‘The Unexplained,’ so aptly titled
Bio Channel paranormal series leaves out a lot of critical details
August 1, 2012
A show about unexplained phenomena shouldn't raise more questions about itself than it answers about its topics.
But that's what happens with the Bio Channel's new series "The Unexplained" (a title that the channel styles, for some unexplained reason, as "The uneXplained"). A show in which experts in the paranormal try to help people with real problems, it leaves so many important issues unanswered that most viewers will ultimately be asking themselves just one question: "Why would anyone watch this?"
In the premiere episode, airing this Saturday, Aug. 4, at 10 p.m., we learn of the disappearance of a young man from Louisiana named Brett Fell, who apparently survived after flipping his car one night near New Orleans but hasn't been seen or heard from since. His friends and family members are understandably distraught.
Out of the blue, we meet Pam Coronado, who tells the camera, "I'm an intuitive investigator — some people call me a psychic detective — and I specialize in missing-persons cases." We see her introducing herself to Brett's parents and asking them for a photograph, which, she says, will allow her to "tune in" to him.
These scenes look like typical documentary re-creations, but gradually, vaguely, we get the sense that a camera crew followed Coronado while she was conducting her investigation. This raises other questions: Did the Fell family pay for her services? Did the show pay? What are her credentials? Has she actually ever helped locate any other missing persons? We never learn the answers to any of these questions.
Coronado has a series of visions that eventually lead her and the camera crew to a tent in the woods where she finds a paper flower. Since one of Brett's hobbies was origami, Coronado says that the tent is definitely worth staking out.
Did anyone stake out the tent? Did they find out who was living there? We never learn the answer to these questions either.
Instead, Coronado calls in her associate Vicki Martin, who is a field investigator in something called Project Search for Hope. (We never learn what that is.) Following more of Coronado's visions, they go to a different location, where they meet a homeless man who says he has seen Brett.
Later, Coronado says they believe the homeless man because he says that Brett has a cut in his chin. But in the photo they would have shown the homeless guy, a scar on Brett's chin is clearly visible. Since Martin's conversation with the man wasn't taped, we have to take her word for the information the man supposedly had to share.
Stories like this usually provide inspiration, awe or consolation. This episode produces nothing but frustration.
In the second episode, airing at 10:30 this Saturday, we meet a single mother of three named Aide Zazueta who has suffered for two years with painful seizures that doctors have been unable to diagnose. Aide is unable to work, and her mother, Consuelo, has to take care of her boys.
An Estonian man named Tarmo Urb, who says that his country has an ancient tradition of shamanism and healing arts, comes to Aide's bedside to work his magic. Although the show bills him as a "shamanic healer," he says, "I call myself rather a plumber. I'm removing from people unnecessary garbage from their system."
Sure enough, by swinging a short pendulum, Urb finds an "alien entity" that is sapping Aide's energy. She actually reports feeling better when he lays hands on her, presumably to remove it.
Then Urb discovers a curse dating back 400 years to one of Aide and Consuelo's shared past lives. Although even the most starry-eyed New Agers will be rolling their eyes at this point, this story strikes a chord with Aide and Consuelo.
We won't spoil what happens next. Suffice it to say that a doctor's opinion is never sought. Moreover, we don't learn whether Aide contacted Urb or the show set them up. Nor do we hear from anyone he might have healed in the past.
In journalism, these would be called "holes in the reporting," and a good editor would insist they be filled in. But in the case of "The Unexplained," one starts to suspect that if these holes were filled in, the whole story would collapse.
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