I like to file GHOST ADVENTURES in my ‘guilty pleasure’ file along with a few other shows like ANCIENT ALIENS and formerly GHOST HUNTERS and PARANORMAL STATE. I call them ‘guilty pleasures’ because I can be completely rational enough to dismiss the hokeyness, but the shows remain compelling, entertaining and impossible to pass up.
GHOST ADVENTURES is by far the best of the group, and I was a bit late to the party on this one because of what Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State put me through back in the day. My wife and I were big Ghost Hunters fans in its mid-2000’s heyday but it became very old in a short amount of time because they never really found anything and they took 5-10 minutes out of each episode to explain the exact same things in the exact same ways. Hearing that “EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena” started to make me physically angry every time they would bring it up. I watch your show, I know what a f’ing EVP is.
Right when it was about to become unbearable, they formed a GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL group that kept it fresh for a little while with creepy castles and other ancient foreign locales. The worst thing about GHI ended up being one of the investigators… BARRY FITZGERALD. He maintained the textbook definition of “when the going gets tough the tough get going” by leaving the room every single time he started sensing a paranormal presence. Obviously, nobody explained the standard job description of a paranormal investigator to ‘ol Barry. Today, Ghost Hunters just remains a generic regurgitation of what it was so many years ago.
PARANORMAL STATE rose from the ghost hunting craze and started out to be a very cool show with the lead investigator Ryan Buell bringing in psychics and occultists to hunt demons and such. It was much more of a dramatic show rather than the dry popcorn-fart that Ghost Hunters had become, but it started tiring after a couple of seasons and Ryan himself devolved into a strange self-absorbed emo douche. Paranormal State had a couple of spinoffs, but none of them could match the interest or intensity of the first season.
On a side note, I understand that Ryan Buell was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and that is very unfortunate. But watching him and how he acted to his crew on his last season with the show really became downright uncomfortable.
Which makes my stream of ghost-show consciousness return full circle to Ghost Adventures. I started liking this show in its second season after randomly stumbling upon it on the TRAVEL CHANNEL. This show is everything hunting ghosts should be. Three frat-guy types run around and intentionally try to piss off the sometimes malevolent entities in some of the creepiest locations they can find. ZAK BAGANS, the lead investigator, joins NICK GROFF and AARON GOODWIN for a show that is equal parts hilarious, intriguing and frightening. The first half of each episode is devoted to the dark history of the location, while the back half is “the lockdown” where they are physically locked into wherever they are investigating until morning. They ‘capture’ something cool every time, so that watching each episode isn’t nearly as anticlimactic as watching Ghost Hunters.
Sure, the “lockdown” piece is a bit gimmicky, but even if you don’t believe any of the ghostly aspects of the show, simply watching it for the history and the ability to experience the locations themselves is well worth the time. Is it real? Probably not. But it’s a whole lot of fun, and for that alone I would forgive a little bit of fudging.
This week’s episode was a retrospective on all of the prisons they have ever investigated and next week picks up the regular schedule. Check out new episodes airing Fridays on THE TRAVEL CHANNEL.