Saturday, September 8, 2018

The cryptid connection

In my previous review of "River Monsters", I pointed out that it was about real "monsters" a.k.a. out-sized fish, not about cryptids á la the Loch Ness monster or Bigfoot. Not that I mind cryptids - I'm an avid watcher of ripped "Finding Bigfoot" episodes on Youtube, but I somehow got the impression that alligator gars, bull sharks or killer catfish might be somewhat deadlier than Nessie or Matilda the sleeping sasquatch!

However, it seems "River Monsters" just couldn't let the cryptid angle alone.

This season includes an episode called "Alaskan Horror", in which Jeremy Wade travels to Lake Iliamna in Alaska to investigate local legends about a lake monster with a somewhat more fierce reputation than good ol' Nessie. Unfortunately, he never catches it. Incidentally, as an arm-chair crypto-zoologist, I happen to believe in the same theory about the real identity of the monster as Wade - it's probably a jumbo sized white sturgeon unknown to science (and the Russian caviar industry).

Otherwise, I must say that I'm surprised Wade hasn't been killed or seriously injured when taping this series. I wonder how his body guards look like? Like Bigfoot? In two episodes, Wade actually goes to the Congo River, flanked by two nations rocked by brutal civil wars: Congo-Kinshasa and Congo-Brazzaville. Joseph Conrad, are you listening? In "Rift Valley Killers", our valiant fisher king makes a landfall at the Rift Valley in Ethiopia, where he encounters crocodiles in the bush, short-tempered hippos and a community of fugitives wanted by the law who are trying to eek out an existence in the forbidding area (presumably Ethiopian prisons are even worse!). "Death Ray" takes Wade to Thailand, where he was once arrested, suspected of being a Communist spy. Undaunted, he just has to travel upstream the Mekong River to the border with Laos, still a Vietnamese ally. This time, he avoids arrest, and later witnesses the live birth of two cute little stingrays. Well, what a contrast to the other episodes!

I admit I'm something of a free-loader when it comes to "River Monsters". I usually watch ripped episodes free of charge over at Youtube. Unfortunately for me, most episodes of this particular season only exist in dub versions, and I'm afraid my French, Spanish and Byelorussian (?) is somewhat rusty. With that caveat, I will nevertheless award Jeremy Wade's extreme angles...(pun sort of intended)...five stars.

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