MonsterQuest Revisited

Some time back, I lambasted History Channel for the revolting “It killed nine of my goats” sensationalism of their MonsterQuest ad teasers. This gosh-all-get-out promotional genre follows closely on the heels of the alien-abductor UFO show of Discovery Channel infamy.

But is nice to back-pedal when you find cause to re-evaluate a harsh stance. When I do my 3-minute eye drops, I can’t read, so I turn on the TV, to which I can at least follow along by listening. I watched MonsterQuest this morning and enjoyed it.

The segment was “Gigantic Killer Fish”, and already you’ll admit the title smacks of promotional hype, but the show didn’t follow that format. It was low-key, evenly narrated – almost like you would expect of a golf telecast – and the show doesn’t “shout at you” like so many of those in-your-face Discovery Channel shows.

The item here is that they are talking about freshwater fish. We all know about “Jaws” and the countless wonderful shows about ocean-going Great Whites, Tigers and Blues. This show was about freshwater Pike, Muskies (Muskellunge), giant catfish, and even whopper lake trout. It turns out that these species can grow, in time, to monster fish about the size of an adult human. They can do serious injury to a fisherman, or drown a swimmer. The show also covered reports of young children disappearing in the Amazon.

One feature I enjoyed was the hooking and landing of a giant Muskie the size of a man. The teeth on this fish are like something out of Jurassic Park. I appreciated the fact this was a catch-and-release operation. After posing with the fish, the fishing and photography crew let it go.

Most of this season’s upcoming segments are more sensational, and I will probably skip them: “Giant Bear Attack”, “Boneless Horror” (giant octopus), “Lake Monsters” (Nessie), Vampires (not the bat variety), and “Giant Killer Snakes”. To tell you the truth, this genre is closer to the reason I skewer TV sensationalism that preys on unreasoning fears, and it’s already been done too many times on too many shows.

It’s nice to know that even a sensational show can turn to a lower-key, fact-based science format once in a while.

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