I wish I could get excited by the news of a paranormal show premiering that focuses on the search for things that aren’t ghosts. I really feel that other paranormal phenomena have gotten the shaft as of late, with the popularity of “Ghost Hunters” and its seemingly endless spinoffs, odd-looking steroid freak-hosted “Ghost Adventures,” the downright awful “Most Haunted,” and the gazillion other ghost hunting shows on the air. There have been other shows, like “UFO Hunters” and “MonsterQuest,” both of which have been good but greatly under-appreciated.
Where’s the love for aliens and Bigfoot? Maybe once the current ghost hunting craze fades a bit, these guys will get their due. Until then, we have to suffer another SyFy show that’s trying to capitalize on the paranormal craze. Sure, it actually focusing on things other than ghosts, so it has that going for it. On the other hand, it’s on the SyFy Channel, so…yeah.
New York, New York – August 17, 2010 – Syfy will premiere Beast Legends, a new six-part series which journeys around the world using scientific data to reconstruct what mythological monsters, from Krakens and Griffins to Fire Dragons, would have looked like.
The debut of Beast Legends on Thursday, September 9, at 10PM (ET/PT) follows the fourth season return of Destination Truth at 9PM (ET/PT). In each of the hour-long episodes, Beast Legends uncovers historical and eyewitness accounts by zeroing in on archaeological and other physical evidence to assemble the most accurate picture possible of these monsters, from where they might have lived to how they would have behaved.
Beast Legends then moves to the ‘Beast Lab’ to build the creature, first as initial sculpts and wire-frame forms, before finally bringing it to life in stunning 3D CGI.
The investigations are conducted by the “Beast Seekers,” an expert team of specialists:
- Stephen Leonard: Adventurer and Veterinary Surgeon based in Bristol, England
- Kathryn Denning: Myth expert, anthropologist, archaeologist and professor at Toronto’s York University.
- Scott Edwards: Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Curator of Ornithology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University.
- Francis Manapul: Philippine-born, now Toronto-based, renowned comic book artist.
This season, Beast Legends will explore:
- The Kraken – Thursday, September 9, at 10PM (ET/PT) The Beast Seekers investigate the sailor’s legend of the Kraken, a terrifying multi-tentacled sea monster that snatches men from ships’ decks and crushes entire vessels, sending them to the ocean bottom.
- Fire Dragon – Thursday, September 16, at 10PM (ET/PT) The Beast Seekers venture deep into the primeval forests of Poland in search of the truth behind ancient legends of a terrifying, fire-breathing dragon called Smok.
- Megajaws – Thursday, September 23, at 10PM (ET/PT) The Beast Seekers travel to Fiji to learn about Dakuwaqa, an all-seeing, all-knowing Shark God – a huge beast that can change shape at will.
- Winged Lion – Thursday, September 30, at 10PM (ET/PT) The Beast Seekers explore Mongolia’s Altai (Golden) Mountains in search of a massive, legendary creature with the head of an eagle, razor-sharp talons and the body of a gigantic lion – the vicious beast known as the Griffin.
- Wildman of Vietnam – Thursday, October 7, at 10PM (ET/PT) The Beast Seekers explore the remote, unexplored jungles of Vietnam in search of the Wildman, a giant, hairy, bloodthirsty beast similar to North America’s Bigfoot or Sasquatch.
- Bird Monster — Thursday, October 14, at 10PM (ET/PT) In the ancestral Navajo lands of New Mexico, the Beast Seekers investigate the legend of a giant bird predator the size of a small airplane.
I will probably give this show a chance, as I do with any show about the paranormal. But SyFy is really on thin ice lately. “Ghost Hunters” was great when it first came out, but they’ve descended into pure entertainment, with phony, faked evidence, comic relief, celebrity (pseudo-celebrity) guests, and a general sense of apathy from the founders. It’s become painful to watch, all in the quest for ratings. Yet many fans still watch and take what they say as gospel, while actual paranormal investigators throw up a little in their mouths every time they see Jason’s flashlight turn on “by itself.” I tried to watch “Fact or Faked” and it’s dreadful. The “experts” seem like nothing more than rejects from some other network’s reality shows. The experts listed here for “Beast Legends” look a little better, on paper at least. Not sure about the comic book artist, but I guess he’s there to do sketches and renderings and such. Most of the creatures on this list have been widely accepted as explained (the Kraken is just the giant squid, for example).
Here’s to hoping…