Ghost Hunters Episode Review: School Spirit (8/21/2019)

Synopsis: Paranormal investigator Grant Wilson looks for supernatural evidence at an Idaho high school with a long history of urban legends and ghost sightings.

Review: My wife and I were big fans of this show when it first came on the air back in 2004. However, by the end of its original 11-season run, we had pretty much lost interest in the series, mostly because we felt as though the show had gotten away from its roots and wasn't putting as much effort into the investigations as it used to. Plus, with the two spin-off series (Ghost Hunters Academy and Ghost Hunters International) it was pretty easy to get burned out on the whole concept.

When I heard A&E was rebooting the series with just Grant Wilson at the helm, I wasn't really sure what to think and, despite some reluctance decided to give the show a second chance last night. Ultimately, my opinion of it was a bit mixed.

I'll start out by saying I was a big fan of the decision to have the first investigation at a public high school. One of my biggest pet peeves with the original series (and some of the later spin-offs) was it got away from investigating private homes and, instead, focused more on tourist traps. Since the latter always seemed like an opportunity for the business to gain free advertising/customers, it was hard for me to take the investigation seriously because I just couldn't see how it could remain unbiased. A public high school, in comparison, with nothing to gain financially, is a much better choice.

I also liked how Grant and his team attempted to debunk at least some of the things associated with the school, like a couple of the urban legends and the "ghost" that was seen on a security camera. Again, this is something the show got away from in its original run, electing to, instead, just assume every noise and other occurrence was ghost-related.

Unfortunately, along those same lines, by the second half of the episode, I thought the series started slipping back into some of its old habits.

For example, Grant made an effort to bring an electrician to "investigate" some of the electrical issues that the school believed were ghost related. However, he didn't actually let the electrician do anything, at least on camera. All he did was show the guy a video of the lights flickering and, when the electrician gave a non-paranormal cause for that, asked him a leading question about power drains and made it all about ghosts. I would have much rather have seen the non-paranormal explanation investigated further.

Also, having two investigators claim they had something "touching" them while in the gymnasium really isn't evidence and I thought it was odd nobody used the thermal imaging camera (which they mentioned they brought with them) in an attempt to show an entity, cold spot or some other physical proof something was happening. All those scenes did for me was prove the investigators might be good actors.

Those two things really did take away some of the steam from the episode and, while there was some evidence, like a flashlight turning on and off, the decision to half-ass other parts of the investigation did result in me doubting the overall conclusions.

Final Opinion: I gave the series a second chance and may wind up watching another episode or two before deciding for sure. However, while this episode had a good start, I am concerned this reboot isn't going to be any better than the original I wound up abandoning. Grant and his new team honestly need to step up their game if they want to make me a fan again.

My Grade: C


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