Paranormal: the new “normal” on TV?

I am not particularly drawn to the paranormal.
As I mentioned previously, I had a few issues after my brother tricked me into seeing

Poltergeist. And
it’s not just that I get scared. (Of course, it’s partly that I get
scared.) It’s also that it’s just not my thing most of the time. I did
watch The Twilight Zone, and I like the occasional campy heaven-and-hell–themed
movie (Two of a Kind, Oh God, Switch). And there’s The Hunger. But that’s not about the vampires.

It seems, however, that my tastes do
not reflect the current television lineup. Alessandra Stanley, the
New York Times TV reviewer who recently expressed dismay at how insecure the new Jaime Sommers is, notes that this season is paranormal-heavy.
I must say I agree with her that it is pretty weird.

She noted that a few of the paranormal shows have been
on for a least a couple of years:

The Ghost Whisperer



And then, of course, last year
introduced Heroes.

This year, however, it seems
the real explosion has happened.

There’s Moonlight, about a vampire private investigator.

And then there’s Journeyman,
about a guy who time-travels within his own lifetime to fix things from
the past.

I’ve seen one episode of this,
thus far. It’s not living up to Quantum Leap (I did that paranormal
series!) yet, but we’ll see.

I have not watced Pushing
, about a “piemaker-turned-detective who can raise the dead long enough to ask them
whodunit,” but it sounds kind of fun.

And then there’s Reaper, about a kid whose parents sold his
soul to the devil.

And, of course, Saving Grace, with Holly Hunter and a country-singing
angel named Earl.

(Irrelevant aside: I was once
mistaken for Holly Hunter’s personal assistant.)

And in production are New
on Fox (about a secretly immortal New York City police
officer. He saved a Native American girl way back in the day. Waaaaay
back.) and True Blood, an HBO vampire series featuring Anna

And that’s not a complete listing
of all the paranormality!

In the Times
article, Stanley proposes a couple of possible explanations.

“Nobody really knows where network
executives come from or where they go after being fired. Perhaps those
neatly groomed suits marching in lock step through Burbank are themselves
the undead, demons, witches and vampires who suck the blood of Nielsen
pollsters, turn viewers into zombies and howl at the Moonves. They are
taking over the planet one show at a time.”

“ … howl at the Moonves” — get it? (Oh, that made me chuckle.)

But she also noted that “[t]rends,
like zombies, tend to rise again, and certain periods have been marked
by an increased fascination with the occult.” During times of seemingly
uncontrollable chaos, people are often drawn to supernatural explanations.
(It seems there was a lot of interest in the occult after the Civil
War.) She suggests that given global warming, international terrorism
and the like, perhaps people want to be both entertained by the paranormal
and to entertain the fantasy that there are paranormal explanations
and solutions to these frighteningly human problems.

Or perhaps television executives really are
the undead.

Of course, as one who never even watched Buffy or The X-Files, I cannot come up with
a better explanation.

What do you think? Do you watch these
shows? Any idea why there are so many of them?