This most recent hiatus for "Ghost Hunters" has been a rocky one at best. Filming resumed several months into the year, coinciding with the most recent batch of episodes, and the TAPS team had been decimated in the interim. Brian, Donna, Lisa, and Paula left TAPS, and there are indications that the relationship between TAPS and "Ghost Hunters" caused some of the friction. Dustin has also taken leave to focus on family.
The main criticisms have centered on the previous episode ("Manson Murders"). Evidence of tampered thermal footage from the episode became grist for the mill among critics and fans wary of how the show has evolved in the third season. Additionally, association with Chris Fleming was questioned, specifically the apparent support given to the K-II Meter. While all parties involved admit that the K-II Meter is simply a poorly-shielded EMF detector, Fleming continues to promote the device as a "ghost detector". For some, association with someone like Fleming betrays the quality of integrity that TAPS has carefully cultivated.
All of the drama should give critics and fans yet another reason to watch the show. Critics will be looking more closely at the episodes, if only to determine if more glaring evidence of post-production tampering can be gathered. Fans will be looking for TAPS to overcome the shortcomings of the season to date and abandon the "Hollywood" style that has undermined the charm of the series. (The more cynical among the audience would point to Jason's new look and the prominent use of K-II Meters as a bad sign.)
The addition of new investigator Kris Williams will likely raise eyebrows. Certainly, she is a young and attractive young woman, and that will draw in viewers on the fence with Donna's eventual departure. (Donna's participation is essentially down to occasional pick-up scenes in this batch of episodes.) But it's well known that SFC was considering a spin-off starring a young female investigator with little or no experience, so some will wonder if this is laying the foundation.
Case #1: Northern State Hospital
This is an interesting case, and one that should prove controversial. The client is very clear about his preferences. He does not want TAPS to find evidence of the paranormal, unlike many owners of public locations. So one would hope that the evidence collected would be above reproach and beyond explanation. It would avoid any chance that the critics would claim that the client was being used for entertainment purposes.
Unfortunately, the most compelling evidence in this case looks suspiciously like someone hanging a thin curtain over their arm, standing in the shadows to remain unseen by the camera. Looking at the top of the "transparent form", the movement looks like a bending arm, drawing the rest of the "figure" in the same direction of the arm's motion.
Maybe this was someone's attempt to fool TAPS and make them look foolish. Maybe they tried to debunk it and it was never shown in the final cut. Whatever the case, this evidence will do nothing to help them deflect questions regarding their integrity. Just based on the video as presented, I can't believe they would miss such a recognizable movement.
Case #2: Seattle Underground
This case reminded me of the location in London with the basement under the streets, filtering noise from above into the spaces below. Most of the experiences were explained away without much trouble. The ones that weren't dismissed or debunked can be chalked up to their own subjective interpretations, all of which are predictable and consistent with their conclusions in the third season. The location was fun, though, and Kris could turn out to be a good addition to the show.