From monster of the week shows like The X-Files and Buffy The Vampire Slayer to the dozens of UFO Conspiracy documentaries and ghost hunting reality series, the public love spooky tv. There’s an inner craving built into all of us that wants to hear or see tales and events that we should be wary of. Generations have kept the stories of monsters and local lore alive solely by the passing along stories. Sharing legends and escapades around the campfire have died off in recent decades, but have found a new home in modern media.
Enter The X-Files
Probably one the most successful science fiction series on television, The X-Files shoved the idea of government conspiracy and the belief in the unbelievable into the public spotlight. The star characters of the series start off as skeptical of each other as they do for the people and organizations they deal with under the guise of government cover ups and unexplained phenomena. It’s this partnership of a strong career oriented woman making a name for herself with a lone wolf who attempts to convince her that what she’s clearly seeing is in fact what’s there, that the audience loved.
The monster of the week formula would be reused by a slew of series ranging for the mature to children’s television. The concept would be to feature one off episodes dealing with a variety of antagonists while keeping an ongoing arc consisting of a larger problem. We see this in each season of the series, but it stretched throughout the entire run with the smoking man character.
Halloween Specials and Monsters
In the old days of broadcast, every show featured holiday episodes and the best were always the Halloween special. The Rugrats had the Godzilla like Reptar bars that turned your tongue green and Hey Arnold paid tribute to Orson Wells famous War of The Worlds broadcast by having the students dress as Aliens while the local media stirred the city into a mess.
Children’s films like The Halloween Tree and The Ketchup Vampires (the original Twilight) groomed us us for classic spooky fun. Networks would even produce live action films just for the fall season such as, When Good Ghouls Go Bad that generally have a lesson or moral to go along with the entertainment.
In The End, It’s All about Adventure
The paranormal hunters and ghost chasers of reality tv fame personify childhood dreams of being real life ghost busters and searching for the unexplained. Ghost hunting is one of the easiest methods of doing this for tv as it requires the least amount of production work. You’re not required to travel to exotic locations, produce hard evidence, or show the audience what the monster is. We don’t care if it’s real or staged because we enjoy the ride and the characters involved.