History Channel aired a fictional documentary about Bigfoot on Monday night entitled, “Bigfoot Captured.” This was another show in the tradition of “Mermaids: The Body Found,” or “Lost Tapes” shown on their sister network, Animal Planet. Viewers who tuned in a few minutes late into the program or missed the fine print in the credits were led to believe that they were watching a factual, scientifically-based documentary instead of a silly, dramatized program. The show was exciting, and it may have made the hair on your neck stand up, but it was a farce: albeit, a spell-binding farce.
According to Paste Magazine.com, the show was an “abomination.” Writer Jim Vorel literally assigned a special place in Hell for networks that promote “docu-tainment.”
Let’s say, for a second, in a purely hypothetical scenario, that I was made the supreme overseer of Hell, the realm of eternal punishment and suffering. In Jim’s new and revised Hell dimension, there would be a level devoted entirely to television producers who conceived and aired content in the style of Bigfoot Captured.
Perhaps that is a bit severe, but the point is well-made that History Channel might fairly be expected to air history programs, or at least programs that are factually-based.
These type programs are not only NOT factually-based but are casted, scripted and shot just like any other dramatic programming. “Bigfoot Captured” actually captured everyone’s attention within earshot, according to my informal observation. The problem lies not in the entertainment value of the show itself but in its self-identification, categorization and the venue for its release.
The one real voice featured on the show from the “serious Bigfoot community,” if readers will permit that expression, was Dr. Jeff Meldrum from Idaho State University. He posted a disclaimer of sorts on his Facebook Page about his involvement as a “guest interviewee” on the show. He had nothing to do with the plot or overall production of the show. He also stated that he knew nothing about a capture or any samples taken. The biped seen with a drone was one of the production assistants, he admitted. Interestingly, he said that he does not even watch television!
Perhaps the History Channel will rethink their foray into dramatic productions of less-than-factual events. Judging from the reviews, there was hardly a complimentary word. This particular method of presenting fictional experts and researchers without an adequate understanding of the real nature of the programming is almost crossing some kind of invisible line, especially for the History Channel.