TODAY’S FORGOTTEN TELEVISION TREASURE – PSI FACTOR: CHRONICLES OF THE PARANORMAL (1996-2000)

 PSI Factor depicted a series of investigations into the paranormal conducted by the fictional Office of Scientific Investigation and Research, or OSIR. This Canadian-made series was often unfairly dismissed as “X-Files Light”, but that in no way does justice to a very  entertaining  program. The members of the OSIR’s  various field teams went about their business in a much more convincing mock-scientific way than conspiracy  kook Fox  Mulder ever did, and that helped the audience suspend their disbelief. Each episode featured menaces either scientific or supernatural in very inventive ways that made the stories feel fresh even though the type of material presented was well-worn thanks to all the similar programs from previous decades. The first season featured two separate stories per episode, each one filling a half-hour time slot with commercials.

That inaugural season also featured a much more subdued and clinical approach, presaging the now-familiar “faux documentary” style of the countless paranormal research shows littered throughout the cable landscape. Beginning with Season Two, Matt “Max Headroom” Frewer came on board as the new lead and for the rest of the show’s run episodes featured just one full- length story plus there was more emphasis on inter-departmental  conflicts and conspiracies being run by higher authorities.

PSI Factor did a better job than The X-Files of preventing the subplots from continuing just for the sake of continuing. Everything was much more tightly plotted, less meandering and much less repetitious than on the Fox Mulder soap opera, right on down to the unexpected twist in the series finale. Yes, this show had a REAL series finale, unlike The X-Files, which ended in lame anticlimax just so the greedy producers could try to continue beating the same dead horse of a story arc in feature films.

Added fun on PSI Factor was Dan Aykroyd opening and closing each episode with narration pushing the  notion that viewers were witnessing stories from “the actual case files of the Office of Scientific Investigation and Research.”         

Want to read about more Forgotten TV Treasures? Click here: https://glitternight.com/category/forgotten-television/

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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14 Comments

Filed under Forgotten Television

14 responses to “TODAY’S FORGOTTEN TELEVISION TREASURE – PSI FACTOR: CHRONICLES OF THE PARANORMAL (1996-2000)

  1. Interesting. Where do you find this stuff?

  2. I used to watch this show. My sister Rosemary got me into it and it really grew on me. I was sorry to see it come to an end.

    I just have a nose for the odd, out of the way, forgotten cultural gems I guess!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Great! if you liked the X-Files you might also like Doomwatch, another forgotten television treasure I’ve covered.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I, too, was a great X-Files fan. I love anything that has to do with the paranormal (apart from horror stuff), so I’m sure I’d like this. It sounds remotely familiar, but somehow I missed it. Do you know if it’s available on DVD?

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  6. Wonderful news. I’ve watched every episode of X-Files a hundred times. Now I can move on to this show.

  7. tika

    I love Psi Factor since I was in Junior High School. Actually, it’s great show and I like the idea about season 1, there’s a concept in one episode, two stories. I don’t know why it didn’t continued in season 2, 3, and 4. I feel upset when Connor Doyle was no longer as main role of this show, because in season finale of season 1, he was infected by deadly virus and was presumed dead but his remains was never found. It looked like giving the expectation that could be a chance, Connor would be back. I feel so excited when Paul Miller was back playing a role with same character in Regeneration (S4E18), but, I feel disappointed too, unexpectedly, he played as a hybrid clone of Connor, not real Connor. I hate so much about the expectation like that and then it ended so bad, not good at all. Or maybe it was already designed like that. I don’t know. It’s not what I expect. Please, don’t give the expectation if you can’t fullfil it. I love this show so much and I hope some kind of reboot about this show. To be honest, I feel something missing without Connor Doyle in this show. And I love Connor’s character, he’s a great leader, always listening his team’s opinions. Paul Miller did great job playing this role. He’s definitely a great actor. I love Psi Factor and Paul Miller (played as Connor Doyle). Miss this show. ❤

    • Thanks for the long and passionate comment! I agree the show didn’t live up to its early promise, a problem a lot of shows like this suffer from it seems.

  8. Irene

    I just loved this show….I thought it was about things that really happened in the world

    • I know how you feel. They really played it straight, even with the Dan Aykroyd stuff. In real life he was known to be into this kind of thing so it seemed plausible that he might do the intro and closing bits for a program like this.

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