Sunday, March 14, 2010

Animal Planet, How I Love Thee

I have been looking forward to Animal Planet's new series, "Fatal Attractions," about people who are obsessed with living with unusual animals.  I have to admit, this is probably because I like shows that make me feel normal in comparison.  Though I don't know how they came up with this theme for a show, so far I find it a very intriguing series and I look forward to future episodes.  It touches in ways on hoarding, but clearly that is not the focus of every story

The animal cop shows are too much for me - I find them too distressing to watch, though I did watch them for awhile.  Man's cruelty to animals is too disgusting to witness on a regular basis though.

However, there are several excellent shows I would not have anticipated liking.  "It's Me or the Dog" features Victoria Stillwell, an excellent dog trainer, addressing problems with animals.  In this show, there is no shortage of human stupidity, but at least it's not cruelty, and it's great to watch Victoria engage in positive, creative and effective training for a variety of behavioral issues.

Another show I truly enjoy is "Underdog to Wonderdog," where a rescue dog is cleaned up, trained, and placed with a great home.  The show is very well done and all the people involved clearly invest a huge amount of time and effort in placements.  The first episode I saw was heartwarming but ended in tragedy when the dog was killed, so I was leery of a second episode, but was soon hooked.  It's a heart warming show for dog lovers, no question.

An older series, apparently in endless re-runs with no new episodes, is "Champions of the Wild."  I truly love this show, as it features the story of one individual per episode and the efforts of that individual to protect, research, and conserve a particular species.  It's very well done, and apparently "educational programming" though I never saw anything that good when I was in school.

A long time favorite is "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom," with in depth stories about wildlife that never disappoints, though there is often tragedy in nature one must endure witnessing as part of the show. 

"Big Cat Diary" is another great one - capturing true life stories of cats in the Serengeti, a la Meerkat Manor, but without all the hidden cameras and year round coverage.  (Meerkat Manor is of course also not to be missed!)

In the category of "I can't believe I like this" are two similar but different shows - "I'm Alive" and "I Shouldn't be Alive."  Both are very well done and tell interesting survival (and sometimes death) stories about actual events and real people.  Since I love adventure travel I find most of these stories very interesting and am glad, at all times, that these things have not happened to me!

Once in a rare while I catch a bit of "Untamed and Uncut," but this is not as well done, with over the top voice overs and repeats of clips over and over - and it's more gaudy and less tasteful than most of the programs on Animal Planet that I enjoy. 

Being an animal lover I suppose I shouldn't be surprised Animal Planet is my favorite channel...but it is interesting the variety of programs they come up with...and obviously there must be a market out there.

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