The second season of “The Haunting of Bly Manor” makes a remarkable return to the grand elegance and idiosyncratic goodness of Elton John’s picturesque mansion in Eastern Connecticut. The series is based on a novel by Henry James, and at the core of this second season, overseen by exec producer Patrick J. Melton and co-creator Bryan Fuller, is the handling of the ghosts of the author.
New episodes of “The Haunting of Bly Manor” began airing Thursday on Syfy. This second season does not develop, for the most part, from “The Curse of Oak Island” and shows more clearly that the showrunners are not engaged in strict updating of old stories.
The series opens with the Fitzgerald family moving to Bly Manor after departing Putnam, Conn., during the Great Depression. John Fitzgerald (Tyler McNamara), we learn early on, became a walking ruin before he died and the mansion burned down, after which his wife, Ann (Naomi Grossman), and their children flee to California. But Josephine Fitzgerald (Madeleine Arthur), the oldest child, hadn’t left a letter behind for a telegram that would help the estate settle on the whereabouts of her husband’s grave. Years later, a visit from the ghosts of Henry James suggests that Ann would be quite welcome at the mansion, should her remaining relatives again decide to return to Bly Manor in an attempt to finally exhume their departed patriarch.
This season’s ghost hunt is noticeably stronger. The ghosts are more menacing, and the images conjured by the storytelling are ever-so-slightly more chilling than what one experienced with Will Graham and the dearly departed Mr. Allison at “The Returned” or with the wandering visions of a Charleston housekeeper at “The Haunting of Hill House.”