Thursday, July 5, 2018
True confession time -- I hate the swamp.
Well, maybe hate is too strong a word. Let's just say that my people are hill folk. Both sides of the family come from high atop Crowley's Ridge in Craighead and Greene counties and I was born in the Ozarks (Fayetteville).
That means I have no innate affinity for the dark, murky Delta sloughs with their hidden mysteries and creepy crawlies. It's hard for me to appreciate the soothing serenity of gliding past bald cypress knees or tupelos when we all know the bayou is teeming with man-eating 'gators and fearsome killer water moccasins.
And anhingas. The swamps are swarming with anhingas!
My aversion to swamps is why I cringe whenever Discovery Channel's Naked and Afraid plops down its uncovered would-be survivalists in some snake-infested swamp. They are inevitably devoured by mosquitoes within three days.
I experience no hillbilly schadenfreude while watching, unless the couple is too cocky or whiny. C'mon, people! You signed up for this and knew there would be bugs.
For the record, Naked and Afraid has used south Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin-- the largest wetland and swamp in the country and the very place featured in History Channel's Swamp People. I check in with Swamp People from time to time just to make sure nobody has been eaten.
Death by 'gator can happen. One woman walking her dogs in a relatively un-swampy nature park next to the Florida Turnpike met just such a grisly fate last month. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there were 401 unprovoked alligator incidents in Florida from 1948 to 2017. Of those, 24 were fatal.
Still, there's an eerie beauty to the swamps and the safest way to experience them is by watching Swamp People featuring, among others, the "King of the Swamp," Troy Landry.
Swamp People has just wrapped its ninth season, but Landry is soldiering on with his own series. Another episode of Swamp Mysteries With Troy Landry airs at 7 p.m. today on History. A second episode follows at 8.
Whereas Swamp People follows the adventures of those who hunt alligators for a living in the Atchafalaya, Swamp Mysteries finds the 58-year-old Landry "fielding distress calls from family, friends and neighbors across the South, and teaming with local experts in a wild chase to help save America from hostile, menacing and often mysterious creatures."
Yes, friends, Landry is saving America one creature at a time.
History adds, "Landry discovers the who of these creatures and the myths behind them and the firsthand account of how devastating they can really be."
In tonight's first episode, "Devil Gator," Landry tracks down "a legendary monster that's terrorizing residents and fishermen of Mississippi."
In the second episode, "Dragons From Hell," Landry "hunts for the culprit behind strange disappearances near Florida's Lake Okeechobee."
Disappearances? What the heck is disappearing? Pets? People? I'm going to watch with the lights on.
Past episodes of Swamp Mysteries are available On Demand at history.com. They include "Gator vs. Python," "Hogzilla" and "Swamp Shark."
• Treehouse Masters: Trimmed 9 p.m. Friday on Animal Planet. A second episode follows at 9:30.
One of the ways an outfit can fill out the summer months is to take an existing series, then cut and paste it into something new. That's what's happening today when Animal Planet takes the hourlong Treehouse Masters and repackages it as a half-hour series by tacking the word "Trimmed" on the end.
In tonight's first episode, "Rusty Rooted River Shack," Pete Nelson visits a small town along the banks of the Mississippi River in Wisconsin to build a rustic, river shack-theme tree house for two parents looking for a place to escape.
In the second episode, "The Alaskan Treetop Sauna," Nelson builds "an arboreal abode for adventurous Alaskans." Yeah, nothing says relaxation more than having a sauna up in the trees.
• Lone Star Law: Uncuffed, 7 p.m. today on Animal Planet. This is the series debut, but it uses the same formula Animal Planet uses for its other shows that follow game wardens, such as North Woods Law and Northwest Law.
This one is set in Texas and the first episode, "Busted, Boozing & Boating," finds the game wardens "in the thick of the prime outdoor season which means plenty of revelers on land and on water. A few groups of suspects may be having too much of a good time."
That'll get you busted in Texas.
• Netflix news. Available for streaming Friday is Season 10 of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and Season 2 of Anne with an E.
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