Thursday, September 30, 2010

Paranormal TV: A List of 13 On-Air Possibilities

A lot of us here at the Diner don't just read and write romance with paranormal or speculative elements, but we watch it on TV. Especially Annie! Every now and then, I like to come up with a list of all the spec-rom possibilities on the small screen in case any of us are missing something we might like.

A note on my rating system: I have used my numbers to measure how much of a certain element is in the show, how much it influences the show or could potentially influence the show in the case of a new show or one I have stopped watching. The ratings don't reflect my opinion of the show itself although sometimes I do comment on the execution of that element.

Without further ado, here's 13 shows with both speculative and romantic elements currently on air!

1) Stargate Universe--I've seen all the episodes.
Spec Elements: 9. Although the drama on the show is very human at times, the show certainly couldn't exist without the fact that these folks are stranded on a decrepit alien spaceship in a distant universe with no way to control the spaceship's functions--or get home.
Romance Elements: 3. While there are characters on the show in relationships with others on the ship or loved ones "back home", the romance doesn't influence the plots as much as it does on other shows. Also, I'm not thrilled with the execution in many instances.

2) No Ordinary Family--I've seen 1 episode.
Spec Elements: 4. Let's just say the woo-woo and superpowers are not really explained or technical, but it does influence the show some. However, part of the show's schtick is that these people still have their daily lives to deal with.
Romance Elements: 4. We have the adult couple already married but kind of estranged and two teens. There's potential but it's not the standard romance genre story.

3) The Event--I've seen all the episodes (2 at the time of this post)
Spec Elements: 3. Right now the show relies more on the thriller genre for pacing and style than SF, although there is an SF element. It watches like 24 mashed with Flash Forward mashed with V, only a little lighter on the SF.
Romance Elements: 3. The main dude is looking for his girlfriend, to whom he intended to propose. So there is a relationship, but I wouldn't say right now it has much "romance".

4) Smellville--I quit watching several seasons ago (because it sucked so hard it depressed me)
Spec Elements: 7. The hero *is* from Krypton, after all, and can do all sorts of superhero things except fly and, you know, be an actual hero.
Romance Elements: 7. The show is often over-driven by the romance plots, which are not always well handled due to shoddy characterization. BUT. There is romance in there.

5) Supernatural--I quit watching several seasons ago (because my schedule was too tight and it was too dark)
Spec Elements: 7. Like Smellville, the fact that the two main characters' lives are dictated by demon hunting and preventing the earth's destruction is pretty influential.
Romance Elements: 2. There's sex sometimes and the two main characters are Hottt. I hear the new season starts out with some pseudo domestic bliss? But I wouldn't know. However, the relationship that drives the stories is more brotherly love than romantic love.

6) Chuck--I've seen all the episodes.
Spec Elements: 4. The computer in Chuck's brain and all the spy tech whizbang definitely affects the plot. The human element affects it more.
Romance Elements: 7. Chuck's mad love for his blonde handler comes into play in every single episode, and now Chuck and Sarah are a couple. This actually reduces the romantic elements as most romances concentrate on the period of time BEFORE the happy couple gets happy. The romantic tension is gone.

7) Warehouse 13: I've seen all the episodes.
Spec Elements: 7. The mythical pseudo-scientific-sometimes Warehouse(s) and the search for strange artifacts drives the plot of almost every episode. The science is way soft but the show isn't hard anyway.
Romance Elements: 2. A couple of the characters have attempted to have romances. Is it a spoiler to say it hasn't worked out? Probably! But there you have it. The romance elements don't really drive plots because the characters are too busy saving the world.

8) Eureka: I've seen all the episodes.
Spec Elements: 6. Most of these are pseudo-science based, but even a liberal arts nerd like me knows not to think too hard about the science part and just go with the crazy flow. However, something goes "wrong" in pretty much every episode that then drives the plot.
Romance Elements: 7. The romance elements increased as the series remained on the air. Right now there are some happy couples and some not so happy couples.

9) Haven: I've seen all the episodes.
Spec Elements: 4. Like Eureka, something or someone goes "wrong" in every episode and then the plot happens to solve the mystery. It's paranormal instead of science based but it's even fuzzier than Eureka's science.
Romance Elements: 2. Right now, there seem to be some crushes and there was a fling and there's a character who can't "feel" anything with his skin, which has raised some interesting issues, but romance doesn't drive the plots. I could see the potential for this to increase, though, due to a recent development.

10) Vampire Diaries: I watched 2 episodes.
Spec Elements: 7. Everyone's a vampire or a witch or a werewolf or reincarnated or something! This is a big part of the show. Hence the title!
Romance Elements: 9. Two hot brothers are fighting for the same girl. This is a big part of the show. I gather there have been some other romantic subplots too.

11) True Blood: I've watched all the seasons on DVD.
Spec Elements: 8. See above. There are even gods and goddesses on the show, and you can't drive a car without running over a shifter.
Romance Elements: 8. This is a relatively soapy show with regards to relationships. Many characters are driven by their romantic urges and how those urges influence their duties. And stuff like that. Lots of drama.

12) V: I've watched all the episodes. No, it didn't get cancelled!
Spec Elements: 8. Aliens are among us, and they are not pretty without their human skins! They also have a plan. Wait, where have I heard that one before?
Romance Elements: 3. There's a romance subplot with some teenagers but since both characters involved are annoying as hell, I don't think it's much of a reason to watch the show. I guess there could be romance in future episodes but they just killed off one love interest and another is a priest, so...

13) Fringe: I watched the first couple of episodes and quit because it was too CSI-ey.
Spec Elements: I don't feel like I can rate this one because at first they were minor and I hear they have increased a great deal, what with an alternate universe type plot going on.
Romance Elements: 5. Again, based on hearsay -- although I could see the groundwork for it in the first couple episodes -- the two main characters were maybe considering hooking up.

Other shows I'm not covering because I haven't seen enough to rate them even as poorly as I did Fringe are Caprica, Dr. Who, Torchwood, The Gates, and Medium (is that still on?). Would anyone care to chime in on those shows or offer more (or contrasting) detail on the shows I did list? Did I forget anything awesome or terrible or just in existence?

Jody W. *

PS Yes I know I watch a lot of TV. Shut up.


  1. I haven't watched all of the shows you mention, just the good ones : )

    Fringe is my fave out of the bunch. There's some good stuff happening there.



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