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America's Psychic Challenge
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality game show -- in which psychics use their abilities to compete for a cash prize -- includes frank discussions about connecting with the other side, which may be scary for younger viewers. Detailed descriptions of violent acts (murder, shootings, and more) are accompanied by subtle re-enactments, images of grieving families, and personal pictures and video clips of the deceased (some of which can feel very exploitative).
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What's the story?
In AMERICA'S PSYCHIC CHALLENGE, 16 people with professed psychic abilities risk their reputations by putting their powers to the test. Psychic mediums, clairvoyants, readers, spiritualists, healers, and crime profilers go head to head in a quest for $100,000 and the title of America's Number One Psychic. In each episode, the competitors apply their unique skills to a variety of challenges to earn points. Each week, the two psychics with the highest scores go on to the next round.
Is it any good?
While all of the competitors in America's Psychic Challenge are eager to win, they also seem to view the experience as an opportunity to demonstrate how their talents work -- and don't work -- as well as to dismiss some common myths about the psychic experience. They're quick to point out that everyone possesses psychic abilities; they just happen to be more "in tune" with theirs. They also make it clear (perhaps to preserve their own reputation) that being psychic doesn't mean that they know everything.
America's Psychic Challenge may call itself a game show, but some of the challenges are uncomfortable to watch -- particularly when a psychic is asked to profile a violent crime while the victim's family is present. Seeing family photos, re-enactments, and close ups of desperate family members makes some parts of the show feel more like exploitation than a showcase of psychic talent. That said, the psychics truly view these moments as opportunities to help those who need closure. In the end, the show is less about who wins and more about how these psychics go about making connections between the living and the dead. And while the series' concept seems to invite cynicism, even skeptics may find the psychics' different, sometimes theatrical approaches both interesting and entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about psychics. Can people really talk to the dead or tell the future, or is it just good guesswork? Is it possible for people to communicate from "beyond the grave"? Is there such a thing as an afterlife? How do different faiths tackle the idea of the afterlife? What do you think happens? Families can also talk about the role that psychics play in solving crimes. Do they really help solve difficult cases? Is it really like what you see psychics do on TV shows?