Syfy has a new Thursday reality block, and one of the additions premiering Thursday (along with “Fact or Faked: The Paranormal Files,” reviewed here) is a series about psychic Mary Occhino, described as “the matriarch of a proud Long Island Italian-American family who always takes her work home with her because communicating with the spirit world is a 24-hour a day job.”
Occhino and her clan are certainly characters, from Mary’s poor daughter — who she keeps trying to fix up — to her wacky, obsessive wild-eyed son, Chris, the world’s worst motivational speaker; to her skeptical son, Carl, who is a total mook for questioning the family gravy train. (Occhino hosts a show on Sirius Satellite Radio.)
Color me an enormous skeptic myself, but even if you completely buy into Mary’s readings “Mary” is an odd hybrid — part VH1 reality show, part Mary using her “power” not just on her show but in everyday encounters.
Any way you look at it, the show’s tone marks a further dilution of the Syfy brand, with only the most peripheral connection to its “Imagine greater” niche. Then again, how many ghost-hunting dorks with infrared lenses can you employ?
Although I can’t clearly foresee “Mary’s” future, it probably has some ratings potential. Personally, though, after about 10 minutes, I was completely bada-bored.