On the surface, Paranormal Cops is a pretty self-explanatory description of the job and function of a group called the Chicago Paranormal Detectives. The CPD is comprised of "legitimate" professionals, namely current Chicago police officers and detectives. There is a mix of supernatural professionals also, like mediums and other experts familiar with things that go bump in the night. However, once you have run out of all the 'real-life Ghostbuster' headlines, pitch meetings and references, you are left with a very one-dimensional product.
The way the show operates is simple; guy calls into the CPD with a problem in a presumably spooky Chicago locale and they visit with him and spend the duration of the episode examining the location for its possible current ghosts and anything that may have occurred in the past that could set the stage for it being "haunted." The bulk of the episode shows the research, visits from a medium named Moriah, and lots of large, sweaty moonlighting law enforcement officers using night vision on slightly cool camera equipment and asking a ghost if he's a) there or if he can b) show him/them selves.
Now let me say that, for the record, I acknowledge some supernatural theories. I think that there is life beyond our solar system and that there may be some spirits around somewhere, be it in an autobody shop, home or whatever. It's that there are eight heavyset people in Midwestern accents trying to find this stuff and flush it out. It's like watching Da Super Fans in an installment of MTV's Fear, except only with more attempts to feel genuine. This just in: it also feels more annoying.
Additionally, the cast and crew of Paranormal Cops excessively tries to make you feel like there even could be the slightest trace of otherworldly creatures, even when they aren't there. A scene early in the season finds Moriah being scared at meeting one of her fellow CPD members in a darkened area. It's even stretched into a commercial tease for the next segment. But the way that the boys go about exploring these places has all the markings of any similar show that uses night vision camcorders and pretentious exploratory means to get things done.
A word on the packaging of this season for DVD. There are six episodes split over two discs at three apiece. I don't know how the Paranormal Cops could swing such a deal and other, more popular shows that A&E broadcasts don't, but I thought we were trying to conserve material and save the environment. Want to help cordon off things from what's left of the BP oil spill? Dump all the copies of Paranormal Cops into the Gulf. That way if someone who made all these things DOES take their live, overweight Cajuns looking into possible spirit presences are at least more fun than this.
Paranormal Cops is presented in full-frame video. I'll go out on a limb and say the production values put into the show were minimal, and a good portion of the action occurs at night in closed spaces, and the discs replicate the handheld and slightly gritty and dark explorations the CPD undertakes. It's rough, it's raw, but it's accurate.
Two-channel Dolby stereo for this effort. God bless the production guys, they do what they can with this limited soundtrack, and everything still happens in the front channels with occasional mirroring by the rears, but otherwise this is straightforward television audio reproduced for home use.
Additional footage (16:23), which if it didn't compel you to commit seppuku before, might push you over the edge here.
Paranormal Cops had a first season and fortunately, does not appear to be seeing a second on A&E (or anywhere else) anytime soon. It's not that the idea of cops hunting ghosts isn't a semi-hokey idea, but done with these people is amateurish and borderline painful. Go watch some of the other "quality" reality show and watch fake ghost-fighting forces before even remotely considering this.