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Archive for Monday, June 16, 2008

Things that go bump every night

June 16, 2008

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Nearly a decade after "The Sixth Sense," we're still seeing dead people. In fact, they won't go away. The success of shows like "Ghost Whisperers" and "Medium" have made "sensitives" of us all. So it's no wonder we're now faced with "Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal" (9 p.m., A&E), a new series, inspired by "Paranormal State," that focuses on kids who have been communicating with spirits since before they could read.

Faced with children between 8 and 14 who regularly see spirits and auras, parents are at their wits' end. Who ya gonna call? They summon a medium and psychologist named Chip, and Lisa, an aura-reading sensitive. Together, they try to put moms and dads at ease while asking the kids details about their haunted existence. One young sensitive is plagued with terrible migraines that seem to come from the burden of reading auras and knowing when strangers are at death's door. Two others have angry spirits enter their bedrooms every night.

One 8-year-old befriended the spirit of a young man named Freddie Stuart, who died in 1886. His spectral mother, Catherine, isn't too thrilled about the idea. It might be because she murdered Freddie.

Chip combines a soft-spoken attitude with plenty of paranormal jargon. He's closer to Dr. Phil than the Exorcist.

He calms one family by digging up census records that indicate the existence of a certain Freddie Stuart born nearby in 1872. And while he can't prove who murdered him, Freddie's mother was named Catherine.

Whether you watch this as a factual documentary or enjoy it as a campfire ghost story, "Psychic Kids" makes for chilly summer viewing. I could do with fewer moody shots of tangled branches, misty graveyards and abandoned houses. And the title makes no sense. "Children of the Paranormal" implies that they are the offspring of psychics, much like the daughters on "Medium." But, as we've discussed, it's the kids who've got the shining. The parents are in the dark.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ After stumbling onto a science experiment gone awry, an office temp is transformed into a superhero in the fight against intergalactic evil in the new series "The Middleman" (7 p.m., Family).

¢ A suburban mom's past resurfaces on "Bones" (7 p.m., Fox).

¢ Jewel helps separate the gems from the rhinestones on "Nashville Star" (8 p.m., NBC).

¢ The documentary "Resolved" (8 p.m., HBO) examines the competitive world of high-school debating squads.

¢ A matter of competition on "House" (8 p.m., Fox).

¢ Jon and Kate Gosselin fill in the blanks in their biography and explain how they met on "Jon & Kate Plus 8" (8 p.m., TLC).

¢ "How Life Began" (8 p.m., History) ponders the unique conditions that allowed life to form on Earth billions of years before the dinosaurs.

¢ Look for Albert Brooks in the fourth-season premiere of "Weeds" (9 p.m., Showtime). Like many of Brooks' movies, "Weeds" projects an air of self-satisfaction about its own cleverness.

Cult choice

A libertine (Mimi Rogers) embraces an exacting faith and awaits the end of days in the odd but compelling 1991 drama "The Rapture" (9:45 p.m., IFC), co-starring David Duchovny.

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