Ghost Hunters, on SciFi (I refuse to spell it their way!), is a reality show that follows The Atlantic Paranormal Society (or TAPS) as they travel the country visiting haunted houses and locations. I watched this show for the first time last Halloween because I had friends over and wanted to watch something “scary.” Ghost Hunters was promptly added to my DVR list and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Ghost Hunters stars the telegenic Grant and Jay, Roto-Rooter plumbers by trade, as they spend their spend nights, weekends, and indeterminate number of days off hunting ghosts. While the show almost always opens with them learning about one or two jobs and rushing off with their caravan of intimidating black vehicles, my guess is that they accumulate several jobs around the country and then take off on an epic road trip. This would also explain the “on to the next” catchphrase from Jay after the customary episode-ending fist-bump. They drive, rather than fly, to each spot for two reasons: so they can keep their equipment with them and so they can keep Steve with them. I support this decision. Because I love Steve.
Over the years, their team has had slight turnover, but you can almost always count on Steve and Tango being there. Steve and Tango are amazing and they clearly need a spinoff buddy cop show or something. They are hilarious, adorable, and completely earnest. Tango, whose last name is actually Tango, is a typical Massachusetts dude who wears a flat cap all the time. Steve, whose crippling fear of flying I shouldn’t find endearing, is the tech guy and also takes more pleasure than most in debunking claims. They’re both unfailingly polite to everyone else, but never miss a chance to rib on one another. (Anyone remember the “pink headphones” incident?)
Amy Bruni is now the lone female member of the main TAPS team, after the departure of Kris Williams. I actually like Kris’s replacement, Adam Berry, because he’s got a bit more personality and is a good balance to Amy’s more serious approach. Jay and Grant, meanwhile, are by far the most intense investigators of the TAPS team, and they’re both prone to hissing, “What was that?” and staring off-camera with crazy eyes. They also bookend each episode by meeting with the person who called them to investigate.
Each episode showcases either one or two location visits by the TAPS team. They use cameras, audio recordings, and odd tools such as EKG meters to search for evidence of paranormal activity. If the episode includes two stops, it’s usually a tip that nothing terribly significant happened at either location. Larger or more active locations get their own standalone episode.
Basically, you get to watch a bunch of attractive people scare the absolute shit out of themselves in some occasionally horrifying places. For every house in the middle of nowhere that features the intermittent sound of footsteps, there’s a crumbling asylum where dozens of people were tormented and died. You can also definitely tell the difference between regular homeowners who suddenly have semi-famous people and a camera crew in their house and the marketing director of a hotel or museum.
It takes some getting used to watching this show, because of the sometimes-jumpy camera work and the fact that you spend the vast majority of the show watching the team in night vision. Sometimes the team members actually look strange in the light of day; Amy Bruni’s shiny, luxurious hair reads as blonde in the night vision but is a gorgeous dark red in real life. Then of course there’s the issue of whether or not you believe in ghosts, but I actually don’t think that has any bearing on the enjoyment of Ghost Hunters. It’s fun, it’s well-paced, and I guarantee you won’t be able to watch a few episodes without developing a TV crush on at least one of the team members. But I have dibs on Steve.