Sigh. Really? Is that what we need? Yet another ghost hunting show?
SUCKER OR OPTIMIST?
Still, what do I do? No, not watch it. At least not right away. I set my DVR to record it. (Hey, I’ve admitted it time and time before: ghost hunting shows are one of my guilty pleasures. As much as I’ve bagged on them, especially recently, sometimes they are fun. Ghost Hunters used to be. That’s the kind of entertainment I crave.)
Plus, I’m one of those eternally optimistic people. Maybe, just maybe, this time, this show, will be different. Fresh. Watch-worthy.
TRACK RECORD OF DISAPPOINTMENT
But I didn’t really have high hopes. Not after being let down by the likes of Ghost Lab and Ghost Hunters Academy.
Ghost Lab had some interesting theories, but ultimately I could not warm up to the personalities. I made it through one and half shows before I banned it from my DVR’s record list. And Ghost Hunters Academy…fuhgeddaboudit. No, seriously, that’s what I did.
With that kind of viewing track record fresh in my brain, it’s not surprising I didn’t have high hopes for Paranormal Cops. Still, this morning while I ate my breakfast, I hit “play.”
Suddenly Sergeant Ron Fabiani, founder of Chicago Paranormal Detectives, the team that comprises Paranormal Cops, commandeered my screen.
As the intro rolled, here was my knee-jerk reaction: Okay, now they’re not only poking fun of ghost hunting shows, but they’re parodying Chicago cops.
Ron is a character. Newsboy cap, cigar perpetually poking out his mouth, tough guy Italian with that thick, unmistakable Chicago accent…am I supposed to take this guy seriously? He’s almost like a caricature from some mob movie.
Wait a second, I think this guy might actually be for real. Not just his bigger-than-life personality, but also his sincerity for investigating the paranormal.
It didn’t even take me very long to change my tune. I made it to the first commercial break before I fired up my laptop to excitedly jot down things I already liked about the Paranormal Cops approach to investigating:
- Police line, do not cross tape
- Evidence bags
- Red evidence tape to seal doors
- Protection circle before the start of the investigation
- Use of psychics
Okay, so maybe the police line tape is a bit on the dramatic side. But it has it’s benefits. People know an investigation is underway. It might help people to exercise more caution.
And sure other investigation groups use things to seal doors to mark if one’s been disturbed, but it just seemed to come second nature to the Chicago Paranormal Detectives to do it. That’s when I started to give them credit that their background might be the most useful of any ghost hunting TV show group to come along yet.
But what made my guts flutter with excitement and renewed hope that, yes, this show just might really be different, was when I found out they use psychics…that endeared them to my heart.
Sometimes cops do use psychics on real-life investigations. And some of the toughest, most skeptical cops out there have been known to be swayed by a person with a true psychic gift. That Ron and his team are open-minded enough to bring in such an individual for the value she might add to investigations, especially when other shows seem more inclined to only use psychics for their dramatic value (or, like GH, not at all, because heaven forbid a psychic upstage them and their fakery!)…yep, that made me get excited about Paranormal Cops and what this show might offer.
COP TRAINING COMES IN HANDY…AND MAKES THIS SHOW STANDOUT
My pal Autumnforest feels the way I do. We were both enchanted with Ghost Hunters at one point, but now…the thrill’s gone.
She wrote an excellent post yesterday which pointed out that with so many ghost hunting shows on TV now people are starting to get apathetic. Other bloggers like Julie of Above the Norm and Grim Wicked of Grimoire of the Hour (who was looking forward to the show and who I’m curious to see what his take was) admitted similar feelings.
But Paranormal Cops adds a different element. One that had me do something I haven’t done in long time: click the “record this series” button on my DVR.
Why? Not because they finally found irrefutable evidence of a ghost. They didn’t. (Although, they did identify via there equipment that one of the ghosts may be Rocco DeBrazia. That was interesting. As was the foul-mouthed EVPs, which were amusing.)
Actually, it’s because from the time they uncovered the hidden bathroom staircase, to the info that Big Timer’s was once called Casa Madrid and had an Al Capone connection, to the additional follow-up interviews they did which led them to do another blackout, they treated the case like…well, like a case. I felt like I was watching a mystery unravel. Like Law & Order meets Medium meets CSI meets Ghost Hunters.
Surprisingly, the cop show meets ghost hunting show format proved a refreshingly fresh blend of entertainment after all. If I were to use the Paranormal Cops method of grading on a scale of Code 1 (not haunted) to Code 4 (haunted), I’d give it a Code 3 (paranormal activity present). But I see that there’s room for it to move up the scale to a bonafied Code 4.
Kudos, A&E. This is one of the best ghost hunting shows to hit cable since the show that started them all.