Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Problem with Ghost Hunters...

I'll admit, I was a junkie. I just couldn't get enough of Jason and Grant, Steve and Tango, and the rest of the folks from T.A.P.S. (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) on the SyFy Channel. The first season wasn't my favorite, what with all the internal drama and awkward confrontations. The show got better, more streamlined and focused on actual ghost hunting instead of airing dirty laundry. There were some excellent episodes in which they captured a great deal of compelling evidence (unexplained figures caught on the FLIR or Forward Looking Infrared camera always freak me out). Lots of disembodied voices, inexplicable noises, and the occasional object moving on its own made for great TV. Even the almost unbelievable "conversations" they'd have with spirits via their K-2 meter grabbed and held my attention. But then, and I can't put my finger on the exact time, things started to go wrong.
It was around the time Steve and Tango left to do their own series Ghost Hunters Academy, a Survivor-style show I refuse to watch. In the beginning, T.A.P.S. had a mission to help average people who were (or thought they were) plagued by spirits, not wander around opera houses and battleships asking, "can you make a noise?" If you watch episodes more than a couple of years old, you'll see Jason and Grant knock on the door of a homeowner and when that door opens, they'll say, "We're here to help." Who are they helping by searching for the ghost of Mark Twain or Buffalo Bill Cody or Wyatt Earp?
I'd like to know how many pleas for help from terrified homeowners they turn down in favor of satisfying some restaurant or hotel owner's morbid curiosity. This is bad enough. What makes it worse is that the compelling evidence has dried up. Beyond an incomprehensible EVP or two and maybe one or two phantom footsteps, there's nothing paranormal about the show anymore. And if I hear Jason or Grant say, "What the frig?" one more time, I may just scream.
I had high hopes for the spin-off show Ghost Hunters International. Given the potential locations with their dark histories that span centuries, how could it go wrong? Well...it somehow did. It suffers from the same problem as the original: it's boring.
If you enjoy reality shows such as these, I suggest giving Ghost Adventures a look. It's on the Travel Channel on Friday nights and oh, so much fun. I'll write about it in more detail later as this entry has gotten way too long.

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