I am a hard-core science fiction fan. Always have been. It probably has something to do with being a child in the 80s, but whereas many guys grew up playing soldier and wanting to join the army, I grew up wanting to be a Jedi. When the Sci-fi Network debuted, I was madly in love. Classic shows, like the original V or Star Trek, mingled on the same channel with new shows like Sg-1. It was all I could ask for but then they began to change, with a new show called Ghost Hunters. I was not thrilled. I refused to watch it, and all the while the concept caught on. Several shows on several channels featured this new concept of a “real life” quest for the paranormal. I was still not sure what the whole idea was about when I married my wife, who loves the show. I have now watched many episodes of several shows, and want to weigh in.
One thing Ghost Hunters has on other shows is that it is done a little more seriously than some of the other shows. No offense to people who like Ghost Adventures, but it seems more of a show played for jokes. Its three man crew is led by a man who is so over the top it is laughable. Their camera man is genuinely funny, but makes it seem much less serious than TAPS. With TAPS, the group is made up of several people, who yes, sometime scream out for no apparent reason, but they keep it to a minimum, comparatively.
The TAPS crew also is much more willing to admit when things are definitely not paranormal. I don’t think the crew on Ghost Adventures has heard a ghost story they DON’T believe. This makes any genuinely weird phenomenon hard to take at face value, because they act like everything is a visit from the beyond. I have seen the TAPS crew prove people’s paranormal fears to be caused by everything from a short in electrical wires to magnetically bonding spoons (it was highly interesting watching some spoons seemingly cross the table for no apparent reason).
I still personally believe they are far too willing to say things are supernatural. I don’t find it hard to imagine their camera crew setting up trip wires to pull doors shut. And my older siblings played with my head enough as a child, by making me hear weird noises in the middle of the night for me to believe static on a recorder is absolutely someone come back to talk. However, the show is definitely entertaining at times, and I am willing to give them the benefit of a doubt. And although I still am not sure that it qualifies as “sci-fi,” I certainly approve more of it than I ever will of wrestling being on my favored TV station.