Jennifer Podemski is a fan of paranormal programming. Heck, she’s had her own experiences with the otherworldly. But while programs like Paranormal State interested her, they didn’t cover a wide swath of her own background.
“I was a huge fan of Paranormal State, to the point I would watch the same episodes over and over again,” the writer, producer and actor says. “Then I realized, ‘Huh, isn’t it funny that I’ve never noticed how absent this show and genre is of an Indigenous perspective?'” After gleaning that information for several years, she consulted with her Angel Entertainment colleagues Wally Start and Bob Crowe and wrote a show bible. The result? The Other Side—returning for Season 3 this Thursday on APTN—a program that has Indigenous perspectives and ways of knowing, understanding and belief systems woven throughout the narrative.
“It’s an interesting spin on an old genre,” Podemski says. “I thought it would be amazing to have something on our own network, APTN, that showcased a little bit of perspective.” Back for more experiences are intuitive Jeff Richards and elder and spirit guide Tom Charles, with newbie Michaella Shannon taking over as researcher; researcher Priscilla Wolf and investigator Bill Connelly are longer with the show. Podemski has known Shannon for years, since she was part of the supernatural drama Rabbit Fall, and in addition to being an amazing role model within the community, is an intuitive like Richards. She was a natural when Podemski was looking to refresh and tighten up the series for Season 3.
That refresh isn’t contained to the cast. The Other Side‘s opening credits have been revised and filming of the 13 episodes took place during the summer months, a first for the program. What hasn’t changed is the content. The Other Side continues its excellent storytelling, education and documentation of paranormal experiences without using cheap camera tricks and dramatic music to play up what this trio witnesses. Thursday’s return instalment, “Mr. Clark,” not only gives a history of Fort Walsh Historic Site in Maple Creek, Sask., and the massacre of First Nations people that occurred there but documents a man who may still be wandering around the grounds.
Podemski says upcoming an episode presents the most meaningful communication between a client and spirit or entity ever while another provides powerful, emotional moments at a residential school.
“One of my biggest concerns about doing [an episode] like that was that the story was told in a respectful and accurate way, that has the ability to transcend the policies around what people understand about residential schools,” she says. “These are real people that are very rarely spoken about in the Canadian narrative. It was a very intense show.”
The Other Side airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on APTN.
Images courtesy of APTN.