Travel Channel had its best year yet in 2018 with ratings driven by destination-unknown docuseries such as Ghost Adventures, Paranormal Caught on Camera, and Kindred Spirits.
What's the appeal? Charles Nordlander, exec producer of the new In Search of Monsters, says humans want to trust that "something outside our realm of understanding, something greater than ourselves," is really out there.
Let's jump in with one (big)foot forward.
Is the Loch Ness Monster swimming through time? Is Mothman a government experiment gone wrong? Recent sightings, DNA technology, and on-the-scene investigations have led to new evidence and imaginative conjecture about history's favorite fuzzily photographed creatures.
To examine these cryptids — animals whose existence is claimed, not proven — Monsters brings in a passionate lot of journalists, cryptozoologists, and biologists.
For the Jersey Devil episode, "we had a leading church exorcist," says Nordlander, "because the true origin story closely parallels that of [Satan's spawn tale] Rosemary's Baby."
Wednesday's entry attempts to rewrite some myths about the Yeti, the 7-foot-ish hairy biped long thought to patrol the Himalayas. (Above: a rumored footprint from Mount Everest in 1951.) Turns out the so-called Abominable Snowman is more brown in color and has also been seen in Russia and California.
The series suggests this reputedly violent beast may be trying to save the planet. "If you disrespect the mountain," Nordlander says, "the Yeti comes for you."
In Search of Monsters, Wednesdays, 9/8c, Travel Channel