One- man myth buster
SEEING might be believing but a new series by comedian Lawrence Leung sets out to prove that we should not always trust what we see.
In Unbelievable, proud sceptic Leung ( pictured) investigates ways in which people have their beliefs manipulated and their senses fooled.
He starts with psychics in episode one and over six weeks works his way through ghosts, UFOs, magic and even professional poker players and undercover cops.
In his previous TV series, Choose Your Own Adventure, Leung showed a charming ability to laugh at himself and have some fun when tackling the more serious aspects of analysing his own life. And that lighthearted humour is his strongest weapon as he dissects the strange things people believe in.
As sceptical as his approach may be he is never condescending or meanspirited, which is an asset when dismantling ideas that many people passionately cling to.
As a bit of a paranormal nerd myself, I was concerned the series might just be a flippant exercise in lampooning carefully selected nutburgers who believe their dead aunt visits for a cuppa every Tuesday morning. Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In the first episode, his research into the devious art of cold-reading is quite informative and the practical demonstrations are a little bit disturbing. But he never pokes fun at the people who are drawn to consult psychics and the only animosity is towards those who brazenly try to con vulnerable people.
The trickery employed by mentalist Banachek to demonstrate how convincingly a person with no psychic abilities can make it look like they do have special powers is nothing short of amazing.
The second episode, about ghosts, culminates in a fake seance in which Leung brings together a group of volunteers to try to contact a fictional entity – with surprising results.
Dogmatic sceptics and blind believers butt heads over these topics all the time but, as these things often seem to go, the truth of the matter usually lies somewhere in between the two extremes. Leung successfully finds this rare balance: open-minded scepticism.
This sensitive, funny and fair approach makes Unbelievable an educational and entertaining experience that comes highly recommended.
But, if you’ll excuse me for just a moment, I have to check eBay to see if anyone has bought my burnt toast with the face of Jesus on it yet.
Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable, ABC1, Wednesday, 9.30pm