Ladies and gentleman, the decline of paranormal television has begun. Actually, it could be already coming to a finale. The “end of the beginning” or the “beginning of the end” — your choice. The Four Horseman of the Appocky-Clipse have arrived and they are carrying IR cameras.
The market has been fully saturated with lackluster, unimportant and unnecessary paranormal television shows. Like most popular trends, “paranormal entertainment” has become utterly formulaic. The genesis was groundbreaking and second generation made the phenomenon popular, but now we’re besieged by cheap knockoffs that raise the bar in stupidity and rain shame upon the entire paranormal community. Yet the powers-that-be refuse to shake things up in status-quo-ville.
In there beginning, there was the innovative 1990s FOX show “Sightings,” followed by the more mainstream “Ghost Hunters.” Then you had the ludicrous “Paranormal State” and the totally (if smartly) stunted “Extreme Paranormal.” It’s like mapping the trail from Hüsker Dü to Nirvana to Candlebox to Insane Clown Posse. Each iteration is more watered down than the last, with varying degrees of credibility and popularity.
It gets retardeder and retardeder and retardeder. I know, I know — it’s not a word, but it’s totally appropriate considering the context.
Over the last six months (SIX MONTHS!) four different production companies contacted me to audition as an on-air personality for different ghost hunting shows — I turned down tryouts for two of them and got the pink slip on the remainder (it’s either my big ears, imperfect teeth and asshole-y personality or the “you look too normal” problem).
Again, I never approached any of them. Some had a prefab outline for the kind of show that they wanted to “cast”; one was a panel show (picture an “American Idol” where paranormal groups send in evidence and I would be Simon Cowell); two were aimed at the high school paranormal team I sponsor (one production company had the enlightened mindset to tell me that they didn’t realize that we had so many black students and therefore had lost interest); and the other was the “Charlie’s Angels” concept I previously wrote about.
The premises for each show were trite — laughable, frankly — and have no basis in legitimate paranormal investigation. But alas, the suits are out there: slick New York and LA producers searching for the next Slipknot.
The sharks are circling, the water is bloody, and Robert Shaw just got chomped on and swallowed whole.
They want white people running around in the dark, doing “blood rituals” to summon demons. They want cheesy, too-big-for-their-britches goth kids delivering ridiculous conclusions to simple-solution situations. They want middle class, white Americans with scientific gadgets they don’t understand as walking testaments to logical fallacies. The stupider the better.
When it comes to these shows, I’ve been tuned out for almost a year. I stepped out of Plato’s Cave in Buffalo and can’t step back in. I saw the shadows on the wall and recognized them for what they are. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the paranormal enthusiasts do the same and the remaining audience are merely members of the Idiocracy.
Where’s Roy Scheider when you need him? Dude should aim that rifle and squeeze the trigger — and blow the head off the whole overblown monstrosity.