Quietly growing its audience from week to week, this reality series is surprisingly effective considering the tools in its arsenal are pretty familiar. It retells scary and unexplained stories using a mixture of reenactments, interviews with actual people, archival audio and video and lots of spooky sound and lighting effects. So basically, things 'America's Most Wanted' wasn't doing. But the show transcends the sum of its parts, and I think it comes down to great writing and great casting.
Every time I've written something bemoaning the arrival of another such show, I think it has to be over soon. There can't be another hour of clods stumbling around in night vision and reacting to sights and sounds the audience doesn't get to experience.
But, they keep coming. They keep finding nothing. But, evidently, people keep watching them. Now, we have Ghost Intervention -- running through December. The 4-part docu-series from TLC "chronicles a case manager and a team of women with psychic abilities as they try to help different families who are struggling with paranormal activity in their homes."
Please don't misunderstand me -- since I've gone off on this topic before. I'm not saying ghosts don't exist. I'm not saying there's no afterlife. I don't begrudge any scientific investigation into parapsychology or realms described as paranormal. I'd just like any of the endless march of "ghost-based" shows to dig up one scintilla of proof that they found something and, therefore, deserve to be on TV every week.
The latest entry is Syfy's Ghost Hunter's Academy -- sort of Most Haunted meets The Rookies from the 70s. Each week, ghost hunting "professors" (the show's conceit, not mine) Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango welcome first-time paranormal investigators onto The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) team.
Yet, every week, paranormal investigation shows like Ghost Hunters or Paranormal State hit the air and unveil the whole pile of absolute squat they found. Now, there's a new contender in the "Hey! Look! We found pretty much nothing!" category with the Discovery Channel's Ghost Lab.
Each week two thick slabs of Texas beef named Brad and Barry Klinge (right) take their Everyday Paranormal investigation team out into the wild haunted yonder. They come armed with their traveling "ghost lab" -- a 24-foot car hauler "capable of providing 200,000 watts of electricity to power audio, video and photo analysis stations; flat-screen televisions and an interactive touch-screen smartboard."
The network is expanding the popular paranormal reality show into "dozens of hours of programming" with renewals of some current spin-offs and pick-ups of even more spin-offs. At the rate they keep spinning this show off, it's going to have its own family tree by the end of the decade.
Right now there's the original Ghost Hunters and its international cousin, the cleverly named Ghost Hunters International. Both of those will return next season with new episodes.
Many on this site, both reviewers and commenters, have complained for many years now on the way that Sci Fi Channel handles the airing of their original programs. The main complaint has been that viewers have had to wait nearly six months, or more, between the time part one of the season ended in the summer and part two began at the end of January. Most recently these complaints have been addressed about Stargate Atlantis.
Well, those complaints may have finally been heard by the programming wonks over at Sci Fi because Atlantis looks to be continuing its season through the fall. After completing the first half of its run on September 26th, with a break for Labor Day, Atlantis will return to the schedule on Friday, October 10th at its new time of 9:00 PM. The week before, it will be preempted by the two-hour series premiere of Sanctuary, which will move into the 10:00 PM slot in back of Atlantis.
Atlantis will continue to run through October, with a preemption on Halloween night due to the Ghost Hunters Live event. Whether or not the remaining ten episodes of the series will wind up in 2008 or continue into 2009, when the last half of Battlestar Galactica airs, has yet to be addressed.
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