“City Of Ghosts” On Netflix Is Unlike Any Other Kid’s Show


Earlier this month, Netflix quietly released a new children’s show that struck a chord with my 28-year-old self. Say hello to City of Ghosts.

In City of Ghosts —aka the softest show ever— four kids learn the rich, multicultural history of their city by interviewing the friendly spirits who can’t bare to say goodbye.

Creator Elizabeth Ito’s deeply thoughtful kids series will also remind adults how precious life is

The show follows the Ghost Team, a diverse group of four friends who look for and talk to ghosts around Los Angeles, all while learning about the city’s history and the people who made it what it is today.

The show was created by Elizabeth Ito, whose previous work can be seen on Adventure Time, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, and Adventure Time with Finn & Jake, among many other projects.

There are six episodes in the season, with each episode exploring a different Los Angeles neighborhood in just under half an hour. And yes, you will feel just about every emotion under the sun in that short amount of time.

The show is told documentary-style, with each episode being introduced by its inquisitive host, Zelda, and filmed by Zelda’s brother Jordan on a handheld camera.


Netflix

Ito told Kidscreen that the dialogue from the adults in the show was improvised, while the kids were scripted with simple writing. The ghosts in the series are also actual LA residents that Ito recorded.

They, along with friends Eva, Thomas, and Peter, explore a haunted restaurant in Boyle Heights, the skating community in Venice, a vegan café and jazz and blues museum in Leimert Park, learn about the Indigenous Tongva people of LA at a park, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater in Highland Park,
and visit a music school and Korean BBQ spot in Koreatown.

Episode 4 in particular — titled “Tovaangar” — is my personal favorite and nearly brought me to tears with its breathtaking dialogue and equally beautiful depiction of the Indigenous Tongva people of the Los Angeles basin.


Netflix

I literally wrote pieces of this episode’s dialogue down into my notes app so that I could sit with its words for a little while longer.

Even I — a person with deep roots in the city — learned something new by watching the show. It’s the love letter to a pre-gentrified LA that I never knew I needed.

Away from all the usual outside talk of traffic, cold-pressed juice, ego, and Hollywood, City of Ghosts paints a colorful picture of a true Los Angeles that puts its greatest asset at the forefront: its people.

And for those with no personal connection to the city, the show is a gentle reminder that everyone has a valuable story to tell if you’re just willing to listen, even if it is from a ghost.

If you think I’m just sitting here hyping up yet another show, don’t just take my word for it. These fans were also equally moved:

Please watch CITY OF GHOSTS. I hope it will offer you some comfort. It’s a beautiful show that tenderly highlights diversity, community, and understanding. Created by Asian American artist Elizabeth Ito (@kikutowne), it’s pure love for LA and its multicultural people.


Twitter: @Carlos_Film

City of Ghosts on @netflix is a GEM. Celebrates cultures in a smart & funny way. The show is like that warm, fuzzy sweatshirt blanket they keep trying to sell you on IG. Thank you @kikutowne. Art changes hearts & minds🤍


Twitter: @sujataday

smiling ’cause of how tender and beautiful City of Ghosts is. a great love letter to the people & history of LA! and, the show is intentional in its gratitude+inclusiveness. ep1, boyle heights <3. ep2 starts with a young character telling us their pronouns as part of their intro.


Twitter: @anandvedawala

City of Ghosts is one of the rare times I’ve seen the Los Angeles I know on screen, and it might just make me feel something in my cold dead heart for this place after all 💜


Twitter: @kacawcaw

city of ghosts on netflix is SOOOOOO CUTEE. like i love it so much. and i love how all the characters are of color. its great to see representation for kids. also there’s a nonbinary kid and i love to see it


Twitter: @8wariorlittle

immediately loved City of Ghosts, (which also made me a little weepy!), such a beautiful love letter to Los Angeles and community journalism and all kinds of ghosts


Twitter: @tejalrao

My brain felt overloaded & broken from research for my new horror pilot so went looking for something beautiful & brimming with joy to wash it in.

I found it: CITY OF GHOSTS on Netflix. My god what a gorgeous heartfelt series. I’m emotional from all the goodness in it.


Twitter: @MrPaulBae

#CityofGhosts on Netflix is such a gem! An animated show about a ghost club of kids exploring the spirits of LA. The episode about the Tongva, the Indigenous people of LA, had me all weepy in the best kind of way. Such cool storytelling, felt a lot like community journalism. 👻✨


Twitter: @alemolina

Every episode of #CityofGhosts is like a warm hug. I think this episode (#6) is my favorite. It takes place in Koreatown and brings together the Korean & Oaxacan cultures there. The characters speak English, Zapotec, Korean, and the Oaxacan whistling language.


Twitter: @ninakin9

So, if you or your children are in need of a new, low-key comfort show, give yourself (or them) the gift that is City of Ghosts.

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