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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ghost Hunters - TAPS: Paranormal show review

Switching gears from my usual diatribe, I have to comment on a television show that I usually watch on Wednesday evenings courtesy of the Sci Fi Channel: Ghost Hunters. The show is about T.A.P.S. (The Atlantic Paranormal Society). TAPS is about two daytime plumbers, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, who turn into ghost hunters in the evening or weekends (not sure which) who travel to alleged hunted locations and attempt to either capture or disprove paranormal activity.

Previously, I commented on the show where they investigated Lisheen Ruins, which was mildly entertaining with some interesting phenomena captured - but nothing that gave you the "wow" factor. I've been watching the show since its inception thinking that it might rival Most Haunted (another show about ghost hunting see my story here). And I have to say that this season has been very disappointing. In fact, its been painful to watch. Which is why although I've been watching, there hasn't been enough interesting footage or dialogue witnessed to warrant the amount of time and effort it takes to write a review (even a fun, satiric one).

Ghost Hunters is a mixed bag. I believe that these guys are earnestly trying to catch or disprove that ghosts haunt dwellings and places. They use electronic tools and go about their work in a highly-professional manner - as opposed to having Derek Acohra running around feigning possession (reference to previous seasons of Most Haunted prior to Acohra being fired). There is no question on the sincerity of the TAPS group in what they hope to accomplish, and by the methodology employed. The problem is that the show is simply uneventful if not downright boring; instead of providing interesting footage of ghosts or moving chairs, or even noise that go bump in the night, it is mired with discussions about TAPS staff behavior, and lots of footage of running wire cables, and conducting technical set up (and break down), and silly discussions by the two younger investigators with footage of their foolish and misplaced antics - for example, a three minutes sequence where one was afraid of a spider (all seem very distracting, and why would we care?). Sadly, the best segments this season have been the tours of the sites prior to the investigation.

Ghost Hunters seems like its more about "how TAPS operates" than it is about ghost hunting, which is unfortunate. I have two theories on why this is. One is that they simply aren't catching enough phenomena (because there isn't any) so they are using all of the "nonsense" as filler to fulfill their hour commitment to the Sci Fi Network each week, or two - they aren't going about their investigations properly hence they are catching nothing to show viewers (and then are forced to provide filler, etc).

Whatever, the rationale, the show has really taking a major fall this season. These kinds of shows are few and far between for those of us who enjoy shows about the paranormal. But airing a show with little content, if not being somewhat dishonest in the presentation by fading commercial with Wilson exclaiming, "what the frig" as if he's captured true phenomena, only to learn upon return that it is a false read -- is nothing short of - disingenuous, if not - insulting to the viewer. (It's more along the lines of, we know that so far we are boring the death out of our viewers, but we've got to go to commercial, and if we don't keep the hook in, they are bound to change the channel!)

And moreover, cramming in two sites into two half hour segments is self defeating. By 20 after the hour (as in last night's USS Lexington show), the viewer already figures that the investigation is a "bust" since there is little time left to investigate in the given half hour allotted, and we know they will stop investigating and provide the viewer the consistent "Breakdown", "Analysis" and "Reveal" segments. This almost makes you want to stop watching immediately.

Ghost Hunters would serve it viewership well by being more selective about what they air each week. Shows that are mildly entertaining with little to no spirit content should be nixed from the on the air schedule. The airing of these shows after showing trailers all week that set high expectations with viewers is very much like going to a fine dining restaurant after reading a great review, envisioning receipt of the perfect fillet minon, but having someone deliver you a cold grilled cheese.

Jason and Grant should get their act together. This show could be so much more if they just focused on providing quality, and not quantity.


Anonymous said...

TAPS is pathetic. Last night's show was stupid.

Ghost Hunter Girl said...

Ghost Hunters is a great show. If you don't like it watch something else. These guys are away from their familys looking to find if there is something out there that we can contact and see after death. They have stated that at least 90 % or more of the cases they are called to investigate have no activity. The show has allowed them to get better equipment to use in their research. I see that as a good thing. I have watched them since the beginning and my interest is just as strong now as it was when the first show came on.

The King said...

Ghost Hunter girl: We are not interested in seeing the 90% of the cases where they don't find activity. It's lends for a boring show about assembling and disassembling equipment. The soap opera dramatics of people having relationship problems, or cast members personal problems distract from the show. In fact, most of it is petty and stupid.

Seems to most of us that Grant and whatsit are probably hard to get along with.

There is a reason that Most Haunted trounces Ghost Hunters in the ratings... its because Ghost Hunters is a boring show.