Fish stories have sometimes been known to delve into the morbid. Besides, people love a good fish story. Such is the case with Animal Planet’s latest series, “River Monsters,” which the network notes is its most successful series ever. It has been so successful in its short 7-episode run, it has been renewed for another season.
But “River Monsters” is definitely not your grandfather’s old fish stories.
With episode names like “Amazon Assassins,” “Amazon Flesh Eaters,” and “European Maneaters,” there seems to be a preoccupation with deadly things. Given that, how could Animal Planet’s “River Monsters” series go wrong? Fish tales where they reverse the idea of who is actually the prey? It is surprising the ratings aren’t higher…
According to UPI, the last original episode, “Freshwater Shark” aired Saturday, pulling in nearly 1.5 million viewers.
Jeremy Wade, a self-described “extreme” angler, hosts the show and takes viewers to exotic locales all over the world (including the United States) in search of dangerous fish. Not to confuse itself with any of the aquatic predators and dangerous denizens of the deep, Wade goes to the more comfortable and seemingly more benign areas: rivers and streams. His mission is to make the viewer less comfortable, exhibiting the lurking dangers in freshwater and bounded by proximate safety of nearby land.
In each episode, Jeremy Wade introduces the viewer to some deadly specimens of fish. In “Piranha,” Wade studies the swarming flesh eater. In “Alligator Gar,” Wade sets out to find if there is any truth in the man-sized half-fish, half-alligator said to inhabit Texas waters.
The show is a hit for the network, averaging over one million viewers per episode. Animal Planet plans to air a nine-hour marathon on May 31. It will include all seven original episodes, plus a never before seen two-hour special cut of “Killer Catfish,” where Jeremy Wade travels to the foothills of the Himalayas in search of the man-eating Goonch.
So if one is inclined to watch a show where fish aren’t the catch that got away, “River Monsters” is definitely a show to watch.
“River Monsters” will return in the Spring of 2010 with an entire new season of extreme fish tales. Says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet Media, “‘River Monsters’ was a ratings monster, and we’re excited to send Jeremy back into the murky depths to explore more stories.”
And as long as Jeremy Wade doesn’t get eaten by any of the maneaters he angles for, “River Monsters” has the potential to be on for years.
UPI news service