New Skeptologists trailer

By Phil Plait | April 22, 2008 1:00 pm

The Skeptologists has a new teaser trailer! I liked the first one, but this one is even more better.

We’re also working behind the scenes, putting together ideas and getting ready to pitch the show. But we still need your help! If you support this idea (and if you read this blog, then you do) then please let it be known! The more signatures we get, the more likely a studio executive will listen to us.

We need more critical thinking on TV, not another credulous ghost hunting show. Let’s see if we can get this one on, and maybe raise the bar a bit.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science, Skepticism

Comments (65)

  1. Quatguy

    Much, much better than the first trailer. Its more informative about the premise of the show and what the viewers should expect. My only criticism would be that, although the trailer alludes to some of the mysteries that might be explored, more explicit references could wet the viewers appetites.

  2. Rowsdower

    Way cool! I’m signing! I hope that it gets picked up; it would make a great companion to Mythbusters.

  3. Wayne

    I had no idea this transcription thing would take so long (I estimate about 12 hours to finish), but it’s cool to see some of the footage I’m working on in the trailer. This is going to be a great show, like Mythbusters meet Ghost Hunters or something.

  4. Gareth

    Hope this gets picked up in the UK too! We get more than our fair share of pseudoscientific and religious programming over here and not enough rational programmes!

  5. Jim Shaver

    Yes, this trailer is much better than the first one! It’s perhaps even more significant to me than to the average viewer, because I can put many of those scenes into context, since I’ve been helping to transcribe the raw video footage. But sorry folks, you’ll just have to wait; I signed a nondisclosure agreement. :)

  6. Yau-Man? I’m totally watching it.

  7. Hoonser

    I’d definitely watch it now.

  8. Awesome……..AWESOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMME!

  9. Colin J

    Woohoo! That’s a better taste! I like BA’s comment about reality, that nails it for me. To reality and beyond…..! If you can get beyond, of course that would just be more reality.

  10. Thomas

    Oh man.. it actually looks like something you see on TV!
    Great work guys!

  11. Mike

    Let’s hope the next one is even betterer.

  12. Great trailer! I’m interested. Hope it gets produced and I can get it on a channel up here in Canada.

    One constructive criticism? Better title graphic. I understand the whole Indiana Jones thing, but it feels (along with the orange/yellow colour scheme of the site)… kind of kiddish. Something more sleek???

    Otherwise though, it looks like it’s really shaping up and it looks like they’re trying to include some “positive skepticism” in it as well. You know, “aliens haven’t contacted us, but do you know about all the other cool s**t” that’s up there?!?”.

    Keep up the good work!

  13. LawnBoy

    I’m sure this has been discussed before, but how is the premise of this show significantly different from MythBusters? Wouldn’t this be seen in the market (and by show purchasers) as a knock-off?

  14. Oh man. That was delicious.

    First the LHC and now a new and better trailer…this has been a great BAday!

  15. J Jones

    Imagine that. Be skeptical of the skeptologist.

    Now why would we do that when we can post a link to some Web site where they’ve given their opinion on a subject and pass it off as “proof”. ..or worse…our own opinion!

    Hope that doesn’t need sarcasm tags.

  16. Maltodextrin

    @ Lawnboy
    Mythbusters focuses on urban legends, tall tales, and the like. Things that sound plausible (or sometimes implausible) but claim to have really happened. What they test, for the most part, is grounded in reality (ie, can a ninja catch a bullet, or can an unmodified human voice break a glass). It seems the Skeptologists will be taking on things that are far less grounded in reality, ghost stories, bigfoot sightings, UFOs, seances, etc. Basically doing the things they do on monster quest, UFO Hunters, Ghost Hunters, etc, except not being complete morons about it, and applying scientific principals to the reported phenomena at the various locations.

  17. LawnBoy

    Thanks. That makes a lot of sense.

  18. Quiet_Desperation

    I’d like to see a political version of this show, where all the myths and lies and fantasy that makes people vote the way they do are dismantled and debunked. It could look at both current events and historical political idiocies.

    The problem is that you’d need to find a team of people who are not totally wrapped around one ideological axle or another, and that might be impossible these days.

  19. sandswipe

    Dangit Phil, I’m trying to watch less TV this year and here you are with a 10x better trailer showing off what might be an amazing new show.

  20. Kol

    My uncle would be proud.

    Oh wait. He’s still alive. I’ll call him…

  21. Celtic_Evolution

    Yes. Want. Signed.

  22. Irishman

    LawnBoy said:
    > I’m sure this has been discussed before, but how is the premise of this show significantly different from MythBusters? Wouldn’t this be seen in the market (and by show purchasers) as a knock-off?

    And that would be bad how? Half of TV programming is knock-off’s. Heck, half is probably conservative. Original shows are a lot harder to sell, because you have to sell the premise as marketable, whereas for knockoffs you can point to an existing fan base— I mean, market.

    This show can be marketed to draw upon both the Mythbusters lovers and the paranormal/Ghost Hunters lovers. It’s a win/win!

  23. stopgap

    It’s good to see that Leslie Nielsen still has a career in showbiz.

  24. Greyfire

    God thats corny. I mean not that your wrong or anything but I almost expect someone to react thought the screen and start shaking me Yelling “Question everything!1!!1!!”

    my two copper

  25. I like it! I hope it gets bought!

  26. dhawk

    Freakin’ awesome. Can’t wait.

  27. Derek

    I am literally drooling at the mouth.

  28. Ryan

    Sweet….. I really really want to see that. Check that. I really really really really want to see that.

  29. stopgap

    How about on each episode there is a one minute clip that explores a logical fallacy?

  30. Derek

    @ Ryan -

    Me drooling at the mouth? O_o

    ….

    Oooooh…

  31. I was kinda waiting for a scene of all of you screaming and fleeing for your lives. But from what? We’ll have to work on that.

  32. patrick

    awesome trailer. Email sent.

  33. Awesome!! it’s the skeptics’ Justice League!!

  34. Mus

    Oh man. Steven Novella, Yau-man, and Phil Plait in a tv show? Pinch me, I think I’m dreaming!

  35. Nemo

    @LawnBoy

    “Smash Lab” is a rip-off of the Mythbusters, but that didn’t stop it airing — on the same channel, even. Of course, the Skeptologists probably won’t be blowing anything up, so I guess that counts against them. :-/

    A few times on Mythbusters, they’ve said that they don’t want to do “woo” myths, which looks like exactly what Skeptologists will address.

    I like the trailer, except for the bits where they’re walking in a line, sped up (cheesy). Also, I think the music is too loud vs. the dialog.

  36. David

    I sincerely hope this show gets picked up. That being said, I’m dubious about including the bit about how people could die. As a regular consumer of skeptically oriented media, I know what you’re getting at. The average person is going to hear that and think it’s a silly exaggeration, and realistically it is an exaggeration in more circumstances than not.

  37. I am a skeptic.
    It would lift my spirits for the entire human race to see this show on T.V.
    Seeing this become as highly watched as mythbusters would renew my faith in humanity.

    However…
    As a writer and a critic. I must confess… this show is lacking so far.
    You have got to play the game. You have to get ratings.
    You can not make it seem like a bunch of intellectuals sitting around talking about science. (yes,yes, I know that is what it is)
    Look at what works in T.V. this is not it…. it may get a short term run, but ratings will be low, and the show will be short lived.

    I have idea’s for the show.
    The audience wants to be emotionally drawn in.
    Make it seem like this show is a matter of life or death and conclusions reached by the skeptics is of the ultimate authority.

    As a writer, I have millions of ideas for the show…

    http://www.myspace.com/pointmanzero

  38. I am a skeptic.
    It would lift my spirits for the entire human race to see this show on T.V.
    Seeing this become as highly watched as mythbusters would renew my faith in humanity.

    However…
    As a writer and a critic. I must confess… this show is lacking so far.
    You have got to play the game. You have to get ratings.
    You can not make it seem like a bunch of intellectuals sitting around talking about science. (yes,yes, I know that is what it is)
    Look at what works in T.V. this is not it…. it may get a short term run, but ratings will be low, and the show will be short lived.

    I have idea’s for the show.
    The audience wants to be emotionally drawn in.
    Make it seem like this show is a matter of life or death and conclusions reached by the skeptics is of the ultimate authority.

    As a writer, I have millions of ideas for the show…

  39. Nemo

    I disagree… I thought that was the best part.

  40. Rahne

    YES

    YES YES YES

    MORE YES

  41. Great trailer man. I really hope the show gets picked up.

  42. Tom

    Ah yeah, that’s much better!

  43. Grand Lunar

    Very cool!

    Indeed, at Yahoo News, I saw something that shows a good reason for the Skeptologists.

    There was an article for Stephen Hawking, talking about how likely primitive life would rise elsewhere.

    Below the link to the story, was one that offered to look for photos of UFOs.

    Ugh. People never learn, do they?

    Nice location shot with the QM, by the way.

  44. Todd W.

    Much better trailer than the first. It gives a clearer presentation of what the show is going to look at. It even has a little bit of a spin to it that might intrigue the hyper-skeptics…you know, the ones who are skeptical of science and skeptics and cast doubt on everything. That means a larger draw of viewers, potentially, and might lead to people actually changing their views! Let’s hear it for no just preaching to the choir, so to speak.

  45. KC

    BA:

    Oh. My.

    This trailer is better *but* it stresses some old problems. One, the focus on the show is clearly on the cast more than the phenomena. Second, it exudes an arrogance that strongly confirms that this is a show about discrediting, not debunking or honest inquiry. Of the members of the cast, only Yau-Man Chan and Dr. Stephen Novella came across as open and watchable. I didn’t recognize the one near the end, but while he came across as OK, for some reason (maybe body language?) he came across as more of a lightweight that Yau-Man or Novella. Yes, I know that’s terribly unfair, and he might be one of the brightest persons on the team. Yet that’s the impression from the trailer.

    The worst is Brian Dunning’s bit at the very last. It almost sounds like he’s been through umpteen takes and now he’s spoofing his own spot – such things do happen.

    Body language, as well as what’s said, has a big role. What Dr. Michael Shermer said is OK. Something about his body language – but there might be prejudice on my part as well: His column in SA never impressed me that much and was one reason I dropped the magazine.

    BA, I have to say it, and I can’t think of any delicate way to put this, but I wasn’t impressed by either you or Dr. Kristen Stanford. With Dr. Stanford it was her body language and attitude. With you, well, I’m afraid you came off as having a zeal that leans strongly toward discrediting rather than honest inquiry. And I have to strongly disagree with something you said. Your job is not to convince people your way of thinking is right, it’s honest inquiry. It will save a lot of disappointment as well. Remember the old adage about leading a horse to water.

    Invest some money in an advertising team. If you already have, asked for a refund and get another. From this last trailer, I’m afraid that I wouldn’t watch this show at all.

  46. Richard Krehbiel

    “What makes this different from MythBusters?”

    Remember when MythBusters did “pyramid power?” Adam specifically asked that they never do any “oogie-boogie” myths again.

    Skeptologists specifically addresses the oogie-boogie – the paranormal, the supernatural, the “woo”; the territory MythBusters has now chosen to leave untouched.

    (And I hope you guys are ready with the lawyers. Debunk psychics, and the psychics sue; Debunk hopeopathy, and the homeopaths sue; debunk chiropractors, etc… These people will try to protect their livelihood. Too bad, I say; do something honest instead.)

  47. Freelancer

    Dr. Phil,

    THANK YOU for the Idiocracy reference. I’m glad someone (else) sees at least a little bit of humor in a vision of our society that has lost all its reasoning faculties. The show looks awe-some, and I wish it success, I just felt it necessary to comment since no one else above me seemed to have wrangled that esoteric gem of satire from your post.

    Again, Thanks a million

    Nick

  48. KC

    Richard Krehbiel:

    The trouble is there’s a difference between discrediting and debunking. Psychic phenomena is probably the hardest, because while it’s possible to debunk an individual psychic, it’s nigh impossible to rule out that such phenomena doesn’t exist. Homeopathic remedies are easier in that they have advanced a theory which can be evaluated. Chiropractors aren’t as clear cut as some think in that spinal manipulation does work for back pain in some cases. Some schools for chiropractors put forth strange theories, which again give something to evaluate.

    However, we should not make the mistake of dismissing something because we show to theory to be invalid. The use of antiseptics started because a doctor had a theory that disease was transmitted by odor, a the solution he chose happened to be an antiseptic. The two important things is does it work, and if, so, why?

    Let’s take a certain homeopathic product with an annoying commercial as an example. Whether or not the theory behind it is bunk doesn’t mean that it might not work. If it does, then why? Is it some ingredient added as an “inert” filler? Some physical action? The placebo effect?

    There’s more to honest inquiry than simply dismissing a theory. Sometimes the entire thing turns out to be bunk. But sometimes it can lead to very interesting places.

  49. I am really looking forward to this show. Something to counter the woo crap people buy into these days is so desperately needed. I will also pimp The Skeptologists show heavily on my blog The Thinker.

  50. Shoeshine Boy

    As I said after the first trailer, the premise looks promising. I hope the execution is done well enough to be entertaining as well as informative. I think the biggest danger is that you guys will come across as smug academics.

    BTW: I am tired of “investigative” programs that drag you on for an hour only to arrive at no conclusion and say that more investigation is needed.

    Good luck Phil & Co.

    PS: I still don’t like the title, but don’t have a better suggestion right now.

  51. Philip B.

    Well, I probably qualify as a semi-skeptic. I realize the majority of Woo-Woo is total BS, but I ‘want to believe’ in some things. Mainly that a handful of UFO sightings might actually be something mysterious, or that a lot of Cryptozoological creatures might actually exist. Not that I’d bet my life savings on them of course.

    I certainly don’t believe in psychic powers, think the Space Brotherhood will come to save us, or worry about 2012. Nor have I ever watched an episode of Ghost Hunters.

    Just wonderign if I’ll be able to watch without feeling like a moron.

  52. Nemo

    @Zero

    As a writer, you should know better than to use apostrophes to pluralize (“idea’s”).

    BTW, Zero’s comments weren’t there when I posted my last comment, which was a response to David’s.

  53. Greg

    Nice idea.

    But…

    It will never work if you don’t blow stuff up!

  54. Awesome trailer (but cheesy logo, I hope it’s not the final one). But anyway, the trailer worked for me, count me as a viewer.

  55. Derek

    I don’t agree. Blowing stuff up is nice, but is neither a perequisite nor actual content itself.

    Look at Smash Lab. They blow lots of stuff up, but the show itself is terrible.

  56. Will

    @Zero and a few others

    I’m sorry, but I for one would like ONE show that doesn’t talk to me like I’m 12 years old, and doesn’t make every stupid thing “LIFE OR DEATH!” or say “Could milk actually be KILLING your CHILDREN!!? Tune in at 10 for the story that MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE !! 1 !”

    Phil, I love that you’re doing this show, and PLEASE don’t cave to pressure to ‘dumb it down’ for what we Americans supposedly “want” in a TV show.

    (Although I also find the title and font/logo cheesy, I would watch every episode with the attentiveness I reserve only for Penn&Teller’s [TV show] and Ingmar Bergman movies)

    Good work and good luck!

  57. The Dread Polack

    Wow, I’m pretty excited now. I really hope it gets picked up. The trailer was a little cheesy, but hey- that’s TV. :)

  58. fos

    I can’t wait! It should be one of the best shows on TV! (One of the few worth watching!)

    fos

  59. mapuser

    We already have “The UFO Hunters”. Aren’t they enough? (sigh)

  60. I don’t what to put words in Phil’s mouth, but I think the reference to people dying probably has something to do with people deciding not to get their children vaccinated because they fear a vaccination/autism connection. Kids can and will and die because of this.

  61. Nemo

    Or relying on “alternative” medical treatment, or the power of prayer, in place of the real thing. Or etc., etc…

  62. http://www.whatstheharm.net – a comprehensive list of people that have been hurt or killed by psudeoscience.

    Love the trailer. Absolutely love it.

  63. themadlolscientist

    Smash Lab. PFTHTHTHFFFBBBBTHTHLBTHT.

    The thing that got me off on the wrong foot from the very beginning was the woman scientist’s big clunky jewelry and loose hair hanging around just waiting to get caught in something. BOGUUUUUUS! It reminded me of the couple of years I spent as a teaching assistant for an undergrad lab course. I was constantly getting after my long-haired students to GET THAT HAIR OUT OF THE WAY! ARE YOU NUTS? DO YOU WANT IT TO CATCH FIRE? DO YOU WANT A BUNCH OF IT, NOT TO MENTION A PIECE OF YOUR SCALP, RIPPED OUT? Immediate turnoff.

    I think I watched a total of 3 episodes after that. Between the ongoing hair problem, the questionable design and execution of the tests, and the noncohesiveness of the show itself….. well….. :-P

  64. Irishman

    Okay, watched the new promo. It certainly is better than the first one. The bottle with the block on it was a complete mystery what was trying to be demonstrated, and the “Do you believe?” question and rebuttal was a non-sequitor.

    This promo did a better job of showing something about the content, and the motivations and interests of the people involved.

    However, I still don’t like the name. Why not call yourselves, the Skeptonomists? Skepterologists? Skeptinators? Skepticists?

    I think any of the following would be better names:
    The Skeptic Squad
    De-mystifiers
    Rational Review

    And I’m pretty bad at creative names.

    Actually, 3 names I like but are already taken:
    Exploring the Unknown
    Is It Real?
    The Real World

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