Friday, October 10, 2008
What is it about a reality show that makes it superb?
You need a format that is actually interesting throughout, and that doesn't rely on 90% filler leading up to that 10% of actual drama.
You need your lead personalities to be charismatic in a warm, genuine way, rather than just being the latest smiley fame whore.
Finally, you need a decent production crew that can take advantage of the situation they're dealing with for maximum impact.
Destination Truth has all three of these qualities in spades. The premise is simple: the amazingly fun and funny lead, Josh Gates, travels to exotic locales with a small team in search of real-life legendary monsters.
Each 43 minute episode is packed with travels to not one, but two exotic locales, usually some sparsely-populated village on the edge of a jungle.
In Act 1, the setup includes a computer animation of the supposed monster, which might be a giant bat with a monkey face one week, and an enormous lake serpent the next. Then Josh joshes around with the locals, where he shows that a winning personality can overcome significant cultural barriers.
In the course of talking to them, he usually ferrets out a local or two who swears, on camera, to have had a close encounter with the creature in question. This is the part of the show where I look at the native and think "Man, could it possibly be true? Could there be a giant unknown primate in this backwater land?" That's when I'm hooked for Act 2, which usually involves a remote campsite, some infrared cameras, and Josh getting freaked out by a large creature in the nighttime jungle.
For Act 3, Josh takes whatever footage he has and asks some biology expert to review it and try to deny that the shadowy footage might be the Loch Ness Monster.
Then it's wash, rinse, repeat for the second half of the program.
This is absolutely one of my favorite shows on Hulu. I can't recommend it highly enough.
The Hulu Man
at 11:39 PM