Delve Deeper

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Double SyFy Review: Destination Truth and Haunted Highway

Destination Truth 

(2 episodes)

Of course Josh and Ryder are front and center. I don't see a problem with that but I noticed Ryder is more up front this season. That's where all the comedy is. I do enjoy that.

There are some new cast members and I have some thoughts on that:
Not to pick on a fellow half-Japanese person, but Katy Murakami seems pretty useless except to help carry gear. She hasn't really shown any knowledge about cryptozoology or the paranormal but according to her profile she has a film degree (as do I, can I join the cast?! lol) and is athletic (ex All-American field hockey player). I might seem like I'm picking on her but they do show her on-screen quite a bit and leave the other cast members silent and in the background... so I think it's fair. She was a producer for America's Next Top Model... yeah, sounds relevant.

Richie Fung is the team's medic. So he's very valuable (as we saw in the second episode when Evan started bleeding out of his ear!) Also, I noticed he's very alert (as they all should be) and seems genuinely interested in the investigation and not just "along for the ride" so to speak.

I enjoyed the second episode much more than the first. Evan (cameraman) returned to revisit the Romanian haunted forest clearing and was again assaulted.

Problem: (1) The newbies could impede the investigation. Richie and Katy heard something in the forest and believed it to be slowly stalking them... so what did they do? They started running, in the dark forest. Yeah... I think the best (safer) thing to have done was to back away slowly. But Josh and Ryder have their faults too. Like being a few feet away from one another and screaming at the top of their lungs to communicate. This was after they got a good FLIR image of what looked like a bipedal creature... so they decide to chase it across the river. And they start yelling back and forth. Nothing serious. This was even before Josh fell into the river. No need to yell and scare off the creature any more.
(2) Like with many of these crypto-paranormal adventure shows... there's just not enough time to show a decent full investigation. They've got approximately an hour of air time per episode. I think the heart of the problem is the length of the actual investigation isn't long enough. They should dedicate more time (days) per investigation for a better chance of capturing and gathering evidence. But this is television, so everything's fast, fast, fast. Another fix would be to show one investigation over two episodes. For the producers, this would help build up a regular viewership (stay tuned for the next episode--the intrigue!) and you could show more evidence and have more time to focus. As it is now, you get evidence and dedicate maybe 2 minutes of the show discussing each piece of the puzzle in the end.
I think they are also catering to our sad state of short attention spans. They give what people can handle which is: BAM BAM BAM, GOOD-BYE!

Conclusion: I would like to get to know the other team members and see them a little more. At the end of the episode, I didn't even know everyone's name. That's not right.
And I know this is listed as a travel, comedy, adventure show so it's not to be taken to seriously. I just wish there were more serious investigation shows that don't put entertainment value above fact gathering and truth seeking.
But yes, it's just TV and it is extremely interesting so....


Haunted Highway

Cast: Jael & Devon from Fact or Fake + Jack Osbourne and Dana Workman*

Honestly, I didn't even know about this show until I was watching Destination Truth earlier and saw the commercials running.

Pros: Jael & Devon make a great team and I couldn't help notice that, although I was expecting another Fact or Faked, this show had a distinctive feel to it. I really enjoyed their Tall Man investigations. They did a more thorough investigation in town talking to people than the other two did with their single witness.

Cons: Jack and Dana seem utterly unqualified to be on the show. The only good thing I saw from this pair was Jack's thinking of the peripheral cameras. That's it. Dana contributed nothing of value to the investigation except... being scared and screaming. Even Jack asks her "what are you doing!? I'm right here!" Oh...woops. I mean really. Pay attention to your surroundings! Screaming because Jack is walking towards her? Ridiculous. 

Conclusion: Jael & Devon should have the full hour for themselves. I find the other two annoying to watch. They shouldn't be on the show. I think these two are on the show simply for name recognition and widening to viewing audience. I think the Jael/Devon investigation is much better than what you see on Fact or Faked (trying to jam so many experiments into half an episode and then concluding something is faked because they were able to duplicate it.)

*Dana Workman... yeah, I was like who the heck is this? well here's her profile on SyFy:
Dana Workman has been covering sports and events and conducting interviews across a wide variety of topics and professions for several years.   An entertainer at heart, she has spent time both in front of and behind the camera doing triple duty, hosting, reporting and producing.  She has produced a wide array of stories in Macau, Dublin, London, Punta Cana, Vegas and San Francisco.  Her investigative savy and charming on-camera persona make her the ideal candidate to complete first-person investigations of the most frightening claims of paranormal activity along America's remote back roads on Syfy's Haunted Highway
 Ideal candidate? I don't know how that conclusion was reached from her resume. And from her performance on tonight's show, I would say they got that wrong. But I will continue to watch. I'm not hoping they fail. I'd much rather be entertained with a good show than find fault with it. But like I said, from what I witnesses, Jael and Devon's got the other two beat.

GRADE: I really wish I could separate this episode by teams. If I did, I would actually give Jael/Devon an A and Jack/Dana a D. So I guess the average would be a C+ or B-.

So if the producer is reading this... please consider this review!