Friday, July 23, 2010

Review "Fact or Faked" SyFy Channel


**Everyone be prepared! Following this post at 6 pm EST, a new installment of LAUGH will be up and it is based on "Fact or Faked."**

Well, we've put a second episode of "Fact or Faked" under our belts, huh? So, This time, let's talk more about the content of the show and less about the peripherals. I am pleased by how they narrow down from the evidence just what they're going to investigate. Some of it is titillating, but hardly worth trying to reproduce. They do seem to choose the ones I would want to investigate.

I'm pleased with the format of breaking the group up into two different locales. I'm thrilled beyond belief they don't pair up the same way every time like GH, you know; Steve/Tango, Jason/Grant, Amy/Kris... I want to see the dynamics of different people working together. Bill is the most animated of the group, for sure. I still get a kind of "Charlie's Angels" vibe to the opening with them sitting around the room and discussing the cases and then going off on their jaunts, but hey--that's another peripheral and I wasn't going to discuss those.

Back on track, let's discuss the cases: The first one was "Night Crawlers" in Fresno. Something freaky found on a video monitor in a front yard of two very weird figures that looked, well, like wishbones walking across a yard. It is freaking chilling footage and as someone who likes to come up with explanations, I know it's got to be something natural, but it sure is freaky looking. First, they tried a child. Couldn't recreate it. Bill had a bitchin' dummy he made with legs and a helmet and made this pulley/mechanical system to try to imitate but stability issues made it hard to recreate. They went into neighboring woods to learn more about what it might be. This was actually rather spooky and fun, a bit like "Destination Truth." They determine it's not a hoax and by voice analysis and his body language, they determine he believes what he saw. They called it "unexplainable."

For the next investigation, they checked out a very clear flying saucer footage. They went into a family's backyard in Lake Havasu. They tried reflecting a fake model UFO in a shadowbox with painted glass to recreate it. It ended up being too transparent compared to the one filmed which looked very solid. Then, they launched a huge balloon shaped like a UFO. It looked almost exactly like the original video. Same reflectivity, rigidness, and tumbling movement. So, they then went out looking for people who saw the UFO/balloon on the 4th of July. They managed to find out that it was a balloon by witnesses. So, this was explainable.

So, the verdict on the show? I like it very much. Of course, I still will whine that I wish they spent about at least a quarter of it looking at viral videos, but hey that gives me more time to look at Ben (wink). They still seem like a bunch of college kids knocking around concepts, but I just want to dirty up the pool with a few older folks/more rough around the edges types. They are just so neat and cute--I want to mess them up.

That being said, the show has bumped up to a 7-8/10 now for me. If it keeps this up, it'll be near "Destination Truth" 8-9/10...

QUIZ: They went to the nearby woods to look for the night crawlers and what weird thing happened?

One of them got sick
An animal stalked them
Their batteries drained
They got lost

30 comments:

  1. Their batteries drained...

    Did someone fail to check the batteries before the investigation? My guess would be poor tech management.

    As for the "Night Crawlers", why didn't the team check an expert with mechanical puppets? You have the time to see up an investigation in an empty field, but not enough time to check with puppet experts?

    Don't get me started on the balloon! Come on! It was a balloon! A few phone calls could have solved the alleged mystery.

    A quick google search has a youtube titled LAKE HAVASU ARIZONA UFO SIGHTING IS NOT REAL! That vid debunks the whole ufo non-event.

    Come on "Fact or Faked" step up your game. Don't waste our time with easy debunks. If we want to waste our time watching the SyFy channel we'll watch "Mary Knows Best"!

    Barry

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  2. Are we talking about your boobies ?
    They look real, and don't act like you didn't see me coming your way when you flashed them on the Dashboard.
    LOL !

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  3. I only saw the second part of the show and I have to say that a good investigation would start with the phone calls (and end there, in this case). It seemed silly to go through everything they went through and only search out other witnesses after all that. Technique like that makes it hard to take them seriously.

    Going back to comments after the first episode, I really think they need to bring in some serious technical experts as one-off investigators for each scenario. Otherwise, conclusions of "unexplained" from these goofballs doesn't really hold much water.

    The show still had entertainment value. However, I hope they hone their investigative technique more.

    And speaking of Mary, it looked like they played the two episodes in a row last night. They must be trying to run off potential Fact or Faked viewers :P

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  4. Admittedly, piggybacking Mary with "Fact or Faked" is like putting "Destination Truth" after "Merlin." I get what ya'all are saying. The purpose of the show is to take that crazy stuff we see online and make us think about it. It's really a lot like Mythbusters, so I think for what they're doing, it's simple for us more intelligent folk, but for the average citizen, it's kind of like when GH repeats again and again what an EVP is, "we record disembodied voices that we don't hear with our ears but later hear when we play back the recording." yada yada yada. Honestly I would be thrilled to have a show of just the weekly viral videos--perhaps one wise-ass like myself who has to make some Joel McHale kind of commentary and then they rip them apart by explaining how they could be faked and why they aren't real. I don't even need going into the field and inflating balloons. Or, they could do the testing on their own time and just show us how it was faked by taking their own video using their own techniques they devised and showing it side-by-side. Hee hee, I liked that comment about calling around first about the balloon. hahaha But, the shadowbox was a fun one and seeing the balloon really showed how they were identical, so until we see it--we won't conceive a balloon could look like a hard-edged balloon. I'm telling you, of SyFy's shows--this is second to "Destination Truth" to me with "GHI" coming in behind it and "GH" behind that and I won't tell you where I'd put "Mary Knows Best" cause I think we all know where that would be inserted.

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  5. dead batteries. .(of course!) lol! those night crawlers were weird! but, whatever they were, they looked fake...

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  6. Libby-Girl;
    I thought so too. For something so awkward, they were not bouncing up and down. It took me years of training as a model to learn to walk without my head bouncing (can't account for other body parts--hee hee)

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  7. Wow, I thought we'd be on the same page this week. I guess not.

    My opinion of this show sort of declined from last week. Their investigation skills are slipping. I think it was thermal thing. They saw a heat signature and didn't even try to even cautiously approach it until it was gone. In the situation room, they gave the impression that they did.

    The object in the Lake Havasu video was obviously fake. If they had started out searching for other eyewitnesses, it would have saved them time and energy.

    I was overall disappointed.

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  8. Their batteries drained.

    Okay, I really like the show too. The night crawlers kind of creeped me out and I liked that investigation, especially when they went to the woods. Tons of weird stuff going on there.

    Next, the dang balloon. STUPID! I could tell from watching the first clip when they were discussing it. The entire video looks fake. You can obviously tell its not an UFO. I thought that was a complete waste of time, but oh well. I was glad to see them launching their own balloon, making phone calls, etc.

    I really like the show! I told my husband this morning it was kind of like Mythbusters but for the paranormal stuff!

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  9. Andrea;
    I think the problem for most of us here on the blog is that we already know the logical course of action, but in order to do a show to help the common person go through the motions of figuring if something is real, they have to go through all the crazy steps and experiments. I could tell you off the bat in "Mythbusters" that the construction worker flying away while holding a piece of plywood was infeasible, but hey-the experiment to prove it to the folks who still believe it was necessary, if not downright fun!

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  10. Maggie;
    That's a good comparison and I have to say the way that UFO was moving was ridiculous, but people want to know..then what was it?

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  11. Still haven't had a chance to check out the show. Been on the road, but we will be settled in Breckenridge for a week. Maybe I can get around to it then.

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  12. Sandra;
    What a great adventure! No doubt, you can find it online and you know SyFy, they will reshow them probably to try and suck in new viewers.

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  13. Is Bill the guy who always looks like he just woke up? I guess they spent too much of the budget on that balloon and couldn't spring for a comb.
    Anyway, yeah, the UFO was acomplete waste of time. they lead the viewer through the whole "investigation" and one phone call solves it. What a total hand job...
    The Night Creepers was interesting to me. Cryptozoology/UFOlogy is full of what I call "one-timers". Creatures that appear once (okay, maybe twice) to credible witnesses, but are then never seen again. the Dover Demon, the Walking Tree Trunks, the Loveland Frogs...
    Oh, and Jael needs acting lessons. If you want us to believe you're scared, then look and sound scared. :D

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  14. BG;
    Well, I will remind folks that GH totally babysits us about these things... their debunking is very basic, but we plod through it. That's part of the premise of this show is to take us through the simplest to more complex--like Mythbusters, except without the characters. Oh, and as for Jael, honey, just look for any wrinkles on her forehead when she tries to emote--it might give away a girl's little secret (wink)

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  15. (turns around a la' "Columbo")
    Oh, just one more thing... It strains my credibilty meter to see these kids touted as "experts". Specialist, maybe, but expert? Give to me large break! I've had people try to label me as an expert in a couple of things. I always inform them that "some people may call me that, but I don't."

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  16. So, Gummer, just so you know...I ain't gonna be the one to pull the bee out of your bonnet, honey. tee hee hee

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  17. Gabriel;
    So glad you are laughing--it's good for you--any way you can get it.

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  18. It's funny how they make a regular area of woods seem so interesting. Don't they know there are something called "animals" on earth? I guess they can spark the imagination of children, but for adults, this is just cheesy.

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  19. Gabriel;
    Sort of like Destination Truth Lite?

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  20. I was wondering what that horizontal line was that was crossing the screen in the Fresno video. Was it just an artifact of the recording? I wondered if it could be a shadow of some kind of bar going across the lawn pulling a puppet attached to multiple strings that may have been able to steady it. I guess they would have checked that though if the line didn't show up repeatedly though. Maybe that line just kept crossing the screen...I don't know, we really didn't get to see much video.

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  21. Jeff;
    Yeah, apparently this was filmed from a bad tape that had been taped over many times. I guess they played it on a screen and taped it and then taped over the VHS tape. I'm going to tell you right now--I'd wonder about that explanation just cause--if you got some freaky wishbones walking across your yard like gumby--wouldn't you keep the freaking cheap tape and get a new tape and put it in the machine? Just sayin... I think what we probably saw was artifacts. Trying to determine anything from such bad quality film is rather tough. I'm sort of surprised they didn't try to clean up the tape and sit down in a spiffy little room with a nice computer and have someone go at it to define the "figures" more. It was super creepy, but honestly...for something walking like a cowboy too long a horse--its head didn't bounce one bit.

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  22. Love the commentary. Some well thought out points were presented and I would be on the same parallel if I hadn't had been there.

    Autumnforest gave some good insight. Logical methodology doesn't always translate perfectly into 17-something minutes per case and it does have to be comprehensible to a broad audience. I'd love shots of us opening new battery packages and putting them in the equipment, but I think it may not make for interesting TV. lol. In a case like that, if you don't show a battery scene, then some people will think it wasn't done. If you do show it, then it's boring and somewhat insults the viewer's intelligence. On top of that, someone would think it coincidental why we showed the clip of the new batteries and then the equipment just happened to fail. Complicated. I never thought of these things until I joined TV world! Yet, I can't tell you how many investigations I've been on with new batteries and equipment fails right and left. Kind of spooky when it happens.

    The telephone calls were a good point too. Phone calls actually are made before we go out, but no one had reported anything in this case. It just happened that we tried the Havasu State Park once we got there, saw the layout, and realized the object would have been hovering right over the park (not the typical agency to try first). Witness locating is a continual process and sometimes you don't know everywhere you should be looking until you get there.

    Barry, as for the balloon explanation on You Tube, of course we knew the theory had been presented, but it hadn't been tried. We needed to see the actual footage side-by-side in the same conditions. Devising experiments and testing theories is kind of what the show is about:)

    And for you girl, a show only about reviewing videos without the experiments? I love the concept, but then I'd be stuck in an office all day!:( Plus, I think Mr. William Shatner is coming out with a similar show called "Weird or What?" on Discovery.

    I love the ideas this is generating. Never stop questioning guys! I'm excited about the upcoming episodes because I keep hearing more experts is good. So you'll be seeing some legendary paranormal field experts, cool collateral witnesses, and hear more opinions from authorities in academia!

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  23. I thought they should have cleaned up the tape too and had someone analyze it closer. They could have done that instead of going searching in the woods for creatures.

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  24. Ben;
    Thanks for chiming in. This is your toughest audience on my blog because they are a very intelligent bunch. Keeping up with them to write this blog keeps me on my toes. I can see where your show meets its worst enemy on the editing room floor. It all makes sense in the field and then they sort of piece it together to get down to a concentrated period of time and -- poof! It seems like something quite different than what was intended. I have waited forever for someone to go after those insane viral videos and I'm thrilled to have this show and watch it evolve. I have never been one to judge a show by its first season (well, except for that Mary show and it only took one episode)... But, second season tends to totally explode and I expect from what I've seen, ya'all better be prepared to hit the road again for another season.


    Jeff;
    I'm glad they went in the woods and looked around because it was really kind of creepy--especially the battery drain. I've experienced that so many times and it's astonishing--it seems like all the equipment goes at one time. I wonder what conditions produce that? Geomagnetic storms?

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  25. @Ben

    I'll keep watching and :::ahem::: commenting. I look forward to the rest of the season.

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  26. where can I find the night crawler video? I looked all over and haven't been able to find it.

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  27. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDSR4R7NARA

    I looked it up on YouTube under "Fresno Bipeds"

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  28. Oh damn, the night crawlers was probably a snowy egret.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowy_Egret

    Althouh, I still think that checking with an expert with puppets is a good idea.

    Barry

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  29. Gabriel
    I had been thinking of something similar. I haven't seen them walk, so I can't tell, but there are lots of other possibilities. I doubt seriously these dudes would go to that much trouble to put up puppets, but without seeing the entire scene, we could be seeing something that's an artifact or something out of context with the entire scene or, like in the case of dust orbs, it could be something like strings or the like that was hanging on the lens up close.

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