Yesterday, I had time to fire up the DVR and watch the Season 11 premier of Ghost Hunters. I hadn’t really watched the show that much in the last few years, just catching glimpses of it. Not that he was the glue that kept me tuning in, but when Grant left, I just lost interest. Perhaps it had something to do with string-gate.
I was a big fan of the show up till that point. As I watched the show, I found myself reflecting upon what kept my interest in the early years. My conclusion? The interpersonal interactions of the original team was just as important to the viewer as the ghost hunting.
Let’s be honest here. No matter what ghost hunting show you watch, there is rarely ever something captured that definitively proves the place is haunted. There are noises, flashes of light, shadows, and sounds that your mind can morph into words. But apparitions or solid evidence of something happening? Rare, if ever.
What Ghost Hunters had that shows like “Most Haunted” lacked, was the fans interest in the members of the TAPS team. Here you had two guys who worked for Roto-Rooter, who put together a merry band of weekend ghost hunters. Jason & Grant were the founders, Donna was the organizer, Brian was the tech manager, Steve was an investigator along with Andy. Dustin and Tango may have been there from the start, I’m not sure. Oh, and Carl (whatever happened to him?) was the “demonologist.”
The interplay between the members of the group was as entertaining as the ghost hunting. The goofy set-up when Grant & Jason were on a plumbing job with Donna who called with a haunting job. Funny how the cameras were there at the right time at both locations.. Brian & Steve, who formed the goofiest team on the investigations, had some hilarious conversations.
We got to see how the team graduated from an office in Jason’s back yard to an actual office. As the show became successful, we saw new vehicles, new tech stuff, and the Halloween specials were great then. Then there was “Run Dude, Run” episode with Brian. Additionally, Brian was having some problems at home, so we saw some drama. The viewer felt bad for the guy.
All this made the viewer feel like they kinda knew these guys. Then came the shake-ups. Brian eventually left, and then shockingly so did Donna, then Andy. The show became a revolving door of investigators. Fans got to like Amy & Kris, but then they were gone. Then there was the 2008 Halloween marathon when Grant was accused of pulling a hidden string to make it appear his coat had been tugged upon, and allegations of piped-in voices.
Eventually Grant left, and so did I. I looked in a few times. The last time I watched a full episode before yesterday, there was a ghost hunting dog on the show..
The show lost what had set it apart from other shows like it. They had lost the “personal” connection between the investigators and the audience. It had become a procedural, and with Mike Rowe no longer narrating, Jason took that over. As a speaker & narrator, he makes a good plumber..
I’ll probably tune into a few episodes this season since they are leaving SyFy. I would guess they are moving to Destination America, home of all things haunted these days. It would be great if they could recapture the connections between viewer and investigators, but I’m not holding my breath. Success changes people..
Image above found on Wikipedia.