Fandom secret: I actually really like a lot of Buzzfeed’s content.
I know it’s the cool thing these days to shit on everything that happens to carry the name “Buzzfeed” on it, and yeah, some of their videos and articles take a full dive into “what the actual fuck”, but if you think there’s not a single interesting thing on there, then I have to believe you’re full of shit. For me, the prime time for watching Buzzfeed videos is the same sort of time period where one may be drawn into watching things from the creepier and weirder side of YouTube–some nebulous time at night where there may be something better to do, but who knows what that is. Thankfully Buzzfeed has a series that covers both of those categories; one that I hope continues to flourish.
In the recent year, Buzzfeed: Unsolved has garnered a huge audience, and why wouldn’t it? They found a formula to success that will only continue growing so long as the hosts are able to, you know, not die from a demon or something. In the Supernatural branch of Unsolved, hosts Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej look into various, mostly American tales of the paranormal, discussing how these tales could possibly actually be paranormal, and the veracity of the evidence surrounding them. If possible, the two even travel to the locations mentioned to check it out for themselves.
What makes people come back for more is the banter between Ryan and Shane, especially in concerns to their beliefs. Ryan has no doubt that supernatural entities exist (given his own paranormal experiences) and is more willing to believe that truth may in fact be stranger than fiction. On the other hand, Shane would probably remain a skeptic even if a ghost came up and punched him in the face. The balance between these two stops the show from becoming either the smuggest “I can’t believe you actually believe in this stuff” show ever or a Ghost Adventures clone where everyone jumps at everything, and a thing falling over is automatically a ghost. Even if I desperately want Shane to admit that something could actually be paranormal–ghosts are a thing, Shane–his calm demeanor adds an important counterpoint to the show, and allows Ryan to chill the fuck out after literally anything happens.
While I wouldn’t say it’s a problem per se, one thing I’d like to see from Unsolved: Supernatural in the future is them visiting and talking to people of different cultures about their own supernatural beliefs. I have a feeling that the main thing holding them back from doing so thus far–outside of time–is the lack of funds they have allotted for their show. Buzzfeed’s Worth It (another popular show that I recommend) just began filming overseas, and with the Unsolved oeuvre becoming exponentially more popular, I can imagine this series going the same way. At least I hope so. If not overseas, I hope they dig further into the various paranormal stories from the various cultures within the US and from the countries nearby. Another episode in Mexico would be pretty cool. (And getting an actual Haitian or Black practitioner to discuss more about Vodou would be nice.)
Season 3 of Unsolved: Supernatural debuted last week on the 13th, and new episodes come out every Friday until the season ends (probably around 10 episodes). If you’re looking for your spooky fix with a series that’s ultimately not all that terrifying, make sure to check it out on Buzzfeed Blue (and catch up with seasons 1 and 2)! My personal favorite episodes are when they visited Salem, Massachusetts, and their Illuminati primer.