You've Come A
Long Way, Baby
Remember when Animal Planet reminded you of America’s Funniest Videos with animals? Well, if you haven’t tuned in lately it’s getting wild and crazy over at Animal Planet. Here’s a rundown of Animal Planet’s good, bad and WTF programming.
Call of the Wildman
"Turtleman" from the backwoods of Kentucky is doing for Call of the Wildman what Steve Irwin did for The Crocodile Hunter. What Turtleman lacks in refinement and dental work he makes up for in energy and fierce animal skills. He’s a rural superhero of sorts, willing to crawl around in culverts and get sprayed not once, but twice in the face by two skunks who are wreaking havoc on a nearby school yard. Mock if you will, but Call of the Wildman is an adrenaline-filled addition to the rash of hillbilly programming we’ve been seeing lately.
I was so stoked to see the promos for Top Hooker, because I love to fly fish and I love to watch others land big fish. The token hot chicks (and a notable absence of male eye candy) were a bit annoying, but I was still intrigued by this reality show/fishing competition premise. I tuned in and was woefully disappointed. The competition thus far hasn’t had a whole lot to do with real fishing skill. In the first competition, the participants had to get in a huge fish tank, get as many goldfish in their mouth as possible and deposit them in a different tank. The competitor with the most goldfish in their tank won. Lame. The next task involved being zip-lined across a lake and netting fish out of a holding tank. The player who scooped the most fish in one attempt won. Also lame. I’ll give this show one more chance in hopes that we start to see some challenges that involve real fishing skills.
Mermaids, the New Evidence
This mockumentary had it all: mythical creatures, "real" footage and images, a government conspiracy and expert testimony. The only thing it lacked was truth, because the whole thing was a hoax. Animal Planet scored big, roping in millions of viewers and making it the most-watched show in the channel's 17 year history. What was our first clue that this "discovery" was bunk? When two teenage boys come upon a heap of seaweed with a hand sticking out of it and the hand moves, but the boys don’t scream, pee their pants and/or run for their lives. The disclaimer at the end of Mermaids, the New Evidence stating that the film was science fiction was also a dead giveaway that this film is a hoax.
North America, produced by Discovery Channel (but also playing on sister channel Animal Planet) was three years in the making and takes us to the most remote corners of our own backyards to give us an unforgettable look at landscapes and animals most of us will never see. This venture is a stunning visual treasure you don’t want to miss. Click here for scheduling of North America and other Animal Planet programming.