Fact or Whoa!

You know, you have admire SyFy’s quest to seek the lowest common denominator.  I mean, they’ve always specialized in insulting stupid entertainment (except when they had the show SF Vortex back in the 90’s, which featured diatribes by Harlan Ellison.)  Earlier this year they showed a program called Legend Quest which was about a man incapable of shutting up, going to places in search of mystic relics which he never found, but expounded endlessly on how he practically did find them.  It was incredibly annoying.  Not that I’m averse to annoying, one of my favorite shows to hate is Ghost Adventures, and that’s pretty much the definition of “annoying.”

SyFy also has a “reality” show titled Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files (so as to distinguish it from Fact or Faked: Sports Achievements and Fact or Faked: Sandwiches.)  This one is okay.  In it, a team of “experienced” researchers, photographers, and even an FBI agent review footage of paranormal events then set out to determine whether it’s real.  I used quotes around the word experienced because, not necessarily to be ageist, but these people look just old enough to have barely any practical experience.  They were clearly chosen more for the photogenic qualities than skills:

Their former FBI agent looks almost 40 trying to pass for almost 30. The women are both very “central casting” in appearance and the whole thing seems more like it belongs in the Beverly Hills 90210 (the original series) universe where 30 year old actors were passed off as high school students.

The other problem was the logic (or lack thereof) of the researchers. It’s done to pad out the hour-long run time but they often take tortuous logical paths to resolve their mysteries.  On one investigation, to solve whether a gravity hill was a genuine paranormal experience, they went through rigorous experiments involving lasers and recreating events when the matter could have been resolved simply by dumping a bucket of water on the hill to see which direction the water flowed (they eventually concluded that it was an optical illusion and that the reason cars rolled “up hill” was because it was, in fact, going down.)  In the most recent episode they investigated a supposed video of a ghost skulking about in an old cemetery.  After very convincingly recreating the effect by simply running some vehicles along the nearby road they refuse to conclude that just because the video could be recreated that it meant there wasn’t a ghost.

At that point, what’s the point of the program?  Is it a skeptical program?  Are they there to enforce belief in the paranormal like Ghost Hunters does (even though they sometimes debunk some phenomena they very clearly believe in the paranormal)?  Or is it just nonsense with a bunch of pretty people bumbling around, failing to operate logically, and getting paid what’s probably too much to do all that?

Yeah, I’m jealous.


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