much happening on the canvas.

That’s something else that the show has in common with Haven and Warehouse 13. The entire ensemble is needed for both the overarching story arc and each different case that’s presented. And the flair for the dramatic permeated with comedy really works for shows like SurrealEstate.

What about you? Are you in for the long haul?

Hit the comments and share your thoughts on this new Syfy series!

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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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