08 October 2008

13 Paranormal Television Shows

Like most of my fellow bloggers here at Beyond the Veil, I'm drawn to paranormal stories--writing them, reading them...and watching them! This is a great time in the history of the boob tube if you like to watch boobs (on reality tv) or supernatural dramas the rest of the time. I haven't done any kind of official, data-based calculation, but during prime time hours, there seems to be a higher proportion of television shows with supernatural elements than I can remember. It helps that there are a lot more channels to choose from than when many of us were growing up. When I was a kid, we got three channels and the only thing with fantastical elements involved an island and a mysterious, handsome man who could work magic. No, I'm not talking about Lost, I'm talking about Fantasy Island and Mr. Roarke!

Anyway, it's a good time to be a tv and paranormal fan. Here are 13 paranormal programs my husband and I usually try to watch whenever we get a chance.

1) Heroes: First on my list because I just watched the latest episode! This show is jam packed with characters, plot twists, grey areas and fast-paced action and while it has a dearth of non-blonde female characters, I enjoy it quite a bit. Paranormal factor: high. Romance factor: inconsistent. I heard there was supposed to be some shockingly awesome sex scene this year, and although I've seen a sex scene, it wasn't shocking or awesome enough, so I'm still waiting.

2) Pushing Daisies: The quaint, thoroughly enjoyable fairy tale with likeable characters and fantastical sets is set in a pastry store called the Pie Hole. It features two lovers who can never touch or the female will drop down dead. What's not to love? Paranormal factor: medium. Romance factor: high and sugary bittersweet.

3) Supernatural: It's way low on the romance and way high on the spooky with a heavy dose of brotherly love and extremely attractive male protagonists thrown in. Usually I give it two thumbs up, when it isn't give me nightmares. Paranormal factor: medium to high. Romance factor: inconsistent to low, but whenever it involves one of the brothers removing their garments, I'm in favor.

4) The Sarah Connor Chronicles: How did John Connor of Terminator fame turn into the man who was the savior of the human race? It was all thanks to his mum, of course. The show has a touch of sophomore slump but it's very high octane and is sprinkled with just enough humor to get you through a typically tense episode. Paranormal factor: medium to high. Romance factor: Pretty low.

5) Chuck: The supernatural elements are space age instead of paranormal, but it's consistently enjoyable, consistently funny and even surprises me sometimes. This season seems to be playing the romance between the main protagonists as very star-crossed. Paranormal factor: low. Romance factor: medium.

6) Lost: We've been watching this twisty psychedelic island caper since day one and honestly don't know much more than we did when we read the previews. However, we keep coming back for more anyway! Paranormal factor: low to medium. Romance factor: medium to please can Kate just make up her mind now?

7) Battlestar Galactica: The darkest and most bleak television series I've ever managed to keep watching. I'm so thankful the final season is at hand. They've discovered Earth and all that's left is the final Cylon and all the rest of the WTF elements. Paranormal factor: high. Romance factor: medium but kind of twisted.

8) Eureka: This summer season delight gets way too little credit, with a super genius town full of freaky, competitive scientists who nearly blow up the world once a week. Everyman and jokester Sherriff Carter has to save their genius butts each time. It's rarely dull and doesn't even make sense, but who cares? Funny stuff. Paranormal factor: medium. Romance factor: low to medium.

9) Stargate Atlantis: Recently canceled, I hear, but we will bid the last of the Stargates a fond farewell when it goes. Set in the Pegasus galaxy, it's a nerd boy's wet dream of how brainiac Rodney McKay was almost cooler that Colonel Shepherd. But who'll get the girl? Paranormal factor: high. Romance factor: as unsatisfactorily done as the original Stargate.

10) The late, great Buffy/Angel: Included here because it's now continuing in the comics as Seasons 8 and "After the Fall" respectively. Buffy was one of the first big splashes of the urban fantasy craze that has proliferated on bookshelves everywhere. It's a staple and doesn't need description, although I'm finding the comics don't seem to be headed in a direction that will lend itself to any kind of happy ending, which makes me nervous, because this *is* Joss Whedon we're talking about. Paranormal factor: high. Romance factor: high and angsty.

11) Fringe: Arguably, since it involves "science", it could be left off this list, but it's fringe science and weird things frequently happen. FBI (or CIA, I forgot) Heroine lost her illicit boyfriend and to save him she got involved with a crazy scientist, his brash, prodigal son, and a scary conspiracy to overthrow the world. I will . Xfiles meets CSI. I admit, I only watched 2 episodes of Fringe and wasn't impressed, but you're welcome to try and change my mind in the comments! Paranormal factor: low, since it's "science". Romance factor: undetermined, but sparks were obviously meant to arise at some point between the sad heroine and the brash son.

12: Sanctuary: I haven't had a chance to see this one yet, but Amanda Tapping's part of the cast plus a dude who looks like Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), so I'm in for the first several episodes, at least. Seems to have something to do with people who chase down paranormal creatures and give them....sanctuary? Paranormal factor: probably high. Romance factor: It's the SciFi channel, so probably low and awkward.

13) Smallville: Young Superman resists his destiny ad nauseum. This is the last show on my list, even after shows that have been cancelled or that I haven't seen yet, in order to express my disdain for the current quality of the show. And that's all I'm sayin'. Paranormal factor: medium. Romance factor: soap city.

What do you think of the proliferation of paranormal television right now? Which ones do you watch that aren't on this list and what do you think of these or any others? Let us know in the comments!

Jody W.
SURVIVAL OF THE FAIREST--Available now, Samhain Publishing

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