Dumped: Destination Truth

Posted on January 4, 2012


I don’t remember that we ever set out to watch Destination Truth. It was on after Ghost Hunters, which we watched, and occasionally SyFy (still a ridiculous branding decision) would do cross-over events, like when the host of Destination Truth, Josh Gates, would host the live broadcast of a Ghost Hunters Halloween episode. It was inevitable that we would see at least one episode.

We Watched It

Josh Gates and his team of investigators travel around the world in search of strange occurrences, mysterious beast sightings, and paranormal phenomenon.  Over the course of an hour-long episode, they introduce the viewers to the history of their subject, partake of the culture of the area they’re investigating, and then actually look for the subject of the episode. There’s lots of night-vision footage, running around, and accidents.


With just a few episodes under our belt, we stopped watching, for two reasons.

First, Josh Gates comes across as an ass. He’s sarcastic, ironic, and sardonic. On TV, he seems contemptuous of the people and cultures he encounters during his travels. His smarm rubbed us the wrong way almost immediately.

Second, his team is incompetent. They know how to work their equipment, I’ll grant you. That said, I learned while still in ROTC that in the absence of external stimuli, our senses provide their own. In other words, the mind plays tricks. I once held off someone trying to sneak through our perimeter during a training exercise, only to realize after 10 minutes that what I thought was a person was really a raccoon in a tree. Josh’s team has never learned this. They constantly hear and see things. That wouldn’t bother me if any of them, including Josh, responded rationally instead of freaking out.

After four seasons, you’d think at least one of them would have learned something.


What makes the team’s behavior even more irritating is that it’s so blatantly manipulative. Josh has been SCUBA diving since he was ten years old. He’s climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and Aconagua. As a photographer, he’s traveled to over 50 countries. He has a degree in archaeology and has particpated in sub-sea excavations off the coast of Israel. He clearly earned the right to host this show.

He certainly has the experience to know better. The only possible excuse for the silly, irrational, behavior of the team is that Josh wants them to act that way. Although reality shows deceptively refuse to credit anyone as director, Josh is one of the producers of the series. He has the authority to make changes.

Essentially, he’s refusing to play it straight. If I want to be lied to, I can just watch the news.


The other night, watching a rerun of Tosh.0, I heard Daniel Tosh, the host, joking about theater. He said that what theater needs is more CGI. If he wanted to watch real people do what was possible, he could just go outside.

I feel similarly about Destination Truth. If I wanted to watch people run around like idiots and scare themselves, I could go to any political rally in the United States.

Has any TV host ever irritated you to the point where you just stopped watching?

Posted in: television