Judge Dylan Charles just saw Bigfoot! No, wait, that was just a large golden retriever.
Our review of MonsterQuest: The Complete Season One, published May 28th, 2008, is also available.
If they're out there, they need to be found
Cryptozoology is the study of "hidden animals," like, say, the Bigfoot or the sasquatch or the Boggy Creek creature. For years these creatures of myth have remained lurking in the shadows. Luckily, the History Channel has stepped up to the plate to try and drag these beasties kicking and screaming into the light.
Facts of the Case
History released MonsterQuest: Season Three, Set One, only half a season, because consumers just love to buy seasons piecemeal. There are eight episodes on two discs. Each 45-minute episode deals with a single critter, like the Jersey Devil or Loch Ness Monster.
Much like their show UFO Hunters, the History Channel has taken a fairly controversial topic (animals that most zoologists would laugh themselves silly over) and applied scientific methods to try and determine whether or not these critters exist. Unlike UFO Hunters, MonsterQuest manages to maintain a modicum of rationality and partiality.
MonsterQuest achieves this by letting everyone speak, instead of just the true believers who take anything as proof positive of Bigfoot's existence or just the skeptics who would discount the existence of their own mothers.
Each episode follows the same formula: The creature is introduced by their ardent fans, sometimes wearing "I heart monsters" T-shirts. Numerous scientists and professionals then come up with a plan of attack, usually along multiple lines. Then everything is wrapped up in the end with the narrator grimly saying that, while no evidence of any kind was found, it's hardly conclusive. Somewhere, out there, the creature lurks, waiting to strike again.
There's a wide range of critters to be found here. They tackle everything from the more probable, such as the giant prehistoric shark, who at least existed in the fossil record, to the much more unlikely, like the bat-winged, goat-headed, behooved Jersey Devil who was apparently created when a woman in the 1700s prayed to God to give birth to a devil. I'm guessing God was feeling bored with the usual requests for good health and good blessings and decided to grant that one on a whim.
The methods used to find the creature in question range from interviews with witnesses (including polygraph testing in some cases) to raiding the creature's habitat to DNA testing. It's sometimes compelling, usually interesting, but, I'm assuming, ultimately unsatisfying for people who were actually hoping MonsterQuest would find something.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
It's not always impartial, however. Sometimes the show tries a bit too hard to raise a ruckus. At the end of "Close Encounters," they ended by saying that they had gotten DNA evidence and hair samples. This is technically true. There was DNA evidence and there were hair samples. Specifically, there was DNA evidence that a dog attacked a car and hair samples that proved that one of the eyewitnesses owns a cat. There was, however, no physical evidence of a Bigfoot.
There's also the little problem of redundancy. MonsterQuest is now in its third season and I'm sure they're starting to run out of critters to talk about. There were just a few too many episodes about Bigfoot and his relatives. I get it; there may be a giant ape running around North America—something scarier than humans, I mean. Let's move on and talk about giant moths invading Japan or irritable earthworms eating tourists in Malaysia, anything to get away from hairy ape-men with a need to buy custom-made shoes.
Also, and this is nitpicking, to the person who named the episode "The Death of Loch Ness": Loch Ness is the name of the lake, not the creature. "Loch" being the Gaelic word for "lake" and Ness being its actual name.
Aside from a predilection for focusing on Bigfoots, MonsterQuest is a mostly impartial show that should appeal to cryptozoologist groupies and anyone interested in what might be going bump in the night.
MonsterQuest is guilty of stalking Bigfoot and thus placed under restraining order.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: History Channel
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