Flooded with calls from all sorts of ‘paranormal’ occurrences, the crew at Paranormal Solutions Inc. have decided to broaden their horizons. Starting fresh with a new slogan that says, ‘We believe in EVERYTHING!’, a team of six semi-successful ghost hunters decide to increase business by informing the public that their willing to help with any supernatural problem they may have. (Literally, any problem.) As they step into a larger world, their own skepticism gives way in the face of every conceivable being, from demons to leprachauns.
From the mind of Nicholas Carella and David Milchard, Paranormal Solutions Inc. (PSI) is a ridiculous and fun spoof on a number of popular genres, ranging from alien abduction stories to The Exorcist. By keeping things open to ‘everything’, Carella and Milchard have limitless possibilities in front of them without being bound by any particular ‘rules’ of their world and they make good use of the opportunity. More silly than scary, PSI has some genuine pop in its comedy and even uses their bizarre circumstances to attempt to explore larger cultural conversations. (For instance, the fifth episode explores the topic of political correctness through its attempt to properly support and celebrate a ghost in a wheelchair.)
While the special effects are mostly credible, the real reason that the indie series works is due to its cast. Vibing with the energy of an improv comedy troupe, the relationships between cast members is visible onscreen. In many ways, PSI operates in the same manner as a work-place comedy but with heightened circumstances. (To my knowledge, there haven’t been too many werewolf attacks on Brooklyn 99…) Though set in a world of paranormal madness, conversations between characters instead seem to focus on relationships and everyday occurrences. In doing so, this sense of normalcy actually adds to the absurdity of the moment and translates into some genuinely funny banter between characters.
In many ways, what’s most interesting about the series though is the way that it tackles the subject of belief. As the series begins, Jared acknowledges the fact that their small business needs to ‘rebrand’ in order to boost business. Instead of simply focusing on ghosts, they will now say that they believe in ‘everything’. When he’s pushed further on the ethics of taking advantage of people who believe in things that don’t exist, he simply responds that, “I’m willing to believe in anything as long as someone’s paying me to.” By focusing on the financial benefits of broadening their horizons, Jared shows that he and his team care little about whether or not these things are real and more about whether or not they can pay their bills.
But things start to change when they finally start to encounter them.
From the moment they first lay eyes on a werewolf, the crew at PSI are changed forever. Their skepticism is rocked by the reality of more… well… everything. Demons. Zombies. Sasquatch. (Even more leprechauns!) All of a sudden, they begin to realize that their limited worldview needs to be expanded because there are forces outside their understanding that they simply couldn’t believe. (Though, admittedly, financial gain still remains the primary motivator…) While the series clearly has no specific ambitions regarding the topic of belief, there’s a charming sense of hopefulness embedded within it as post-modern skepticism gives way to a broader openness towards the unknown.
Free from any particular boundaries, Carella and Milchard have an opportunity on their hands. By kicking open the doors of what qualifies as ‘paranormal’, Paranormal Solutions, Inc. has a potentially long runway ahead as a series, should they decide to do so. Though the series may not have the polish of a network show, the goofy and irreverent romp makes you care about its characters and, most importantly, the show is genuinely funny.
And that’s something worth believing.
The first six episodes of Paranormal Solutions Inc. are now available on YouTube with the final two episodes to air on Friday, February 26th, 2021.