Thursday, April 29, 2010
The Death of Ghost Hunting Shows?
I know, I know…we haven’t been able to shake all the reality shows about the fine citizens of New Jersey and we’re talking about the death of ghost hunting shows? But, all these TV trends fade away over time. How many 70s shows focused on a woman with magical powers? How many 80s shows sported a growth-stunted African American child-man? How many 90s shows dealt with newly-divorced inept fathers?
Have ghost huntings shows played out their time here already? It doesn’t seem as if they have anything new to offer. “Ghost Hunters” really started the whole thing by demystifying what it’s like to sit in a creaky old house and wait for proof of interaction. Then, “Ghost Adventures” decided that like a rowdy roaming frat party, they’d bust in and taunt the ghosts. “Ghost Lab” thought they might throw around some theories and see if any of them stick, while using the same techniques TAPS and “Ghost Adventures” used but with a huge bank of equipment to make it look more important. How about some of the short-lived ones? There was one with mediums who came into the house, one with cops who looked for ghosts, one with a really frightened and terrorized team, one with college students, one that went international, and even talk of one with a bunch of “chicks” hunting ghosts.
You can dress a pig it in a dress, but it’s still a pig.
I believe that the greater majority of ghost shows probably have a few years to play out with one or two one-season wonders hitting the TV screen because some channels were just slow to get on the bandwagon.
The death of “Ghost Hunters” will likely be a combination of things; the first being members dropping out because of the strain on their time and family lives (the turnover on "Ghost Hunters International" is worse than your local McDonalds). J&G will likely go down with the sinking ship like all good captains because they have an inn in New England to pay off and a crap-load of kids between them. The show has become very, as I call it “inbred” with no new ideas, no new techniques, no experts--ever (because apparently they know everything). It’s just the same old “walk around, talk, walk around, talk” J&G go together, the girls go together, blah blah blah. Same questions “Can you give us a sign of your presence?” (I could probably start a drinking game for just that one line). We spend all our time with the cameras on the guys as they cock their heads and listen to things and then explain what they heard, thereby destroying any further recordings they might get of sounds…
“Ghost Adventures” I think could have a fairly good haul. You know, I don’t take a damn thing they do seriously or any “evidence” they gather, but they had the right idea—use the right characters and people will keep coming back. This is the pack of douche bags in school that likely got punched in the stomach a few times and ridiculed and are now out to dominate and intimidate in a place where surely they won’t get punched out. They finally get to live out their bully sides and take it out on old houses. (I guess that’s better than old or frail people). This is purely entertainment, but they were young enough and hip enough to know to tow the online rope and stay up to date on Twitter and FB and other sites where they could get people excited about their project and feel like they’re partying with the big boys.
“Ghost Lab” conversely will die an early death for the very reason that GA works; personalities. These guys are abrasive, dominating, know-it-all but not so bright, and their very manner annoys so much, it’s impossible to watch the show. I had hopes for a team investigating and testing theories, but it seriously shouldn’t have been done by ham-fisted good ole' boys and should have been done with these special people with educations called--scientists.
What’s the future of ghost hunting shows? More than likely reality TV will assimilate them into the collective borg and they will become those godawful “dating show” scenarios with bimbos and empty-headed no-neck muscle guys going into scary places.
I know a few directions they could go that would make sense for both the field, research, and entertainment, but I’ll keep those under my vest for now.
They may not completely disappear, like those shows where the father is stupid and clueless and the kids outsmart him, but hopefully they will evolve and not remain a case of same old/same old as they have been in recent years. Evolution means survival and that's critical for this genre. It will take some open-minded talent to find the way to do this.
I’m not giving up hope just yet. The patient can be revived, we just have to apply the paddles and hit it with about 300 joules and that should do the trick. It just takes one smart producer to make it happen.
at 9:30 AM