Beast Legends (2010): “The Kraken”
Starring: Stephen Leonard, Kathryn Denning, Francis Manpaul, Scott Edwards
Air Date: September 9, 2010 10:00PM, SyFy
The cast of the show is comprised of Stephen Leonard (helpfully described as “The Adventurer” in the opening credits), Kathryn Denning (The Anthropologist), Scott Edwards (The Biologist) and Francis Manpaul (The Comic Artist). Many of you who visit this site regularly may remember Manpaul’s work from Superman/Batman, Adventure Comics, and Legion of Super Heroes. Here, he’s tasked with creating a visual profile of each week’s creatures, going so far as to travel the world to see “related” species in order to better visualize the beast.
While the show’s scholars talk a bit about some of the legends and literary inspirations for their creatures, they don’t get into too much detail about the stories that led to these monsters entering the popular consciousness. It would be interesting if later episodes looked at the “legendary” aspects of the beasts and not just the physiological elements.
Still, the show is of a piece with recent series like Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth, or what I like to think of as “credulous science” programs. That is, shows that presume that the incredible doesn’t exist but continues to ask “what if” in a social and/or (pseudo-)scientific context. They’re neat programs that explore neat nooks and crannies of history, belief, and myth. The only drawback I see is the 10PM timeslot which threatens to keep it from some of the younger viewers who might get a kick out of what’s on display.