“Ghost Hunters” returns to Syfy tonight without one of its core members.
Grant Wilson left the show a few months ago at the midseason finale to pursue other interests, among them the gaming company Rather Dashing Games.
Grant was my favorite, and the show suffers a bit for his absence. The hunts are still fun (and tonight’s episode is a doozy), but co-founder Jason Hawes doesn’t have the same rapport with his other teammates. The closest he comes to it is with Steve Gonsalves, but they don’t have the same years of friendship.
Everybody says they miss Grant, but it’s business as usual for the team. The most noticeable difference is that a lot of the exposition you’d get from Jay and Grant bantering is now done by Jay in voiceover. It’s a bit clunky as he tries to get a feel for it.
What tonight’s episode has going for it is an exciting hunt. The team visits Old City Jail in Charleston, S.C., which has all sorts of nasty claims, including (mostly) women getting scratched. The country’s supposedly first known female serial killer, Lavinia Fisher, was imprisoned there, and lots of people died in its walls.
But for the most part, the team is left alone. Sure, there are the usual “What was that?” footsteps and whatnot, but the star of the show is skeptical camerawoman Hagar, one of the usually nameless crewmembers who follow the gang around. She gets scratched several times, and we see the welts on her arms, neck, back and hip.
Even Ami Bruni, who announces to the audience she’s pregnant, doesn’t see much ghostly action, though she does quit the hunt at one point, concerned for the safety of her baby. Apparently, some theories in ghost-hunting circles say a spirit can attach itself to an unborn child.
I still enjoy the show and the genre, and I’ll keep watching, I’m sure. But I can definitely see my eyes wandering to the many knock-offs. “Ghost Adventures” on the Travel Channel has a lot of, um, spirit, and I recently stumbled across “The Dead Files,” also on the Travel Channel, which has an interesting premise.
A former cop, Steve Di Schiavi, and a medium, Amy Allan, investigate the same building without discussing the case at all prior to the event. Then they meet at the end with the client and compare notes, which, at least in the few episodes I’ve seen, include an artist rendering of the ghost Amy saw, which looks just like a photo Steve found.