New Zealand’s Got Talent should be renamed New Zealand Needs a Better Mental Health System.The world economic meltdown will only make people more desperate to make money any which-a-way. Wheel of Fortune, which is already Wheel of Medium Income, will become Wheel of Petrol Voucher. Even Who Wants To Be A Millionaire finally has a New Zealand version. I look forward to Mike Hosking using the game show skills in current affairs. “You have no recollection of donations? Want to lock that in?” But the lowest point in TV history was reached this week when the Qantas Film and Television Awards named Sensing Murder Best Format/Reality Show. Dear God. How can they put Sensing Murder and reality in the same sentence? You’re probably thinking, Raybon, why do you have such a problem with Sensing Murder? Why indeed. Why have a problem with an infomercial posing as a TV show, which recruits the dead -- murder victims, no less -- to provide televised endorsements for psychic charlatans. Imagine you have just lost a loved one. Maybe a child, who knows. Psychics will tell the grieving relatives that they can relay messages of comfort from the dearly departed. Well. What price could you put on that? Psychics make up lies, while taking money from the grieving relatives of murder victims. Well, when you put it that way, it’s just family fun. They might as well do their trick round the casket at the funeral. Surely there’s good reception right near the corpse’s head. What makes me certain these psychics are frauds, charlatans and scoundrels? Notice how the psychics only ever rehash the victim’s final hours. (Oddly enough, precisely the timeline the show re-enacts.) The dead only ever say, “Hello, it’s me.” Never anything useful like “The butler did it.” There’s two possible explanations. One is that the murder victim is communicating with the psychic, from the dead. The other is this. The producers, who are alive, and who have the psychic’s contact details, and who employ the psychics to appear on a show called, actually called, Sensing Murder -- a show whose funding and entire reason for being, for God’s sake, depends on the illusion that psychics are genuine -- and who have researched, scripted and re-enacted the murder victim’s final hours, are communicating with the psychic. Hmmm. Let’s leave that one for the jury. If you or I or anyone independent provided a photo of a dead person, in an envelope, for these psychics Cruickshank and Webber to identify, they would fail. Consider this a challenge. We could agree, through the Consumer’s Institute, or the Commerce Commission, to a simple, fair experiment. But don’t expect the psychics to say yes. Their trick is a trick they can only pull off on shoot dates for Sensing Murder, after make-up, during their call time, when the director calls action and not a moment sooner. And certainly not during a tape change. People who marvel, “How do they do that?” might as well marvel at how Rebecca Gibney knows so much about the cases as well. Even in psychic logic, it makes no sense. The psychics make contact near a face-down photo of the murder victim. A photo? A photo is a Sky decoder for the dead? Which photo from their entire life, do ghosts choose to hang out by? How many photo albums are you in? How many wall portraits? How many wallet IDs, old passports, school photos, in how many houses, in how many cities, is your image in? Do ghosts live in hard drives nowadays? On giant servers when people put their photos on Facebook? What happens when the photo gets broadcast on TV as on Sensing Murder: does the spirit simultaneously loiter by every TV set that shows the photo? Is Elvis haunting every copy of every cover of every album? Every frame of every DVD of every movie? Is Diana haunting every souvenir fridge magnet and every paparazzi snapshot in every magazine article in every rubbish dump? Will the Queen haunt every banknote and postage stamp in every country in the Commonwealth? And if a ghost is communicating, come on, don’t tell us that middle name you had. Or that hobby you enjoyed as a child. Spit out the name of the killer! Are ghosts that dumb? Surely every ghost has seen Sensing Murder by now. Surely Sensing Murder is appointment television for ghosts. I bet even poltergeists drop everything to gather round the giant protoplasma screen. They probably say, hey, look, you’re on This Is Your Death.