Friday, April 15, 2011

Weird Travels (2003-2006)

This one is even more obscure than History's Mysteries. This documentary show was produced for the Travel Channel from 2003 to 2006. Its main focus was mysterious locations and the bizarre events and creatures there. Of course, this led them to having episodes featuring the Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, the Mothman, the Jersey Devil, the Nazca Lines, Stonehenge and others. Like all shows of this nature, it was narrated by a guy with a creepy voice. This host, Don Wildman, actually appeared onscreen in the first episode but I don't think he ever did again. Supposedly, other Travel Channel specials like Haunted Hotels and Bigfootville were part of this show but I don't remember seeing the logo for the show at the beginning of them. (I will give Bigfootville its own review at some point.) The opening sequence of the show was really interesting and full of mystery. It showed a bunch of places like an open field, the inside of a mysterious house, or a road with one lone sign on its edge. The picture was in sepia tone to give it an even strange feeling. It really worked in getting you interested.

The first episode I saw was the very first episode, called Investigations of the Unexplained, which had segments devoted to the ghosts of the Myrtles plantation, supposed werewolf sightings, demonic possession, and Bigfoot reports in Oregon. Nothing real special about it but I'm always drawn to shows like this due to my interest in the subject matter. As with History's Mysteries, I tried to see every episode of this show that interested me. And as I've done before, I will now discuss my favorite episodes.

Lake Monsters: This one featured a look at the Loch Ness monster (of course) and Champ, the monster of Lake Champlain. It gave abbreviated but well researched histories of both creatures as well as speculation as to what they might be. You can tell this show is fairly low budget because they couldn't show the actual surgeon's photo of the Loch Ness monster and had to resort to a really bad recreation of it. When it came to Champ, they had an interview with Sandra Mansi, the woman who took the most famous photograph of that monster. She seems a whole lot more sincere in this show than she would in later ones (that's a story for another time). And, of course, the ever loyal Adrian Shine is on hand to give his two cents about Nessie for the millionth time. Not the best show done on the subject but still worth watching for newcomers.

Bigfoot: Yeah, you knew this one was coming. Odd that there's no episode of this series devoted solely to the yeti but whatever. This one takes a look at various Bigfoot encounters in different parts of America throughout the centuries. It discusses Bluff Creek, which is the most famous area of Bigfoot sightings, and briefly mentions the Patterson film but doesn't dwell upon it. (It only shows one really bad frame from the film.) It discusses a particularly ferocious Bigfoot called the Fawk monster in Arkansas, the Skunk Ape of the Florida Everglades, and finally settles on an organization in Texas devoted to finding Bigfoot. The last quarter of the episode follows those people on one of their expeditions into the Texas wilderness to track Bigfoot. This episode creeps me out because they use a supposed Bigfoot howl that I've heard in other shows and it makes chills run up my spine. They also get a response from an unknown animal in the woods when they do call-blasting. They also have a false alarm when it appears that a Bigfoot messed around with their van but it's later revealed to have been just some curious onlookers. Not a bad episode. In fact, I think it may be my favorite of this series.

Creepy Creatures: Sort of an extension of the two episodes I've mentioned before. This one takes a big look at cryptozoology, and after briefly mentioning Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster, it mainly focuses on the Jersey Devil and the Mothman. The Mothman has always been one I've been interested in because descriptions of the creature are unlike that of any other supposed monster and it apparently was quite aggressive. This episode discusses what the Mothman could have been, with theories ranging from a mutated bird to a government experiment or even an alien. They even interview one of the original witnesses of the creature, which I don't think ever did one before. She clearly doesn't like talking about it and is still frightened to this day. While it does kind of retread other subjects that have been covered in past episodes, I still enjoy this one.

Those are the ones I usually watch whenever I can catch them. I know that list is nowhere near as big as the one for History's Mysteries but to be honest, the Travel Channel's specials usually aren't that interesting or as well made those of the History Channel or Biography. There are a few other specials besides this series that I will eventually review but not a lot. I'm not sure if Weird Travels still airs on the Travel Channel. I'm sure it does but it's not one of those shows that has a regular time slot. Still, if you can catch it, I'd recommend checking it out. Even if you've heard the stories presented many times before, the episodes are still a good time killer.

No comments:

Post a Comment