Add Paranormal State Season 5 To Your Collection!

If you’ve see and enjoyed the first four seasons of Paranormal State, then this latest, season five, will likely be a no-brainer for you as it’s basically more of the same. For those not in the know, the ‘reality show’ which airs on A&E follows a young man named Ryan Buell who founded the Paranormal Research Society when he was a nineteen year old student at Penn State. Buell states in the opening of each episode that he’s always felt a connection to the paranormal, and as such he started this group in school to team up with like-minded individuals to head out across the country and investigate various haunting and the like. During each investigation, the team will go into ‘Dead Time’ which is basically when they turn off all the lights in whatever building they’re checking out and hope to spot or communicate with whatever spirits may be around. The show is a lot like other paranormal/ghost shows on TV these days, like Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters, though this series injects more of Buell’s personality into things to differentiate itself. Sometimes this works in interesting ways, such as when he finds himself dealing with his Catholic upbringing and religious convictions, while other times it feels a bit like Buell is playing into his own cult of personality.


Like Ghost Hunters, each episode starts off with a basic run down of what Ryan and his team are going to be up against. The team members can and do change from episode to episode, with various personal drama coming into play here and there and having an effect sometimes on the outcome of any given assignment. A perfect example of this being when team psychic Michelle Belanger takes issue with one particular spirit who only goes after the women in the house, wanting to take him on as much for personal reasons as professional reasons. In another episode, some personal issues that team member Elfie Music is dealing with cause her to be more hesitant than she has been in past episodes where her involvement has played a key role. While this does go some way towards helping this series stand out from similar shows, it also gives the show a bit of a scripted feel. That’s not to say that people don’t have to deal with issues that do affect their jobs at any given point but here it all feels very convenient how it happens to be worked into a specific case or storyline.


The show also tends to deal in melodramatics on a very regular basis. Not only are there the personality issues discussed above but there are Ryan’s monologues which definitely have a certain amount of ‘flair’ to them. When each episode ends, more often than not we’re treated to a shot of him walking away from the camera, solo, something that feels more appropriate to the end of an episode of The Incredible Hulk than what is supposed to be ‘reality TV.’ Are we really supposed to believe that at the end of each investigation Ryan wanders off into the sunset all by himself? On top of that, the show is so heavily edited that you can’t ever really form a realistic opinion of what activity is real and what is not. Night vision cameras and EVP recordings only go so far in this area, and the fact that the series tends to cut away at very convenient times makes it hard to take it all that seriously. The show winds up trying to generate fear and suspense but failing to do so and a lot of what winds up happening feels forced and contrived, from the set up to Buell’s dry and emotionless narration (much of which sounds more like a pre-written soliloquy than anything improvised or of the moment).


About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).