Monday, October 22, 2012

Biggest And Baddest Is Completely Riveting

Like I keep telling people who are bitching about the awful fall TV season: look elsewhere for good new series deep in cable land.
And I'll point to the new Canadian series Biggest And Baddest --I watched the pilot starring biologist Niall McCann and this wildlife show is as good as it gets.
The hour series premieres on Animal Planet wed. Oct. 24 at 9 p.m.
This one is wonderful in every way --it is shot and crisply edited in a way to make us feel right in the midst of the action. And McCannn tosses off enough trivia tibits to keep everyone involved. For example: did you know an anaconda only has to eat three times a year to sustain itself.
In this hour McCann starts in the swamps of Venezuela in search of the biggest anaconda and he offers anecdotal evidence that there are 25 foot ones out there.
But finding the big critters is a hazardous job --McCann plods barefoot through one swamp as he prods in front of him with a large stick. Then he does find somehting quite large, but it's an ornery cayman.
In other episodes McCann will take DNA samples of giant hogs, films the biggest Asian elephants and helps tag ferocious crocodiles.
Anacondas are the world's heaviest snakes but they do not have a venomous bite. Instead they are skilled in squeezing life out of their prey and as stories are told to McCann sometimes the prey are human.
Then it's off to tributary rivers where McCann enthusiastically finds bigger and bigger snakes. He also finds huge crocs , vampire bats and assassin beetles (one kiss from this beetle and a human is toast).
There's just thrill after thrill here including McCann climbing down a mountain gorge with a thundering waterfall in the backround.
In other words this is exciting TV and it's all true and seems less staged than other reality TV outings.
Upcoming episodes will highlight the deadliest bird in the world, Australia's Cassowary bird with a reputation for maiming humans.  There's a jaunt to examine Nepal's man-eating tigers, And what about the feral hogs of Louisiana?
Just don't tell me the new TV season is boring.
Biggest And Baddest is directed by Peter von Puttkamer and produced by Sheera and Peter von Puttkamer for Gryphon/Wild Planet Productions Ltd.
MY RATING: ***1/2.

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