Recently, Animal Planet announced the lineup for its annual Monster Week celebration of all things related to terrifying beasts, real and legendary. Monster Week 2015 will air nine nights, May 17 through May 25, on the network, and some of the premiere titles are eye-catching, to say the least, sounding more like Syfy movies, with program names including Serial Killer Tiger at Large and Killer Hornets From Hell.
Earlier this year, new Discovery Channel president Rich Ross promised no more “mockumentaries” on the channel, like has been seen with the Mermaids and Megalodon shows. That promise may have technically applied only to Discovery Channel and not its sister nets like Animal Planet, since Monster Week 2015 will also feature a new two-hour scripted feature called The Cannibal in the Jungle, described creatively in a network release as “an imaginative leap inspired by real science.” (Kind of a roundabout way of saying “fake,” but at least they’re upfront about it.)
Rounding out Monster Week 2015 will be a two-hour edition of the network’s hit River Monsters. A new River Monsters episode also kicks off the week.
MONSTER WEEK 2015 LINEUP (DESCRIPTIVE INFO FROM ANIMAL PLANET)
SUNDAY, MAY 17, AT 9PM ET/PT
MONSTER WEEK launches with RIVER MONSTERS “Africa’s Deadliest” as freshwater detective and biologist Jeremy Wade travels to Botswana in pursuit of a pack-hunting carnivore blamed for mauling the victims of a capsized boat. Jeremy’s search for these piranha-like predators leads him 40 feet beneath the surface, where he offers himself up as bait in the crocodile-infested waters of the Okavango Delta.
MONDAY, MAY 18, AT 8PM ET/PT
The tiger is one of the world’s favorite animals, but in India it’s considered a public menace. SERIAL KILLER TIGER AT LARGE attempts to track down the man-eating tiger that has an insatiable hunger for human flesh, has claimed 10 victims to date and is still out there lurking.
TUESDAY, MAY 19, AT 8PM ET/PT
The showdown between man and super predator continues with DEADLY AFTER DARK. The special follows the brave residents of Churchill, Canada as they try to endure the town’s annual migration of polar bears. It’s survival of the fittest as more than one thousand bears invade this subarctic outpost as they trek north for winter and look for food wherever they can.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, AT 8PM ET/PT
Find out what the buzz is all about when KILLER HORNETS FROM HELL premieres Wednesday. This real-life monster special follows a relentless group of hunters on a seemingly impossible mission to fight off the swarm of giant hornets quickly migrating across the globe. With flesh-melting venom and a piercing stinger, just one of these death machines can kill a full-grown man.
THURSDAY, MAY 21, FROM 8-10PM ET/PT
Viewers may never want to leave their houses again after seeing the incredible stories of people who have survived unthinkable animal attacks featured in the terrifying special MAULED, which premieres at 8PM ET/PT. And, those who survive MAULED can tune into MONSTER ISLAND at 9PM ET/PT, as a team of expert hunters cull the invasive colony of boars infected by the highly contagious and deadly Brucellosis microbe on Mona Island. The island is a true monster and one of the most forbidding and hostile environments known to man. The hunters face scorching temperatures; venomous snakes and spiders; poisonous plants that can kill you just by brushing up against them; deadly sink holes; and razor sharp coral rocks. Most terrifying is the legend of a beast far more deadly than the killer wild boar.
FRIDAY, MAY 22, FROM 7-10PM ET/PT
In I WAS BITTEN: THE WALKER COUNTY INCIDENT (working title), from 7-9PM ET/PT, the townsfolk try to uncover unexplained daily phenomena plaguing their small southern town of Jasper, Alabama. Daniel, a man who has been diagnosed as “Patient Zero,” claims to have been attacked in the woods by something unspeakable. When other victims come forward with their own troubling encounters and explanations, he leads an investigation dead set on getting to the bottom of it all. MONSTER CROC INVASION follows at 9PM ET/PT and features renowned reptilian expert and Gator Boy Paul Bedard who investigates the sharply increasing numbers of human attacks and deaths by crocodiles in Costa Rica.
SUNDAY, MAY 24, FROM 9-11PM ET/PT
The two-hour scripted feature THE CANNIBAL IN THE JUNGLE follows the story of an American scientist who was convicted of killing and cannibalizing two colleagues in the jungles of Flores, Indonesia in 1977. Branded “The American Cannibal” by the press during his trial, Dr. Timothy Darrow defended himself by claiming a mythic human-ape creature was responsible for the murders. Animal Planet’s dramatic story is an imaginative leap inspired by real science. In 2004, a study in the journal Nature announced the discovery of bones of an entirely new, remarkable species of humans. Fully grown adults stood only three feet tall, yet they were able to thrive in the chaotic and dangerous world that surrounded them. The new species was nicknamed “Hobbits,” after J.R.R. Tolkien’s diminutive heroes. These real hobbits are purported to have lived less than 20,000 years ago, which would make them the last other species of human to live alongside ourselves. But did these hobbits fully go extinct? Later, 60 Minutes sent a film crew to investigate the Nature article. While on site in Flores, the crew unearthed the local legend that the creatures may have never died out at all. Animal Planet’s scripted film THE CANNIBAL IN THE JUNGLE follows an expedition team deep into the heart of Flores Island to investigate Darrow’s claims and find out once and for all if these legendary creatures still exist.
MONDAY, MAY 25, FROM 8-10PM ET/PT
MONSTER WEEK concludes with the epic, two-hour extended Director’s Cut RIVER MONSTERS: JURASSIC-SIZED PREHISTORIC TERROR (see a clip here) as freshwater detective Jeremy Wade embarks on a mission to uncover horrifying killers from the depths of time. Featuring never-before-seen footage, monster-sized catches and one of the most horrifying creatures Jeremy ever has laid hands on, this special episode of Animal Planet’s most-watched series explores fearsome, prehistoric beasts that are brought back to life by combining Jeremy’s unique understanding of modern-day monsters with state-of-the-art CGI. Super-sized piranhas, fanged swamp sharks and the nightmarish ‘buzz-saw killer’ are but a few of the real-life predators from long-lost worlds that Jeremy encounters on his quest to unveil the most terrifying RIVER MONSTERS that ever have lived.
Deadly After Dark polar bear image: Erica Matson/Animal Planet
River Monsters photo: Jackie Forster/Animal Planet
Killer Hornets photo: Courtesy of Animal Planet