Had the chance to catch A&E's new "Ghost Hunters" rip-off "Paranormal State" last night. It's noteworthy for two things: It's slavish adherence to the "Ghost Hunters" formula and, despite that, for being really, really annoying.
Head spook hunter Ryan Buell, who has apparently been attending Penn State since 2001 - a fact that doesn't speak well for his book smarts - does all the voiceovers - and does them all speaking into a tin can. I have no words to describe how fingernails-on-chalkboard that effect is. It doesn't help that Buell is loaded with that Bear Grylls' style phony "look-at-me" bravado that makes you want to hit him. You can so tell he started this club just to meet gullible girls.
The biggest difference from "Ghost Hunters" is that the Paranormal Staters don't even make a pretence at debunking their hauntings. Instead, they treat every creaky door like they're shooting an "Exorcist" re-make. Just the idea that any rational person would let a bunch of college underclassmen in to solve a problem more vexing than leftover pizza is utterly laughable.
Other than that, it's a swell program.
Oh and while I was watching that travesty, there were ads up for A&E's next big reality show: "Parking Wars," which will evidently follow the triumphs and travails of the brave warriors of the parking police and their loyal henchmen, the tow truck drivers.
SCREECH, SCRATCH, SCREECH!
That sound you hear is the very bottom of the reality barrel being scraped.