On my life, I never thought I would say this, but – hold on while I muster the strength – Well done, Zak.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I was not a fan of Zak Bagans. Call it personal style. Mostly, I didn’t appreciate a host who talked at the audience as if we needed educating.
I recorded The Travel Channel’s Nether World on my DVR based solely on the title. I had no idea it was a Zak Bagans project until I watched it. This has to be said – I was impressed with his maturity. It appears Zak has outgrown his baggie Goth pants and stepped into a pair worn by a seasoned documentarian. He appeared well prepared, didn’t require constant bleeping, and allowed the audience to follow him without feeling the need to talk to the camera every step of the way. His voiceover narration has gone from sounding like he’s talking to a group of third graders, to the noninvasive flow of a journalist.
In his regular series Ghost Adventures he often played the part of bad-ass. But this time, I have to say, he didn’t have to pretend. Cameras followed him down into the Catacombs beneath Paris were the bones of millions lie. The stone maze is one giant crypt for which there is no map. People have gone into these tunnels to explore and never come out. The camera of one such explorer was found, but the owner was not. The footage on it showed the outer edge of his final moment. So when Zak met a woman who reached out to a sub-culture of cataphiles (people who frequent the catacombs illegally), and summoned two people she’d never met to guide them, the apprehension on his face was real. And so was his boldness to trust all of these strangers not to lead him into the maze and leave him. (I would not have trusted the living enough to let myself be led for several hours into such a massive tomb.)
This made all the difference for me. For the first time that I’ve seen, Zak allowed himself to be filmed as he was in the moment and not as the persona he usually plays for the camera. He let the audience be a fly on his shoulder experiencing it with him with little commentary. He walked the walk, talked like a pro, and had reverence for the dead and their resting place. If he continues to do this, I’ll be there. No matter what I think of his hair.