Archive for Friday, March 4, 2011

National Geographic on the hunt for monsters

March 4, 2011


The National Geographic Channel launches the new series “Beast Hunter” (8 p.m., National Geographic). Host and all-around manly man Pat Spain embarks on trips around the globe in search of mythical monsters, like the Mongolian Death Worm, the Man Ape of Sumatra and something called the Sea Serpent of the North.

Along the way, we see a lot of colorful scenery. Spain uses smatterings of the local language to determine whether anyone has seen the monster in question. It’s all rather breathless and ridiculous. Spain stumbles upon some unintentional comedy in Sumatra when he queries women working at a food market about the “short ape-like man” of legend. They giggle and suggest that his phrase describes just about all of the guys they know. At this point, Spain decides that he needs a better translator.

Some may find these well-photographed snipe hunts entertaining, but I can’t help feeling rather sad at the fact that an institution as old and respected as National Geographic has thrown in the towel and joined in the tabloidization of television and the all-around assault on reason.

Along similar lines, Travel Channel offers nine hours of “Ghost Adventure” (6 p.m. through 3 a.m., Travel). Superstition: Don’t leave home without it!

• Tired of having your brain rotted by basic cable? Have it eaten by zombies instead! AMC offers a six-episode marathon of their summer hit “The Walking Dead” (7 p.m., AMC, TV-14). Just don’t watch this during dinner!

In addition to rerunning the popular episodes, AMC will air snippets of interviews with the show’s producers and special-effects expert. And if you pay close attention, you’ll also see a sneak peak at AMC’s next original drama series, “The Killing,” which debuts April 3.

Tonight’s other highlights

• A shooting investigation drags Danny back to his old stomping grounds on “The Defenders” (7 p.m., CBS).

• Lionel Richie traces his ancestry on “Who Do You Think You Are” (7 p.m., NBC).

• Wayne Brady and Holly Robinson Peete host the 42nd NAACP Image Awards (7 p.m., Fox).

• A tycoon’s son (Elvis Presley) finds fulfillment as a water-ski instructor in the 1967 musical “Clambake” (7 p.m., TCM), co-starring Shelley Fabares, Bill Bixby and Gary Merrill.

• A terminally ill tandem (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) fulfill long-deferred wishes in the 2007 comedy “The Bucket List” (7 p.m., TBS).

• Street violence looms after a gang leader’s slaying on “CSI: NY” (8 p.m., CBS).

• Death rings a doorman’s buzzer on “Blue Bloods” (9 p.m., CBS).

• “Onion News Network” (9 p.m., IFC) examines a presidential kidnapping.

• Grammy winner Adele appears on “VH1 Unplugged Adele” (10 p.m., VH1).


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