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Televisionist, Sept. 20-26

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A HAUNTING: ARKANSAS

1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21

The Discovery Channel

(Comcast Ch. 53)

We've noticed in the past few years that there has been something of an explosion in the number of paranormal investigation groups — those bands of hearty souls who venture into purportedly haunted buildings by moonlight to try and capture evidence of what goes bump in the night. An outgrowth of this phenomenon (or maybe it's the other way around) has been a corresponding explosion in the number of paranormal-themed reality shows, which offer couch potatoes spooky thrills without all the rotten floorboards, spiders, rats and asbestos exposure. In this new episode of “A Haunting” — the Discovery Channel's entry into the ghostly genre — the show presents an investigation conducted by the Little Rock-based group Spirit Seekers. Through interviews and recreations, the show gives details of a haunting of a house in Lamar, Arkansas, and the lengths these homegrown ghostbusters went to end a family's nights of terror.

HOTEL BABYLON

8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26

BBC America (Comcast Ch. 114)

Though the British can't cook, fight off rebellious colonists, or take care of their teeth worth a damn, there is one thing they're getting exceptionally good at these days: making fascinating television. The writer has become something of a BBC America junkie of late, hooked on spooky fare like “Jekyll,” and “Torchwood” and automobiliac's wet dream “Top Gear.” Our head-and-shoulders favorite, however, is “Hotel Babylon.” Detailing the sexy, scandalous and sinful goings-on at a London five-star hotel as seen through the eyes of its staff, it's one of the best things on television. Though the workability of “Babylon” is definitely helped by all those oh-so-chic British accents, it's the show's fine cast of characters, great writing and cheeky sense of style that keep it from becoming a landlocked “Love Boat” week to week. If you're lucky enough to have BBC America in your cable or dish lineup, be sure to check this one out.

 

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