So, two gay psychics, a lesbian witch, a transgender paranormal investigator and a skeptic walk into a haunted clown motel. This is not the setup for a bad joke; it’s the first episode of Hulu’s new paranormal docuseries “Living for the Dead.” In this creative new take on the paranormal investigation cliché, a group of LGBTQ+ ghost hunters travel across the United States seeking out the odd and unsettling and saving people from unwanted visitors from beyond the veil.
What sets this apart from the run-of-the-mill ghost shows that the public has been force-fed since the early 2000s is the show’s unique focus. Most shows like this would focus on the stories of the ghosts themselves or on the places in which hunters were investigating. However, in this show, there is an underlying theme of emotional growth as the main characters — Alexandre, Roz, Ken, Juju and Logan — often find themselves confronting their inner demons whilst fighting the spirits on location. One of the most poignant quotes comes from Roz in the first episode where she says “I sorta think that with clowns there’s sort of a queer parallel,” referring to the alignment between the misunderstanding of clowns and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The show’s inclusion of identity and the backgrounds of the hunters in ways that are usually avoided adds to its dramatic appeal and pulls viewers in, allowing them to enjoy it as more than just some spooky content to watch around Halloween. For example, the story of Ken, one of the psychics, is told midway through the first episode. In a moment of emotional turmoil, Ken talks about being kicked out of the house by his father when he came out at 15 years old. He expresses how his life would have been so much different had his family been supportive of his identity. He continues to explain that he would probably have gone to college and become a lawyer. This scene was so striking, making the viewer feel closer to the character than they initially thought they could be.
Of course, there is the gaudier side of queer television that we all love: the crazy outfits, funny quips and loveable slang. It is like “Ghost Adventures” meets “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.” The characters are all proud of who they are and dedicated to what they do, which only adds to the entertainment value.
Obviously, this show is not for everyone. Firstly, it is not scary. If you get annoyed by psychics, witchcraft or reality TV in general, steer clear. Additionally, there are some points where it feels like the actors are trying too hard, and the content grows tacky.
All in all, “Living for the Dead” was a delightful watch, and it offers something that the public has not seen in ages: original content! If you are curious about the show, you can find the complete first season on Hulu.