Tuesday, October 12, 2010

“Paranormal State”: Repetitive Good Fun! Or Reality Show In Disguised

Paranormal State: The Complete Season FourThe fifth season of A&E’s “Paranormal State” is premiering on October 16th and it’s hard to get excited about. The reason being all shows that center on paranormal activity or investigations similar to “Paranormal State” suffer from a repetitive formula. As with most ghost hunting shows “Paranormal State” follows the same development, first the location is introduced, the interviews, the investigation and finally the wrap up (which is really just a highlight reel from the episode).  So this begs the question, if they are so repetitive why tune in?

Paranormal investigation shows would benefit from a different method of investigation, not because they will find proof that hauntings are real. It would be better if groups didn’t just spend just one week on a hunting that is, only if there is something interesting going on, whether it be the history of the location or haunting itself. On some of these investigations, you can tell there not much happening and the investigators have to focus more closely on the home owners of whomever is associated with the paranormal activity.  As a viewer it is hard to believe that much of an investigation can be accomplished within a week on location and whatever research is done beforehand about the site doesn’t come through on the screen. This isn’t just something that happens to some of these paranormal shows, it’s systemic for the genre.
What ends up being the entertaining part of any of these gene of show, are the people, history and the locations surrounding the investigations. Beyond that, any of the evidence of some otherworldly presents that is produced by the investigations can be dismissed as circumstantial. But if you are superstitious and are frightened easily then this sort of show will be right up your ally.   

Ghosts: True Encounters with the World BeyondWhat Would Be Nice To See On Any Paranormal Show

A full bodied apparition: if any of these shows could capture a something other than “shadow people” and wisps of light on camera that would be interesting.

Levitation anyone: whatever happened to the poltergeist myth that spirits can lift objects and make them fly about. If there were some coaches and chairs floating around a room for mysterious reason, you better believe that people will be interesting and watching.

No More EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon)! Just because you think you can hear your grandmother telling you to make your bed in the background crackles of an audio recording doesn’t mean that’s what you are hearing. EVP session for these TV shows are just a way to keep viewers from realizing that they are watching is a bunch of people who are easily frightened, walking around talking to themselves.    

A total crackpot for a host: picture a paranormal TV show host/investigator that is completely convicted of his mental superiority and that ghosts are real and can be proven to be so. Something else that would make this host more watchable would be if he were wildly superstitious. This host would be great to watch.
In the end though, little can help this quasi documentary’s style of television from the fact that ghost investigations shows are little more than a veiled reality horror series with little fright to speak of.   

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