Enough with the aliens.
And no more clairvoyant prognosticators. Please. Can we shutter Area 51? Lock Los Chupacabras in a cage? Dump cement into Loch Ness? Stop speculating about Roswell?
While we’re at it, can we all declare a temporary moratorium on ghosts, demons, vampires, witches, poltergeists, crop circles, crystals, shape-shifters, time-travellers, spoon-benders, Satanism, channelling, remote viewing, cryptozoology, psychokinesis, and any paranormal phenomena recognized internationally by a three-letter acronym — UFO, OBE, ESP, EVP?
Can we put this stuff on an empirical shelf? At least until it seems fresh again? People, there’s way too much White Noise.
The entertainment industry is at it again, making a spectacle of science and rational inquiry as a new wave of supernatural projects arrives.
Just look at some of this month’s new TV shows:
NBC’s Medium stars Patricia Arquette. She plays Allison Dubois, a criminal consultant and mother of three who solves crimes by relying upon clairvoyant insights.
This week, Fox tweaked an infernal concept and unveiled Point Pleasant, a teen drama that continues in the Devil’s Spawn tradition of The Bad Seed, Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen.
In Point Pleasant, Christina Nickson (Elisabeth Harnois) mysteriously arrives in the eponymous New Jersey town after her unconscious body is plucked from the Atlantic Ocean.
Nobody, including Christina, realizes she is actually Satan’s daughter. Thus, the show’s narrative is lurching toward one of those epochal but, by now, ridiculously tedious showdowns — Good versus Evil. HBO’s Carnivale, which recently returned to TMN for a second season, is built around the same ultimate battle. Does anybody care?
It’s quite sad when you think about it. Why are writers rehashing shopworn ideas? Why aren’t they imagining new paranormal realms and otherworldly antagonists? Why aren’t they delving into untapped chambers of the unconscious?
Instead, we’re stuck with refurbished themes, full of genre clichés and hackneyed conceits. She has telepathy! She’s related to Lucifer! Carnivals are full of freaks!
Blah, blah, yawn.
This month, Space launched a new Canadian series titled Beyond, described as a “real-life X-Files.” (Or, in other words, Unsolved Mysteries meets PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal.)
Each half-hour episode of Beyond, “investigates a mysterious phenomenon through a blend of sci-fi, religion, biology and physics.”
Other new shows to hit the “Imagination Station” this month include a remake of Battlestar Galactica and something called The Girly Ghosthunters, in which “four girls with the courage of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the curiosity of the Scooby Doo gang” climb into their Winnebago and travel across Ontario in search of haunted sites.
Even new TV shows steeped within a scientific framework resonate with a strange, paranormal feel. CBS’s Numb3rs, which debuts tomorrow, is essentially a crime procedural. The twist here is that the brother of one FBI agent is actually a math phenom who uses his prodigious gift to help solve crimes.
Yeah, he’s using “math.” So why does it seem more like “magic?”
A rather desperate NBC is turning toward the paranormal these days. Revelations, an upcoming drama starring Bill Pullman and Natascha McElhone, explores, yes, the looming Apocalypse. The network is also developing Fathom, a pilot about aliens who inhabit the ocean depths.
It’s not just television.
Sitting in a downtown theatre last week, I saw trailers for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming War of the Worlds (starring Tom Cruise), Batman Begins and Constantine, a supernatural thriller starring Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz that hits theatres next month.
Movies released this week include the thriller Hide and Seek, which stars Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning, the latter as a young girl with an imaginary and, quite possibly, homicidal friend.
Alone in the Dark, meanwhile, stars Christian Slater as a paranormal investigator. Where have you gone, Fox Mulder?
Has an excessive exposure to vampire slayers, alien autopsies, demonic homes and kids-who-see-dead-people tripped a collective wire, turning all of this into a heap of predictable dreck?
I want to believe. But the truth isn’t out there — it’s everywhere.
email@example.com Vinay Menon