Farewell River Monsters, Welcome Mungo

Cryptozoology lovers who have enjoyed watching the River Monsters series are no doubt sad to be seeing the last episode of the last season tonight on Animal Planet. But the network is offering a tantalizing new show that could ease the pain of losing a fan favorite – Expedition Mungo.

River Monsters set the gold standard for “reality TV” throughout its tenure on Animal Planet. The show was brilliantly produced and featured a very appealing host who opened our eyes to the world lurking beneath the world’s rivers. Week after week, host Jeremy Wade hauled monstrosities out of the water that we had never seen, much less heard of.

Personally, I learned a lot more from the show beyond fish and how to catch them. Our host opened our eyes to some of the most remote areas on the planet. Seeing those environments and how people eke out a living there was even more interesting to me than the fish.

Let’s never forget the panoramas we saw, those humungous falls in South America, the vast plains and mountains of Mongolia, the inlets and mountains of Alaska, the woodlands and waterways of Canada, the desolation and beauty of Australia’s outback, the mightiness of the Congo river. The list goes on and on. I think most of us will probably never have a chance to travel to these places, so it’s wonderful to be able to have seen them up close and personally through the programs.

I’d like to go over a couple of my favorite episodes.

River Monsters’ Cryptids

Body Snatcher Season 6 Episode 6: In which Jeremy sets off to visit Guyana and investigate the legend of the Water Mama, a shimmering silver mermaid believed to snatch unwary swimmers and fishermen to their deaths. In my heart of hearts, I guess I was hoping we’d find some real evidence for the existence of mermaids, but truth and science ruled the day and the culprit was nonetheless fascinating!

Mongolian Mauler Season 4 Episode 6: Ok, technically we knew we were looking for a fish, but what a fish it was! I loved it because of its fierce and independent nature, it was a true master of its domain. The scenery was gorgeous and it didn’t hurt to have the extra excitement of the gold miners shooting at them!

Demon Fish Season 2 Episode 1: Where we meet the most terrifying fresh water fish of them all, the Goliath Tiger fish! Who will ever forget the size of those teeth? If that doesn’t qualify for the title Cryptid, I don’t know what does! I loved this episode, and I love that freaky fish!

Jurassic-Sized Prehistoric Terror Season 7 Episode 3: My second favorite episode in the series. A fascinating account of some truly humongous and horrifying creatures that actually existed millennia ago! The recreations did a great job bringing them to life and it was chilling.

Legend of Loch Ness Season 5 Episode 6: My absolutely favorite episode of River Monsters. We’re treated to a brilliant and fascinating journey of discovery where every aspect of this legend is considered and scrutinized scientifically. Even better, I believe host Jeremy Wade solved the mystery. I don’t want to give it away if you haven’t seen the episode – it’s a gem, you should watch it!

Many People Say Farewell

If you look on the Animal Planet website and the River Monsters Facebook pages you’ll see just how many people are sorry to see the show end. And many of these people aren’t fishermen, they just like animals. To be fair, some of them just like Jeremy! LOL! But that’s life, isn’t it. All things must come to an end eventually. We’re fortunate to have had 9 years of this brilliant show. We can always console ourselves with the DVDs.

Welcome Mungo

Animal Planet has enjoyed having River Monsters, a super successful show, on their roster and though it was time to let it end, they weren’t about to let the concept go. So now they’re bringing us another appealing, rough and hardy outdoorsman with a British accent who looks like he’s going to search for mysterious animals around the world, probably ones not submerged in water.

Welcome Paul “Mungo” Mungeam described as an “adventure cameraman” who has apparently traveled to 90+ countries filming adventures with the likes of Bear Grylls and others.

Here’s an excerpt from the website HollywoodReporter.com that is enlightening: “In the series, Mungeam will lead a team of fellow adventurers to some of the most remote and undiscovered areas of the world in hopes of separating fact from fiction as he investigates “fascinating, bone-chilling tales of mythical creatures that have been passed down as legend and lore from generation to generation.”

“On each quest, Mungeam will talk to eyewitnesses, searching for clues and evidence in hopes of capturing the myths and legends on camera to reveal the truth behind some of the most mysterious animals.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it. They’re copying the River Monsters format. Well, it’s a good one, so if they’re going to copy something, that’s the one to follow. (But if I was Icon films and Wade, I’d be more than a little miffed.)

Interestingly, the executive producer for Animal Planet on this show is Keith Hoffman. Does that name ring a bell? He was the executive producer for Animal Planet’s series Finding Bigfoot for several years. Hopefully Mungo will have more luck than our dear friends on Finding Bigfoot! LOL!

So I’ll be tuning in tonight to say Farewell to Jeremy Wade and River Monsters, and hello to Mungo as he begins his quest for other mysterious monsters. River Monsters will be a hard act to follow, but from what I’ve seen of the trailer for Expedition Mungo, we may still have some good television ahead of us.

Fare thee well, Jeremy! 

 

 

 

Will you miss River Monsters? What was your favorite episode?

 

2 comments

  1. It’s exactly the caliber of “Mountain Monsters” without the hillbillies lit up like Christmas going screaming into the night looking for bigfoots and other fictitious creatures and using poor special effects and lame excuses for the creatures’ supposed escaped. Mungo goes looking for folkloric creatures based on the mythology of various cultures, searching for creatures he knows do not exist. To compare him to Jeremy Wade who wisely and patiently meets the people, immerseds him kindly in their lives, visits with biologists and goes through hell to track down and seek these creatures in an alien underwater environment (swimming with saltwater crocodiles), catches fish that really are “monsters,” admires them for their survival, their predatory weapons and skills, and carefully revives and releases them except in cases where his hosts would consider it offensive not to share the food with the villagers. We SEE the creatures Wade has swim with or caught. Minho will lead us through the remotest jungles and waters in pursuit of things he knows he will not find. We will never SEE Mungo’s made up monsters, or if they’re real we’ve already seen them in documentaries. The show is on the air because of the successful ratings.

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