Friday, January 24, 2014

'Bigfoot Bounty': A Skeptic Weighs In On What Not To Do

Bigfoot judge Todd Disotell
[Editor's note: Sharon Hill is a writer who focuses on the topic of skepticism and "sciencey" sounding claims. She has a B.S. in Geosciences and a Masters degree in education focusing on science and writes for HuffingtonPostI Doubt It and Doubtful News.]


I've seen the first two episodes of Bigfoot reality show "10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty" on Spike TV. Hmm, what to say, what to say…

I had high hopes for this show. Since it has two scientists as judges (such as Todd Disotell of NYU, above) and a diverse cast of characters, it seemed promising. The "Survivor"-like show features teams who are assigned challenges and are also tasked with seeking their quarry in the darkness. Unfortunately, there are many problems with this setup.

Let me count the ways this goes off track after the jump and a clip from this week's episode, airing Friday at 10 p.m.:

  • Activity from at least a whole day must be squeezed into an hour show. Editing to make a coherent story from all these teams is near impossible and, as I feared, "Bigfoot Bounty" is poorly edited. You only see what happens to some of the teams, so if you have a favorite, you are left wondering what's up. In just two episodes, there were several moments that are confusing to the viewer due to cuts. I'm pretty certain editing gets too creative and thus, deliberately changes the meaning. Just call it a soap opera already and quit pretending it's genuine. That would be more truthful.

  • Manufactured drama abounds as with all reality shows. Close up on troubled faces, music crescendo ... I'm rolling my eyes. *Sigh*

  • They're not finding Bigfoot. I'm certain the $10 million is safe. Bigfoot will not be found via TV show, if it ever is.

  • Do we really need another competition show? These are old, contrived and predictable. The eliminations pass over those who deserve to be booted because they generate heat (instead of light).
This show had a nifty premise, but I don't agree this is the way to do a smart, unique take on Bigfoot hunting. Bigfootery is about PEOPLE -- why they believe, what's important to them, how they live their lives. It's not about the creature that is never found. The show only grazes this key target -- it misses the mark.

Millions of people love Bigfoot; he is a BIG icon. There is potential. For example, the world cries out for a fictional comedy show about Bigfoot. That would totally work. "Finding Bigfoot" is almost there" ... but it's on the wrong channel.

Spike was a good home for this gallant try about the great and mysterious wild man but I'm not sensing a winner here. The ratings were also not stellar. Even after the great amount of hype for the show in the press, the first episodes only managed about 600,000 viewers. but the second episode had a bit of an increase.

What's next on the paranormal reality front? Please, something BETTER. Producers, listen! I'll tell you what NOT to do.