Sunday, November 8, 2009

DBKP Rates the TV Ghost Hunting Shows

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Rating the TV Ghost Hunting shows

Reality TV Ghost Hunting Show Numbers Expand

Ghost hunting is all the rage in the reality TV show world.

The number of shows and the networks promoting them have increased. Which is a bit peculiar, because, according to Rasmussen, only 23% of Americans believe in ghosts.

Which leads one to believe that those 23% must be intensely loyal in their TV viewing habits.

With all that in mind, let's take a look at one writer's ratings of the TV ghost hunting shows currently on the tube.

There's no pretense of any scientific method to this madness: we tuned in to a host of the ghost shows personally and asked a few acquaintances who are passionate watchers for their opinions.

RATINGS: The shows were rated on believability and entertainment value, as well as a 'wild card'--which could be any value that our commenters thought either added to or detracted from the show. Total Score was based on 30 possible points. Comments were taken from our panel of friends and cohorts.

The following are the results.

SHOW: Ghost Hunters
Website: Ghost Hunters and T.A.P.S. (The Atlantic Paranormal Society)
Team Members: Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Steve Gonsalves, Dave Tango, Chris Williams, Amy Bruni, Dustin Pari
Comment: "The Big Kahuna of the TV ghost hunting shows...

From SyFy's Ghost Hunters site:

This one-hour weekly reality show from the creator/executive producer of American Chopper follows a group of real-life paranormal researchers as they investigate hauntings throughout the country.

Contact between our existence and the one that awaits us is no more far-fetched to some than wireless phones would have seemed to the ancients.

Enter Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, plumbers by trade who head up The Atlantic Paranormal Society. TAPS is a group of fairly ordinary people — office managers, factory workers, teachers and even psychic-hotline gurus — moonlighting to understand seemingly unexplainable disturbances.

The Ghost Hunters are a likable, capable crew. Every show isn't a blockbuster, but that only makes shows where the GH crew captures evidence more anticipated.

Strong Points: Steady, dependable and low-key. Doesn't try to make haunted mountains out of paranormal molehills.
Drawbacks: At times, the action drags, but that is to be expected. Steve Gonsalves may well be a capable tech man, but his night-of-the-living-dead on-camera presence leaves a lot to be desired.

Comments: "Sometimes when GHs "debunk" something, it's more of a stretch to buy into their debunking than to just concede that they don't have an answer. Sometimes, they need to let it be instead of trying to be Mr. Science."
"They've had some great shows in the past."
"Grant and Jason are really strong, but then the team gets weak. When Brian (Harnois) was on the show it was a lot stronger. He was always entertaining. Dustin & Joe Chin are good, but they are not on much."
"Steve G. is such a suck-up. And his fear of spiders is getting to be an old schtick."
"I like Dave Tango, but whenever Steve and Tango investigate, you know you're headed into The Dead Zone. There's not enough energy between the two of them for the ghost of a fruit fly to manifest."


SHOW: Ghost Adventures
NETWORK: Travel Channel
Website: Ghost Adventures
Team Members: Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, Aaron Goodwiin
Comment: "When they're good, they're very good, but when they're not, they stink."

Are you ready for the lockdown? The "Ghost Adventures" crew -- Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin -- is back to investigate the scariest, most notorious, haunted places in the world.

The trio will interview eyewitnesses and historians at each location, arming themselves with the stories of the ghosts they will later provoke and confront during their dusk-to-dawn lockdowns. (Note: They don't always come out unscathed!) Then they'll review and analyze their findings with some the most respected experts and specialists in the paranormal field.

The Ghost Adventures crew runs hot--and cold. They find some good evidence and are always interesting and entertaining. They had some flops early in Fall 2009, but seem to have ironed whatever bugs afflicted those shows.

Strong Points: When Zac Bagans hits the right tone, none are more entertaining. Nick Groff comes across as cool, competent and unflappable. Aaron Goodwin serves as the "voice of reason" to Zac's grandstanding megalomania.
Drawbacks: The temptation to call some of the scenes that place is sometimes almost overwhelming.

Example: On a recent show, the camera panned to a hand-held temperature gauge that showed the ambient temperature of a room to be 71.9 degrees. A few minutes later, Zac claimed to have hit a "cold spot"--possibly, evidence of a possible spirit attempting to manifest. His temperature device now registered 82 degrees(?!?) and he counted as the temperature descended dramatically to--voila--72 degrees. He proclaimed, "A 10-point temperature drop!" But only if viewers forgot the temperature shown moments before on camera: 71.9.

Comments: "Zac's a drama queen."
"They started down the road to unbelievability a few months ago. On every other show, someone was "possessed". Almost quit watching."
"I like Zack and Nick, but Aaron's the best. He's likable and he's VERY believable."
"At critical moments, Zac won't shut up long enough for the digital recorders to pick up much but his bellowing."
"Zac tends to come to overblown conclusions. He's a drama mama."


SHOW: Ghost Hunters International
Website: Ghost Hunters International
Team Members: Robb Demarest, Dustin Pari, Brandy Green, Joe Chin, Barry FitzGerald, Ashley Godwin
Comment: "GHI is Ghost Hunters on a bigger budget but no personality of its own."

From the GHI website:
A spin-off of SCI FI's Ghost Hunters series, Ghost Hunters International features a squad of paranormal investigators who use their principles of scientific techniques, to explore some of the most legendary haunted spots around the world. Each week the team travels to the far corners of the globe, searching for answers to bizarre supernatural mysteries.

For its first round of investigations, the International crew took on some of Europe's most haunted locales, including Chillingham Castle in England and the forgotten underground city of Mary King's Close in Scotland. The new episodes will take the team to countries such as Peru, Singapore, Sweden, the Philippines and many others.

Ghost Hunters International travels the world in search of paranormal evidence. They bring the original GH's technical expertise and solidity. but their first season was something of a disappointment, ghost hunting-wise.

Strong Points: The cast is likable and competent. The whole team, but especially Joe Chin, Dustin Pari and Barry FitzGerald all go about their business with a minimum of melodrama. Barry is the Inspector Gadget of the group and from time-to-time introduces interesting technical innovations on the show.
Drawbacks: Leader Rob Demarest is likable but a bit bland. The show was plagued by a dearth of ghostly happenings during their first season.

Comments: "GHI's biggest sin is that they don't speak the language of the locale where they are investigating. They attempt to communicate in English whether in Scotland, South America or Eastern Europe. Give me a break. Spend a few bucks and hire a local who knows the language."
"If any spirits are around, GHI wouldn't know because they're trying to contact them using English. How about having someone who knows Spanish asking a question when they're in a place where any spirits probably spoke Spanish?"
"My pet peeve is that GHI spends all that money to fly to Europe and then wanders around shouting to spirits in English."

So it would appear that GHI's biggest complaint is fixable.


SHOW: Ghost Lab
NETWORK: Discovery Channel
Website: Ghost Lab and Everyday Paranormal
Team Members: Brad and Barry Klinge, at least 6 others on the show, but none other than the Klige brothers listed on the website.
Comment: "Ghost Lab is a High tech traveling paranormal sideshow."

From the group's Discovery Channel website:

With the help of the latest technology, two brothers have uncovered some of the most powerful results in supernatural research to date — including a recording of Civil War soldiers talking. Meet Brad and Barry Klinge, Texas natives who in 2007 founded Everyday Paranormal, an investigation team that has explored more than 70 locations and set a new standard in supernatural research with some of the world’s most sophisticated equipment housed in a decked-out traveling "ghost lab."

Traveling the country, the 24-foot car hauler can provide 200,000 watts of electricity to power audio-, video- and photo-analysis stations; flat-screen televisions; and an interactive touch-screen smart board. The lab houses surveillance video cameras capable of shooting 300 feet away in total darkness with a 180-degree peripheral view; temperature, humidity and dew point data loggers; various digital cameras, including thermal-imaging cameras; audio recorders; and more than 8,000 feet of video cable. This on-site high-tech lab enables investigators to analyze data on the premises in real time, helping them to more narrowly focus their investigations on known hot spots.

The GL crew travels the country with a big honking trailer in search of the paranormal. Sometimes, they find some. Show is new and is working out some start-up kinks.

Strong points:
Klinge Brothers and company are personable. They bring equipment--a LOT of equipment.
Drawbacks: When activity is reported by a crew member, the whole herd stampedes to the spot, which seems to end any promise that location held for contact with ghosts.

Comments: "Too much filler and not enough killer."
"Too much high-tech fluff. Not enough substance."
"Brad's claims are a little hard to take sometimes."
"Brad needs to dial back the rah-rah attitude a notch."


Read the rest: TV Ghost Hunters: Rating the Ghost Hunting TV Shows

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by Mondo Frazier
* SyFy/Ghost Hunters
* Travel Channel
* SyFy/CHI
* TV blips
* Travel Channel
* SyFy Channel
* SyFy Channel

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