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Ghost Hunters Academy
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 entry in the popular Ghost Hunters franchise combines paranormal investigations with an elimination-style reality competition, giving it a little more edge than earlier series. The Atlantic Paranormal Society is looking for new recruits; of the thousands who applied for the job, the finalists must prove their mettle during on-site evaluations. Expect a generally creepy vibe, as well as mild swearing and frequent discussion of violent incidents in the past that could have led to ghostly presences.
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What's the story?
The Atlantic Paranormal Society -- which created the popular Ghost Hunters franchise -- needs some fresh blood to help them study the spirit world. The team examines allegedly haunted houses, spending the night in old forts, historic mansions, and other places that have a history of supernatural activity and using scientific gear to hopefully capture physical evidence of the afterlife. But the group's successful TV show and the expanding TAPS empire means that they need to hire some new members; after screening thousands of applicants, the finalists are getting an on-air evaluation as they try to investigate a possibly haunted site.
Is it any good?
GHOST HUNTERS ACADEMY combines elements of the proven Ghost Hunters formula with a Survivor-style elimination series. Though there’s no fixed formula that means someone gets thrown off the show at the end of each episode, the recruits know that they'll be sent packing if they can’t pull their weight. Veteran TAPS investigators Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango lead the five finalists through a real investigation, but the focus is shifted away from the supernatural to land on the very mundane as each candidate tries to prove their worth.
The result is somewhat muddled. The recruits are jockeying to show their stuff -- or just avoid making a mistake -- while Gonsalves and Tango point out their errors and explain what they’re doing wrong. It looks like a group job interview held in a haunted house, with each nervous applicant trying to sell themselves. The best reality shows succeed by finding participants who will create the kind of drama that makes for good television; Ghost Hunters Academy, however, sifted through resumes looking for people who might make good ghost hunters. These participants may be great at communing with spirits, but they aren’t especially telegenic.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the supernatural. Do you believe in ghosts? Do you think the Ghost Hunters shows actually capture evidence of the spirit world?
What do you think about this hybrid reality show, which adds elements of Survivor-style elimination to the traditional Ghost Hunters formula? Do you think this combination works?