Ghost Hunters International

Season 1 Episode 1

Chillingham

0
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Jan 09, 2008 on Syfy
8.6
out of 10
User Rating
29 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

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England's Chillingham Castle and Mary King's Close, a Scottish thoroughfare, are investigated.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Better than I expected

    9.0
    When I first saw the intro of the team and their new leader I thought was just gonnna be an average show with some inexperienced people who were just going to do everything by the book and have no excitement. The more and more I watchched the more i realized that these weren't some amatures. The person I mostly like from the new show is Barry Fitsgerald who is the radical Scottish man who says he'll set fire to the ghosts toys. I know that this show is new, but i think that it will turn into one of the greats and I'm gonna keep watching to see how the team progresses and get's better through out the season. Plus more paranormal activities seems to happen abroad. I will say this though I do miss Steve Grant and Jason, but i guess that's why there coming with the new season of Ghost Hunters in March Cant Wait.moreless
  • Not surprisingly; Inferior to the original.

    6.5
    I was really dissapointed with this show! What a step down and in the wrong direction than its predecessor Ghost Hunters. Donna and her 'feelings' contaminate her investigation, you could almost see the new girl Shannon rolling her eyes has Donna gets scared over nothing has they investigate. Ghost Hunters always preached not to rely on feelings, but on evidence, and clearly Donna has not learned this lesson. Brian is the same old Brian, not a bad investigator but with so much ego it's hard to watch sometimes. Barry from the Irish investigations last season on Ghost Hunters returns. And here we go again with his running and shouting nonsense he always brings to the investigation, another easily spooked investigator, which just makes no sense. The two bright spots were the new leader Rob, and Andy. Both level headed, quick to dismiss nonsense and not to label any place haunted. Rob shot down Shannon's 'spirit-orbs' (dust particles or bugs) down quickly which was awsome. They display the classic Ghost Hunter TAPS qualities; they debunk, they don't get scared or spooked, and rely on hard evidence and nothing else. Let's hope they work some common sense into the rest of the team.moreless
  • Ghost Hunters International provides a serious view of paranormal investigations overseas.

    8.7
    Ghost Hunters International is a step forward in the genre of paranmormal investigation. It starts from a skeptical point of view and gathers evidence and examines it with all the rigor that can be mustered. The cast is lead by Robb Demarest, who, although new to television, is apparently a serious investigator with extensive background. His intensity for finding truth comes through in each of the investigations. He does not engage is the melodramatic antics of other cast members or other shows, but remains focused on evidence and rigorous examination. The show is new, has some rough edges, and needs to find its niche, but the settings are fascinating and it appears that the cast will gel as they get more focused on serious investigation and less interested in providing dramatic moments.moreless
  • Surprisingly superior to the original in its current state

    8.0
    The beginning of this series premiere starts this spin-off venture on the wrong note. Most fans are well aware of the fact that TAPS had nothing to do with the creation of this series. This was a line extension on the part of Pilgrim Films and Sci-Fi Channel, looking for a way to capitalize on one of their few solid and dependable hits. They took former TAPS members (some of whom left under less than ideal circumstances) and brought them together.



    So the opening was clearly contrived by the production staff to make this new series look like an initiative conceived by Jason and Grant, when that's simply not the case. It's very likely that this is the scene that prompted Donna's disturbing rant on her MySpace blog; it was noted that the participants were being asked to say and react to things that were not accurate. I think that fact is apparent from the scene itself; it seemed incredibly forced.



    It also seems to expose Pilgrim Films' plans for the franchise. It's noted that the creation of this new team will allow TAPS and GHI to operate independently, filming for several weeks at a time, thus giving everyone a break. This would appear to fit the anticipated airing schedule: first GHI, then "Ghost Hunters", and so forth, with plenty of time in the middle for filming and producing additional episodes. (Never mind the upcoming "UFO Hunters", which will inevitably slide into the rotation as well, giving the franchise a strong presence on Wednesday nights all year long.)



    As noted, this team consists of former TAPS members and assorted members of the extended TAPS Family. Donna, Brian, and Andy are all familiar from their time on "Ghost Hunters", and it's good to see the familiar faces. Barry was a guest member for TAPS' "European Trilogy" during the third season of "Ghost Hunters". Shannon is a member of New England Paranormal, the so-called "sister group" of TAPS, and a relatively new investigator.



    The team is led by Robb Demarest, who runs a Florida branch of the TAPS Family. One is left to wonder how he managed to get hired to lead the team; he seems a bit removed from the rest of the gang. This brings up the central issue of any such spin-off. TAPS existed before "Ghost Hunters", so most of the team had personal relationships with each other ahead of time. GHI was cobbled together by design.



    Despite that fact, I must admit that the show is, thus far, a pleasant surprise. It does suffer a bit from the absence of Jason and Grant, but that impression quickly disappears. It only emerges when Robb attempts to inject some of Jason's attitude into a situation, and it doesn't quite work for him. It's better when he's just being himself.



    The group dynamic is not what I expected, and also seems to be the result of some executive production decisions. Robb has been granted the "Jason" role, and Andy Andrews fills the "Grant" role. They work together well enough, but it's obviously not the natural fit that Jason and Grant already had before "Ghost Hunters". Brian is back to playing technical manager, and Donna is the case manager. Shannon is the rookie (there's always at least one), and Barry plays the European advisor, much as he did during his "Ghost Hunters" guest stint.



    Chillingham Castle



    I can understand why some people would criticize Andy as arrogant, but I find his approach refreshing. Andy was always a mixture of contradictions: he loved to debunk, but he was very excitable. He brings that internal tension to the new show, and I think it works well. I like the amount of logical debunking that was applied to the first investigation. In fact, it's exactly that kind of thorough approach that has been missing from "Ghost Hunters" of late.



    Still, at the end of the day, this is another team of believers trying to overcome their subjective reactions and expectations to apply scientific concepts, and sometimes they fall short. Barry and Donna did not leave a good impression while running around the castle, and the idea of just racing through darkened rooms and taking pictures, in the name of "surprising the ghosts", was just plain ludicrous.



    The EVPs were interesting, but I thought the interpretations were a bit of a stretch. Why would they all be names? "Isaac" was a bit of a leap, given how muffled it was, and "Toby" was too quick to be positive (the connection to the dog was a particular stretch). "James" was rather clear, but since when is James an unusual name in the middle of England? They were a bit quick to embrace the recordings as paranormal evidence with connections to history, in my opinion.



    Mary King's Close



    This was another great example of using the equipment to aid in debunking as opposed to leaping at a supernatural explanation for every odd occurrence. Robb's amused but measured debunking of Donna's apparent personal experience was classic. The main complaint is, unfortunately, leveled at Donna and Shannon, who were far too excitable and fed into each others' hysteria. Robb might consider shifting the team assignments in the future if that continues.



    I personally do not agree with the notion of "provoking" during an EVP session. Despite that, I can't argue with Barry's approach. One of the claims was a child's reaction to leaving a toy or money. Assuming they had no toys and change to use to test the theory, why not take something away? I'm a big proponent of the idea that an investigation should be tailored to the claims themselves, focusing not only on location, but context. To me, this was a nice touch!



    I was a little disappointed, however, by the supposed "shadow picture". Granted, I'm not a big fan of "ghost pictures" in general, but that felt particularly weak. On the other hand, how many solid investigations end with something equally insubstantial?



    In the end, I was surprised and pleased to note that Robb clearly expressed his reasons for not labeling either site "haunted". His statements on the matter actually serve as a convenient measure for the team's integrity. Will they continue to interpret their evidence against that high standard, or will we see a slow but steady watering-down process? Only time will tell. But for now, it would appear that the "Hunter" franchise has another solid hit on its hands. The premiere drew a higher rating than fresh content on the CW network, and handily beat the season average for "Ghost Hunters."moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Both Barry and Chillingham historian Richard Marsh are wearing red poppies on their lapels. These are worn in the UK and other Commonwealth countries to celebrate members of those countries' armed forces who died during WWI. Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day) is observeded on the second Sunday of November, though its official date is November 11 since the Armistice of WWI was signed on November 11, 1918. It's not unusual to see people wearing poppies a week before the actual holiday, however, as Barry and Richard do here.

    • Brian joins Robb at the Reveal after the investigation of Mary King's Close, rather than Andy, as is usual.

    • The investigation of Chillingham Castle occurred on November 4-5, 2007, according to the date embedded in the camera footage. The investigation of Mary King's Close took place on July 15-16, 2007.

    • Also Appearing:
      Investigation 1: Chillingham Castle - Chillingham, England
      Richard Marsh - Castle Historian
      Sir Humphry Wakefield, Bt - Castle Owner

      Investigation 2: Mary King's Close - Edinburgh, Scotland
      Roger Beale - Staff Historian
      Mark Clement - Historian
      Cai Phillips - Tour Guide

      Special Thanks:
      The Real Mary King's Close
      Sir Wakefield Bt., Chillingham Gastle

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Robb: (after getting three EVPs at Chillingham) I hope we never get to a point where we're happy with the evidence we have- we're always going to want more evidence.

    • Jason: Robb is an investigator from my Florida TAPS team. His methodology, his leadership, his scepticism, puts him as a perfect candidate to run this Europe team.

    • Andy: The one thing that I take with me everywhere is my debunking skills. That's my thing, I'm a debunker.

    • Andy: I'm really curious to see this- if we do EVP work in Italy, are they going to be answering us in Italian?

    • Robb: As a TAPS family member, I follow the same protocols set out by Jason and Grant. I will dismiss any evidence that I personally cannot prove as paranormal.

    • Donna: I feel very uneasy, and I feel my stomach's getting that butterfly feeling. And it's not because we're in a dark room in a 800 year old castle, either.

    • Andy: I like Robb's style on the EVP. There's personality to his questions, which hopefully that inflection in the voice and that feeling in the questions is able to be picked up on by any spirits who might be hanging out there.

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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