04 Geek TVTonight, we are introduced to SyFy’s newest show, Weird or What, hosted by the famous William Shatner. The premise of the show is not new at all. If you have ever watched Mysteries, Magic, and Miracles or Unsolved Mysteries then you have seen this show. Therefore, the real challenge before SyFy and Mr. Shatner have before them is making this show stand out from its predecessors. And while we are happy to see William Shatner in something other than Priceline commercials again, we are not very hopeful as the first episode “Alien Encounters” is about as generic a subject as you can get. SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!

We start with a familiar tale when it comes to evidence of alien excounters. In Colorado a cow is mutilated and there is no blood or tracks anywhere around the area. What’s more, this is happening globally. Naturally, the cow’s must have been killed and mutilated by aliens. However, investigators were able to recreate the mutilations simply by observing the decay process and the activity of Blow Flies. One investigative journalist though believes it is a government conspiracy to cover up Mad Cow disease. We then move to the story of a man who claims to have been abducted by aliens more than a dozen times. He explains waking up and not being able to move, then a feeling of acceleration and presences around him, and finally blacking out. And, just as we expected, all of this is easily explained by a condition known as sleep paralysis. Yet there are those that reject this logical explanation and are fully convinced that extraterrestrials are taking us up on their ships and experimenting on us. What’s more, they believe some abductees are being bred with in order to interject their species into ours for the purposes of taking over. This theory didn’t come from some backwoods crazy though; it came from a professor at Temple University. Remind me to send my children elsewhere. We end the premiere episode with a truly compelling case for alien beings. It regards a signal picked up by a giant radio telescope in 1977. The signal aired for 72 seconds and nothing on Earth seemed to match. It was called the WOW signal. Skeptics say this signal could have been anything from a passing radio wave to a black hole. Yet, nothing like this has occurred before or after this signal. We can’t help but believe in this one.

Overall, this episode did not provide us with anything new. SyFy took material that has been hashed over multiple times and slapped William Shatner’s face on it. Acting as a host, Shatner has his moments of humor but does not play a huge role in the show at all aside from introducing the next segment. Weird or What does do a wonderful job at providing both sides of the story though, with believer and skeptic being represented equally. We love this style of show, but wish something new was added to it. Given all the social media out there, it would have been easy for SyFy to make the show interactive. Maybe run a chat room while the episodes run and display the comments in a sidebar. G4TV did it in Cops 2.0 and we think it would have given this show an edge. As it is, this is an old show with a new face. ½


The second episode, titled “Life After Death”, deals with exactly that. We feel it is pretty safe to assume that imaginative episode titles are off the table for this show. Considering we have released an article on this exact subject this week, we were quite interested in what would be presented through this episode. SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!

We start the episode with the story of a man whom, after making a trip to the Antietam Battlefield, had an unexplained sense of anger and and urge to visit the gift shop where he buys a magazine. When a palm reader tells him that he died in the battle in a past life, he becomes convinced that he is the reincarnation of a Confederate general that died there. We are then informed about The Scole Experiments, a séance in which purportedly proved the existence of ghosts. However, the evidence provided is shaky and easily fabricated by mundane methods. Also considering the people that ran the experiment didn’t run a control group and that the experiment has not been reproduced, it is safe to assume that it was a hoax. We are then treated to the story of a man who, eighteen years after his death, rises from the dead as a zombie. Explorer Wade Davis investigates the case and discovers a poison used by Haitian priests to create zombies. There is no proof that the man was administered the poison though other than what he said in his story. As a side note, we find it a disservice to Wade Davis that the episode makes no mention that this story led to his book, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and a subsequent movie directed by Wes Craven. To finish off the episode, we explore cryogenic preservation of the bodies in the hopes of curing diseases and conditions that we are unable to at this time. Personally, I do not see the point of cryogenic freezing as there is no cure to having your body frozen solid and there never will be.

Again, this is essentially a rerun of Unsolved Mysteries that borrows Shatner’s talent to lend it credibility. We are in hopes that SyFy is just getting obvious subjects for such a show out of the way before exploring the really weird things out there. Otherwise, we can’t help but imagine that this show will not remain on their lineup very long. ½