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Archive for Friday, June 17, 2011

Travel Channel show ain’t afraid of no ghosts

June 17, 2011

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Apparently, there is a sizable and growing television audience who see the 1984 comedy “Ghostbusters” as a kind of documentary. Or maybe, a career inspiration. And this fanciful realm of ghost detectives has broken itself into professionals and amateurs. A new series “Paranormal Challenge” (8 p.m., Travel) offers the untrained and apparently “unaccredited” a chance at an apprenticeship of sorts.

Hosted by Zak Bagans of “Ghost Adventures” fame, “Challenge” invites amateur spook sleuths to sites considered haunted, arms them with appropriate gadgetry and sets them loose amid the ectoplasm. The team that returns with the most “evidence” is declared the winner. And in a fitting twist, the night’s champion will receive neither prize nor title. The winner’s sole compensation will be a newfound “respect” in the community of paranormal believers. And we all know that’s worth twice its weight in pixie dust!

• As somebody who has to churn out a column every day, I have nothing but sympathy for cable programmers trying to entertain viewers and maintain their network’s mission and identity day after 24-hour day. But sometimes cable stations slip and lose their focus.

• always wondered how Planet Green would come up with a steady supply of ecologically oriented series. But I never dreamed it would be airing shows like “UFOs Over Phoenix” (7 p.m.); “Return to Area 51” (8 p.m.); and “Nazi UFO Conspiracy” (9 p.m.)! Unless it defines these as shows about little green men.

• Jimmy Kaplow, aka “Flea Man” (7 p.m., National Geographic), has spent his professional life haggling for treasures at yard and estate sales and wants to pass on his wisdom.

He offers simple rules that apply to transactions big and small: Find out what buyers want and make a personal connection with them. And above all, know your product, whether it’s a toy tractor or a luxury car. He’s equally emphatic about things to avoid: Never waste time on folks who don’t seem interested in buying. Move on! And never, ever get sentimental and lose sight of what things are worth. Using these strategies, he helps families get rid of the items they don’t need and get the cash necessary for more pressing matters.

In the first installment (7 p.m.), Jimmy tries to help a family liquidate a house filled with inherited antiques to cover their daughter’s medical school tuition. Episode two (8 p.m.) features a Bible linked to George Washington and a lesson in haggling over vintage Barbie dolls.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Ed takes a bullet on the way to the maternity ward on “Flashpoint” (7 p.m., CBS).

• Coach Taylor tells Vince that he’s got to put the team first on “Friday Night Lights” (7 p.m., NBC).

• A dashboard becomes a crime scene on “Bones” (7 p.m., Fox).

• Jamie Lee Curtis appears on “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” (8 p.m., ABC).

• The new vessel Gojira comes to the rescue on “Whale Wars” (8 p.m., Animal Planet).

• Agents hunt for Baby Grace on “FBI: Criminal Pursuit” (9 p.m., Discovery ID).

Comments

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

"“Challenge” invites amateur spook sleuths to sites considered haunted, arms them with appropriate gadgetry and sets them loose amid the ectoplasm. The team that returns with the most “evidence” is declared the winner."

That is absolutely insane. The only way to determine if something that cannot be explained by normal means has occurred or not is the litmus test that has been known for a very long time:

Did you learn anything from the experience that you could not have possibly known of by any normal means?

But, that would not make for a very good TV show. And by using that standard, a lot of well known "hauntings" fall flat on their face.

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