Review | Portals To Hell
Paranormal investigators, Jack Osbourne and Katrina Weidman, head to the Alaskan Hotel in Juneau, AK to see if a portal has opened. Get Ghostly Activities’ review after the jump.
In the series premiere, Jack and Katrina head to Juneau, AK to investigate the Alaskan Hotel. They think a ghostly portal may have opened in the basement.
Portals are the show’s concept. These openings allow all sorts of entities to enter our world. Sometimes, it leads to violent interactions. We don’t fully understand why portals open, but it may have something to do with ley lines or magic.
There isn’t much information about the show online. Most press releases just state the premiere date, cast and investigation locations. The production studio, Critical Content, has worked with Jack on a few of his reality TV shows. Critical Content spun out of Relativity Media after its bankruptcy in 2016. It focuses on TV production.
Jack had a paranormal-themed show, Haunted Highway, on SyFy about 7 years ago. You probably know him more for his famous family and as Ozzy Osbourne’s son. He hasn’t worked on much paranormal TV since his SyFy series, but he slips right back into investigator mode with ease. Jack is listed as an executive producer for Portals To Hell.
Katrina‘s a well-known commodity in the paranormal world. She starred most recently on Paranormal Lockdown, and she also starred on Paranormal State. She’s got cred.
Episode Structure & Key Hauntings
It’s pretty standard stuff for a ghost hunting show:
- Investigators do a summary of witness reports
- They interview witnesses at the haunt
- Experiments get set up
- Evidence gets collected
- Investigators share results (i.e., the reveal)
Portals To Hell spent more time interviewing the manager (Joshua Adams) and the owner (Bettye Adams) than you’d see on other shows. We get the scoop about Alice, whose boyfriend killed her. She haunts room 219. Alice’s boyfriend then hung himself from room 315. It’s known for strange poltergeist activity and just some general craziness from hotel guests.
Next up, Charley, a ghost in the basement, that targets pretty girls. And then there’s demonic entities down there, too. In a bit of twist, Joshua says Latin protective incantations while Jack and Katrina watch. Joshua describes some shadows that had horns and watched him. AND, of course, there’s been demonic possessions in the building! It’s revealed that Joshua likes to conjure entities from middle realms. People have used diabolical, dark magic in room 315 and a few other spots.
There’s some idle chit chat about other ghosts (specifically in room 203) and Jack does some research into room 315.
Jack and Katrina abruptly shift to talk about a portal due to ley lines in Juneau.
And the ghost hunt begins.
Gadgets & Experiments
They don’t use any special gear. At least, nothing you haven’t seen before. Jack always has a Mel 8704-R-REM-ATDD in hand. Katrina always has a Panasonic 4K camcorder glued to hers.
The crew sets up some full-spectrum cameras in bedrooms; infra-red cameras in the basement; a REM pod gets placed; and Katrina uses an ITC to commune with Alice. It seems like the producer had to point out some audio hits to Katrina.
The gear acts a bit crazy, but Jack and Katrina have more personal experiences than anything. And the crew has some personal experiences, too. During the reveal, Joshua admits to a crazy ex-girlfriend whose family practices black magic.
Did any evidence convince me they found a portal? No, it didn’t.
Side note: It looked like Ghost Stop and Panasonic sponsored the episode. You got some clear shots on their gear.
Ghostly Activities’ Take
This is a seasoned investigative team, both for paranormal research AND reality TV. Even the producers have paranormal TV creds. I’m not going to pull any punches here.
I like the show and I’ll watch next week. I think a big flaw is that Jack and Katrina spent too much time apart. As the stars, we want to see their interactions during a ghost hunt, and not reviewing 2nd-party evidence in bedroom. Some people may say you don’t separate during an investigation, but Jack and Katrina had a crew member with them. They weren’t alone per se.
The producers and camera folks need to stay out of the way as much as possible. I get that it worked with Rob Saffi on Paranormal Lockdown, but he left for long periods of time during investigations. Also, he was just one person: Portals To Hell seems to have 2 camera operators; the investigators have camcorders; and, so does the producer. You’ve got 5 cameras going all the time. Surely, you can edit out the intrusions.
Some people may think it’s more authentic, but it doesn’t seem that way when the crew is pointing out evidence, like when Katrina ran the ITC session to communicate with Alice.
As for Jack and Katrina, it’s nice to see investigators that know how to run an investigation. They’re polished and comfortable on camera. As they should be. Both have been on reality TV long enough. Jack practically grew up on reality TV as a member of The Osbournes. I’ve got no problems with them as leads.
But, I could smell the contrived setting at the hotel from Seattle. Really, there just happens to be a manager that knows how to recite Latin incantations and conjures demons?! It all seemed like a set-up for the viewer. Not authentic whatsoever.
In summary, I like the investigative team. I’ll watch the show, but it doesn’t offer anything new in paranormal reality TV. It’s the same format as other programs. The show also continues the trend that all hauntings are demonic or violent. It seems like the portal theme just gets slapped on a ghost hunting show.
Portals To Hell airs on Travel Channel every Friday at 10 PM ET.
Image sources: I got everything from Travel Channel media materials. Portals To Hell is produced by Critical Content. All image material © 2019 Critical Content and Travel Channel.
26 thoughts on “Review | Portals To Hell”
Hi gang. I watched the 2nd episode. It was already available on-demand. Jack and Katrina spent a lot more time together. The crew was also involved quite a bit. I thought this was the better episode vs. the Alaskan Hotel. None of the evidence was that compelling, though.
For example, on the stage, Katrina heard some swearing and comments like “are you lost” and “get out.” I didn’t hear anything close to it. Jack also felt drained for much of the episode. In all, there was a lot of personal experiences for the cast and crew. Katrina looked fine, even though the spirits tend to like women more than men.
This episode focused much more on portals, especially in the basement. Katrina & Jack used provocation with the spirit, Charlie, in the basement to get evidence. Jack used holy water to antagonize it and get responses. Provocation’s a no-no for most paranormal teams. This made good TV for viewers (I was glued to the screen I tell ya), but more serious teams will cringe at part of the show.
I liked the show. I felt it was a bit fake, and I wondered if the producer is getting her experience for her own show. I am happy Jack and Katrina are a team. I’m looking forward to their bonding. Katrina handles herself very well. It was nice to see her. I’m a big fan of Jack. I haven’t seen his Highway show. But would like to. They get an A for entertainment. A B for quality. The producer gets a C for being in the show. I hope they don’t try to live up to the name. I want ghost hunting. Not demon stirring. How did someone see episode 2 already? The Travel Channel should treat these paranormal shows with respect. They are bringing the viewers!
Hi Mo, thanks for commenting. The second episode for Twin Cities was available with Comcast. You could check with your cable provider to see if they have it on demand.
Just watched the first show, waited anxiously for it to come on! I’m a bit disappointed as I’m a huge fan of Katrina (watched her on paranormal lockdown) and loved Jacks old show Haunted highway a lot! This investigation seemed unorganized. Too much setting up during filming and moving around. Viewers want to see the heart of the show not all that leads up to it. I’ll give it a chance of course since it’s new, but I hope they do something more authentic and not what every other paranormal show is doing. With only an one hour show, less once you cut the commercials, there no time to watch them turning on equipment etc. just my opinion of course.
Hi gang. I found the ratings for the 1st episode of Portals To Hell. It had 639,000 tune in for the premiere. That’s about 30th on the list of cable shows that night. It’s a decent number, but I thought it would be closer to Kindred Spirits, which has about 800,000 people watch it.
Here’s the source: http://www.showbuzzdaily.com/articles/showbuzzdailys-top-150-friday-cable-originals-network-finals-4-26-2019.html.
It’s also a big improvement from Ghost Bait, which has 350,000 watch on Thursday.
Love the paranormal shows.
Ghost bait. I think a blindfold would be better.
Than the stupid mask they are forced to wear. It seems a bit silly
Like for crew to not interact. Like show just wish for more professional actions. Understand even they can be scared just STOP THE cursing. Tired of all the bleeps…
I watched the second show last night. I agree, it was better. I don’t mind the cursing at all. It’s exactly what I would say. I enjoyed the show. My only thoughts were when they were getting so much talk back. Other shows seem to get bits and pieces. Are they using a spirit box? That seemed strange, but what can you do? This time when the crew was included didn’t bother me as much. When I thought about it, the paranormal doesn’t just pick the TV star. Those people are taking a chance being there. I’m more accepting in this episode. I am SHOCKED that they are going to Bobby Mackey’s! Does Mrs.O know that Jack is getting so close to a demon? This show has definitely caught my attention. I hope they use protection going to these bad places. I’m still uneasy with the demon work. Why not just ghost hunt? Thanks Zak Bagans. You spawn of the devil! We don’t need to feed the demons!
This show could not discover activity at Bobby Mackey’s! I truly hoped this show would succeed as I genuinely like Katrina & Jack. However, they got nothing. The Travel channel over hyped the show, now most episodes are going to fall short, for me. Just my opinion…but, I don’t see this show surviving… Quite boring.
Very lame very boring. Please take this show off the air soon. You don’t know much about ghost hunting if you like this show. Wow so lame
The produvers that hang around are annoying. Get rid of them. They are a distraction. Especially the female. Is she really Jack’s girlfriend? Let Katrina ghost hunt. She’s an expert yet we hardly hear from her. I’m losing interest.
Yea I love ghost shows. I was very excited to watch when I first heard about it. And tbh after 3 shows I’m kinda bored with it. Bobby Mackey episode is very boring. They don’t get anything. Psychic talk and that’s it. Idk the show is very boring so far. And them using pareidolia ghost communication is lame. Just hoping for words to come out instead of using a regular PSB7.
Portals to Hell sucks! Let’s investigate every place Ghost adventures have already investigated; how original. I give it one season and they will get the boot. Couldn’t be more bored watching this show and I can’t believe they have re-runs on Saturday, taking the place of Ghost Adventures. They are nothing compared to Ghost Adventures. Additionally, Jack has no clue what he is doing and super boring to watch. One final thought, get rid of the girlfriend and the crew, they interact to much and are a distraction. It seems like they are always using the same instrument for investigating. This show won’t survive because as I stated in the beginning, they are doing nothing original. Basically, sloppy seconds.
I could do a better job investigating than they do! Really disappointed in the show!!! They really don’t investigate, they mainly speak to people who have been there who have investigated!! They don’t use any new or really any investigation tools and Jack seems scared all the time!! Katrina was trained by Ghost Hunters and should know how to really investigate a haunted place!! I would love to give it a try!!
Worst show on air as far as it goes to ghost investors!! You need to bring back GHOST HUNTERS back on air bc they were the real deal!! Ghost Adventures suck too and Zack is such a baby and is scared to death!!! Instead of putting famous ppl on there, search for real ghost hunters!! Put out an advertisement that you are searching for ppl who know how to investigate and you provide the equipment for them to be able to do the job!! I’ve watched so many different shows, I could do it with my eyes closed!! I wish you would stop putting these stupid ppl on these kinds of shows that don’t know what they are doing!!! Just like Josh Gates, he used to be great when he had a team that investigated ghosts stories but now, I know longer watch his show bc he is boring!!! Why change things when they were working!! Get it together ppl!!
Hi gang. I just wanted to say thanks for commenting about this show. I thought the celebrity of Jack and Katrina would carry it, but it doesn’t seem like that’s the case.
Just checked ratings for May 17th, 2019 episode and Portals To Hell’s numbers are down about 30% from its premiere. It had 452,000 people watch this episode. 639,000 watched the first episode. That said, I haven’t seen any numbers for delayed viewing and on-demand screenings.
Jack and Katrina can’t win. If they riled the demon we would have criticized. If they protect themselves, they are called lame. I understand that they don’t want to get too close. Aaron Goodwin is a testimony to reckless hunting. He said being exposed completely changed his life. He got divorced.. etc. I am ok with the show so far. I even found how to watch the next show. I haven’t. Because this show is like Kindred Spirits, once you know what is happening it’s not fun to watch again. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. I hope they make it.
I am trying to figure out where I have seen the producer Austin before? I am sure it is from ghost stories past but I can’t remember which one. That said, I agree with others who have commented about crew getting too much air time. Viewers are tuning in to see Jack and Katrina. That is how they sold it and that is what they should deliver.
Ratings for the May 31st episode were up to 503,000 for tune-in. That’s an increase from the previous week. It was a top 50 show for the night (#27). PTH may have found its audience now. Still, a bit lower than I’d expect with its heavy promotion. Source: ShowBuzzDaily
I personally live watching. All paranormal shows all of them but very disappointed in ghost bait and pirtals to hell by the time they get to the actual investigations the shows are over they need to bring back shows like ghost mine paranormal activity show solutions to the shows i just always fell left hanging with portals to hell because i love katrina and jack and i dont even know what to say about ghost bait except i hope they dont bring it back
This show is ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT DOUBT HORRENDOUS !!!! I can tell you why despite Katrina being the true paranormal investigator Jack does what he wants , he’s the dam producer !!!! This show would have been a guaranteed hit if Katrina was alone on the show or she was allowed to do what she does best ! I don’t care what Jack feels or hears ! I watch a show to see EVIDENCE !!!! Where the hell is the EVIDENCE ? They don’t use anything, recordings, ghost box but for a few moments. What happened to Paranormal Lockdown ? I loved that show ! Truth be told I wouldn’t care if Katrina & Nick did only 1 night investigations , at least there would be two professionals getting great evidence ! I just hope that maybe Jack wakes up before the show gets cancelled and let’s Katrina run the show ! The only reason I say that is because Katrina deserves a show and I would hate to see another show go south on her .
I love to watch Katrina, she is a great paranormal investigator and has no fear. I am sorry to say that Jack is not her match. Disappointed in the show. I would love to see her again working with Nick Groff in the near future.
I’m watching the episode with Bobby Mackay’s. And it’s really annoying me as Katrina is acting like it’s her first time there.
Has she forgot she did it with nick groff in paranormal lockdown????? Come on katrina. Or is this the politics that nick is talking about.
These tow hosts are so obviously not credible. They lack any expertise and have no clue how to make the show credible…because it isn’t. They should cut their loses on this place. These two have no charisma and little real world experience. But the Travel Channel never cuts anything so they will keep it running years after year. Do yourself a Big favor and use your time for something worth seeing.
Love the show but even though Katrina’s friend has been replacing her she is boring, really miss Special K and Jack together.
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