Judge Clark Douglas ain't afraid of no lens flare...I mean, ghost.
Our reviews of Ghost Hunters: Season Five, Part One (published March 12th, 2010), Ghost Hunters: Season Six, Part Two (Blu-ray) (published November 19th, 2011), and Ghost Hunters: Military Investigations (published May 21st, 2010) are also available.
All-real supernatural adventures!
There is only one way Ghost Hunters works, and that's as unintentional comedy. Watching a group of guys wandering through the darkness and talking each other into the idea that they're surrounded by the spirits of the dead is pretty amusing, particularly since the group seems rather eager to jump on the slightest rustle or flash of light as potential evidence. However, if you're rather skeptical about the notion of haunted houses, absolutely nothing Ghost Hunters has to offer will convince you otherwise. Alas, chuckling at the antics of the team probably won't sustain most viewers for very long, as amusement quickly gives way to irritation.
In terms of credibility, Ghost Hunters lands roughly on par with those televangelists who promise impossible miracles in exchange for generous donations. Of course, this show is a good deal less loathsome as all it steals from viewers is their precious time. Like all of the paranormal reality shows on television, this program is devoted to the task of creating suspense out of absolutely nothing. Floorboards creaking, wind blowing, flies buzzing—all might actually be a ghost attempting to give the hosts of this SyFy Channel reality show a very important message.
Still, I suppose the show should be given a modicum of credit for refusing to take itself too seriously. The series doesn't even bother with much pseudoscience, nor does it pretend that these people are trained experts. The hosts of the show were initially Roto-Rooter employees who hunted ghosts by night; now they're honorary Roto-Rooter employees who get interrupted during the middle of their fake job assignments with potential missions. We don't spend much time analyzing the host of electronic gadgets being used to measure paranormal activity; all we need to know is that it beeps and shows some very official-looking numbers on the screen. "Guys, it's a 1.9 over here," one says. "Oh my God, that's incredible," another team member will respond.
Those who already believe in ghosts may have no problem going with the flow, just as members of many religions are able to see everything which happens in life as part of a supernatural plan rather than as mere coincidence or normal scientific progression. However, those who actually watch the show and attempt to scrutinize the evidence will find the claims being made more than a little suspect. The average "discovery" on the show goes something like this:
Ghost Hunter #1: "Wait…did you hear that?"
(The music swells on the soundtrack.)
Ghost Hunter #2: "Yeah, I did. It sounded like someone said 'hungry.'"
(We hear a noise which sounds like the microphone picking up a bit of wind.)
Ghost Hunter #1: "Wow, it really does. You know, there used to be feasts in this building. I wonder if the ghost is expecting dinner."
Ghost Hunter #2: "That's incredible. Wow, that's just amazing."
Ghost Hunter #1: "I'm looking at my equipment right now, and the readings are really high."
Ghost Hunter #2: "Did you feel that? The atmosphere of the room just changed dramatically."
Ghost Hunter #1: "I don't know what's happening, but this is huge."
Sure, the Ghost Hunters claim to treat every piece of evidence objectively and with a skeptical eye, but it's obvious that they're eagerly highlighting any findings which viewers won't be able to dismiss within thirty seconds. Much of the stuff they throw out is only tossed in order to add credibility to the material they accept:
Ghost Hunter #1: "What's that?"
Ghost Hunter #2: "Just a lens flare."
Ghost Hunter #1: "Got it, thanks. How about this?"
Ghost Hunter #2: "Just some shadows; nothing supernatural."
Ghost Hunter #1: "Okay. But what about this noise?"
Ghost Hunter #2: "Oh, that's…wait…wow, that's incredible. What am I hearing right now?"
The highlight episode of the season is the visit to Alcatraz, in which one of the Ghost Hunters earnestly attempts to give The Birdman of Alcatraz a gift in the form of a feather. "I found this, and I thought you might like it since you like birds," he says. Other episodes take us to such prominent locations as The Philadelphia Zoo and the former home of Harriet Beecher Stowe, which are naturally filled with haunted, historically relevant odds n' ends.
Ghost Hunters: Season Six, Part One looks perfectly acceptable in hi-def, sporting an effective 1080i/1.78:1 transfer which gets the job done. As the bulk of this show spotlights murky night-vision cinematography, this isn't exactly a visually compelling series, but the HD transfer does allow viewers to better examine the assorted movements and blurry images the Ghost Hunters cite as evidence. Audio is solid, though this show has one of the most grating soundtracks on television, relying on an endless barrage of whooshing noises and electronic stings. It's painful to listen to, honestly. Still, everything is presented with clarity (save for the statements these ghosts are supposedly making). No supplements are included.
While I could very easily go through the remainder of my time on earth without watching another episode of Ghost Hunters, those who like this stuff now have their favorite show in HD. Three cheers for the free market, I guess.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
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