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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » MonsterQuest: Season Three, Set One
MonsterQuest: Season Three, Set One
A&E Video // PG // June 30, 2009
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Kauffman | posted June 19, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:
They're baaaaaack. Those intrepid researchers of MonsterQuest, a show I lauded in its first season for interesting investigations and at least occasional actual conclusions, continues apace in its third season. Unfortunately, the monster quotient is getting pretty silly by now, so that I half expected an episode to start with "Sally Jones woke up from an outdoor camping trip with strange bites and welts on her arms and legs. That's when she realized she had been attacked by the (cue portentous music) killer mosquito!" And just as unfortunate, if not more so, the show now seems genetically incapable of ever stating flat out whether or not any given "monster" exists. I think they might want to rebrand the show MaybeQuest.

For those of you who haven't seen this regular offering on The History Channel, MonsterQuest is one of that network's many offerings that have a rote format down, and never stray from it. We get a brief opening tease about that week's monster (things like Bigfoot--repeatedly in the second season, vampires or in this season for example, The Jersey Devil), and then field agents go out and interview eyewitness accounts (often the source of unexpected merriment for the viewer if you have a somewhat jaundiced sense of humor). Often some sort of scientific analysis comes into play, as in this season's pretty gory and graphic episode on cattle mutilations.

This first half of the third season contains the usual suspects, along with a couple of more interesting outings. Thankfully, unlike the second season, we don't have virtually every other episode dealing with Bigfoot or Sasquatch or any of his/her hairy cousins. There's a passingly interesting episode on what may have happened to Nessie, the Loch Ness monster dealt with in a previous episode. Of course, we get two disparate theories, which my younger son summed up as, "It's either dead or doing better than ever." That's the major problem with this series--if just once we got an outright "yes" or "no," it would go a long way toward establishing the series' credibility on the scientific level, something it at least pretends to strive for.

Another sort of creepy episode (and creepiness is a relative term here, as virtually all the episodes may give more impressionable youngsters a fright or two) deals with alligators in the sewers, and may have you thinking twice before taking a seat on a toilet. The cattle mutilation episode is probably the most unusual outing this season thus far, with some disturbing imagery that is not for the faint of heart. The Jersey Devil episode, as unlikely as its subject may be, at least offers some giggle-worthy moments as the show keeps a figurative straight face while attempting to prove the existence of a creature with bat wings, a horse head and a serpent tail. No, I'm not kidding, and they at least pretend they're not, either.

MonsterQuest is an agreeable enough time filler with these eight episodes, and adventurous kids like mine will probably get a kick out of it. Mixing a sort of faux scientific inquiry helps to at least establish a quasi-rigorous look at these beasts and ghoulies, but the show's inerrant inability to draw firm conclusions ends up sinking most episodes before they ever really begin. But maybe that's the allure of things that go bump in the night--their mere unknowability is what gives them their fear quotient.

The DVD

Video:
It's a History Channel release, folks, so you know what you're going to get: an unenhanced 1.78:1 image that's OK by television standards, nothing more, nothing less. MonsterQuest does use a lot of filters and other post-production effects to spice up the visual quotient, and those offer a little pizazz to an otherwise pretty standard looking series. There's nothing horrible here, but nothing exceptional either.

Sound:
The DD 2.0 soundtrack is a bit better, with lots of fun effects and creepy music cues snaking their way through the omnipresent narration and on screen interviews, which are always clear and centrally placed. The series is close captioned.

Extras:
None are offered.

Final Thoughts:
MonsterQuest may have worn out its welcome. It's simply becoming a case of "been there, done that" with this series. That said, younger boys especially will probably sit through it at least once (though, as stated above, parents should pre-screen episodes if their children are easily startled by graphic imagery), so if you need a few minutes to yourself, you might want to Rent It.

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"G-d made stars galore" & "Hey, what kind of a crappy fortune is this?" ZMK, modern prophet

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