Remember on The Dukes of Hazzard, how Waylon Jennings would interrupt the proceedings every now and then to tell us about the pickle those Duke boys were about to get themselves into?
Syfy’s newest ghost hunting show Deep South Paranormal is like that but with spirits.
I don’t know how they did it, but somehow, Syfy managed to take a concept that’s gone stale and breath new life into it. Granted, they had a little help from History and A&E and every channel with a show featuring a good ol’ boy and a swamp.
Deep South Paranormal saves their swamp visit for a later episode, opening instead with a fairly typical hunt at an abandoned sawmill in Long Leaf, Louisiana. I’m not sure why. The joy of this series, is its connection to the old South, the bayou legends and the promise of voodoo.
What we do get in the opening episode is an introduction to a collection of mismatched ghost hunters with heavy accents and a tendency to murder the King’s English. Keith Ramsey is the Waylon Jennings of the group. A long-time musician, he brings his guitar along on the hunt so he can draw the spirits out with a song. It’s his folksy narration that makes the series so watchable.
Then there’s Hart Fortenbery, the Godfather of the group. He’s pure Cajun and he’s got a colorful expression for every thought in his head. Hart relies on his Gris-gris stick and his instincts when hunting spirits and if he feels a frisson comin’ on, you better hightail it outta there and fast.
Brother and sister Randy and Kali are the least Southern of the bunch. Randy looks like an urban street tough and as the only female in the group, Kali was given little to do.
The other three guys are all interchangeable and unmemorable.
In order to play up the “Deep South” connection, the producers included a couple of scenes that felt like they came out of a different reality show. At the top of the hour, we saw the guys feeding a few pet alligators. Later, in the middle of the hunt, three of the guys went fishing and we had to watch as they playfully teased each other over their lack of skill.
They did spend the majority of the hour actually searching for ghosts.
They didn’t find any. Sure, they picked up some crazy thermal images and they heard a lot of scary noises, but that’s all there was of that.
Does that mean it’s a bad show? Certainly not. The trend would come to an end if locating an actual ghost was a requirement.
I enjoyed the opening episode, but I’m really looking forward to seeing stories that could have only come from the deep South. Maybe next week.
Watch Deep South Paranormal every Wednesday at 10 on Syfy.