Monday May 2nd was this years first episode of Paranormal States: The New Class. I have to admit that I was expecting to see the full cast on the program until the day of the show when I read a tweet from Mr. John E. L. Tenney that indicated the night’s show was only going to have part of the cast. Since then I have been kicking the show, cast and topic in general around in my mind and, obviously, not posted a thing about it.
To be quite honest, ghost hunting/paranormal research television programs really aren’t my cup of tea, nor are “Reality TV” shows in general as I really don’t watch TV for “Reality.” It seems oxymoronic to me to turn the TV on to experience reality as the very act of watching TV takes you a step away from reality.
So why am I spending my time writing about a “Reality TV” show? Well, I had the opportunity to meet some of the cast a couple months back and spent some time talking to them. If they read this they may wince at my honesty here, but when I met some of the cast at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo I really had never heard of them, had no intention of meeting them, and, if I had heard of them, I wouldn’t have sought them out to talk to them because I was just not interested in what they were doing. But I did meet them and now, basically, they have become real to me, not by watching their show, but by actually turning off the TV and going out and meeting them in person when they were in Chicago. So I am writing about it pretty much because I met them, liked them, and care enough about them to say a few words (that sounds like a funeral! Perhaps I should change that but it somehow seems appropriate when referring to “ghost hunters.”)
Our meeting started off on the wrong foot as I really didn’t know they were part of a (ICK!) “Reality” show when Mike Holman introduced me to them. When I was talking to Chris and Savahanna I am sure I sounded like an idiot when I was asking what parts they played. Moreso after they answered my questions when I was still thinking it was a fictional drama and asked Chris if he knew martial arts and did any butt kicking in the show. Could have been worse as I was pegging Savahanna as the Uhura/Gwen DeMarco type character whose job was to repeat what she read off a computer screen. She had said her job was researcher and then said that John Tenney’s job was researcher/mentor so in a fictionalized show she would have been reading prepared lines and he would have been, truth to tell, extraneous.
When the realization dawned on me that this was indeed a group of people who were serious about the study of the paranormal and happened to get hit up by A & E to do a show, my perspective changed. I addition to being attractive, Savahanna is an intelligent woman and has been their academic researcher for the past few years that they have been doing paranormal research and Chris heads things up.
I ended up chatting with John Tenney the most after that as he really does have a strong background in paranormal research and an in-depth knowledge of the weird. Since I have an affinity for the weird I thoroughly enjoyed our chat. To sum up my conclusions about the cast, they are likable, sincere, intelligent. On something like this I could see the pressure for ratings and success might encourage them to put out sensationalism versus actually reporting/documenting what they find, but I don’t believe the Hoosiers would do that of their own accord and I think Mr. Tenney will do his best to make sure they resist the temptation. Bottom line, I think they will be worth watching which is hard for me to admit.
Watching the first show on A and E, well, I think the show is interesting but I am looking forward to seeing Mr. Tenney added to the mix. I wrote the bulk of this about a week ago and have been waiting to post it as I keep checking the A and E site hoping for more info on when the next show will be. I wanted to post that along with this but no luck. So I will post this and perhaps someone out there will get me some additional info. Anyone? In the meantime, this weekend is the Motor City Comic Convention so I will track down Mr. Tenney there and see if I can pick his brain on it.
In the meantime here is a link to a replay of the first (last year) show and a link to a replay of the May 2nd show as well as a Twitter Poll I just posted. So far I am the only one that answered the poll and according to my highly scientific research indicates that Tenney is 100% not creepy (since I am the only vote as I post this, that may not last long!)