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On the Trail of Bigfoot Review (Episodes 1 & 2): History of the Hairy Devil

A brief history of Bigfoot in America.

On the Trail of Bigfoot is a six episode documentary miniseries from Small Town Monsters. The six episodes take a look at the famous legend and American folklore in general.  

Episode 1: ‘Creatures of Legend’

This episode is mainly concerned with introducing what the series is about and the cast of characters the audience will be watching. Right off the bath, Seth Breedlove differentiates himself from other hosts of monster hunter type shows. Many times, there is much time spent giving a detailed history of the documentarian. Here, Breedlove gives a very brief explanation as to why he has filmed OTTO Bigfoot. He also states early on it is his job to stay objective, yet he has a deep interest in Bigfoot. This sort of candor is greatly appreciated and adds credibility.

(For more about Breedlove, check out AiPT!’s Kendra Reed’s insightful interview here.)

The episode also introduces Breedlove’s crew. There is Mark Matzke who is identified as a skeptic and a Bigfoot expert (not sure how that works or will play out on the show), Loren Coleman who curates a museum of cryptozoology, and Dr. David Floyd. Floyd is the most interesting member of the team since he only seems to have a passing interest in Bigfoot. Floyd is an English Literature professor who is more concerned with the scary stories and why they exist. He is confused since Bigfoot seems to serve no purpose, such as scaring kids to be honest or not stay out too late.

The episode also deals with an incident in Washington that predates the initial “discovery” of Bigfoot in the 20th century. There are supposed newspaper reports that can be found in libraries and stories that have been passed down for generations about a family that fired shots at a creature fitting the Bigfoot description in the late 1800s. The problem here is the episode only interviews those who are already inclined to believe. It is a fun story, but that is all it is since there is not even a semblance of evidence.

More interesting is how everyone on the show discusses the history of Bigfoot. Bigfoot is a contemporary and worldwide name and hearing how far the creature dates back is a highlight of the episode.

Episode 2: ‘The Birthplace of Bigfoot’

 

The second episode gives more backstory into Bigfoot, explores the history of Bigfoot hunters, and examines locations that the creature has reportedly been seen. This episode does a better job of being impartial while still building up the mystery.

Seth Breedlove continues to impress with his matter of fact narration. It appears as if OTTO Bigfoot will be traveling all across the country to uncover information. Breedlove reminiscences about how when he was a child he would think of the Pacific Northwest when someone spoke of Bigfoot. When he heard it had been see on the East Coast also he found it ridiculous since it is so densely populated.

The episode takes place in the Pacific Northwest. The team speak to members of the Olympic Project. The Olympic Project are a very interesting group that are not out to prove the existence of Bigfoot. Instead, using cameras strategically placed in the forest, they are attempting to find clues to predict behavior. This sort of planning is logical and makes the search for Bigfoot more acceptable.

Less believable is the retired firefighter that is interviewed. Almost everyone has an incredible story about the time they saw something that was unexplainable and amazing. Bigfoot stories are especially common in the Pacific Northwest. However, someone who starts their interview with, “the first time I saw Bigfoot” instantly loses all plausibility. That being said, it is a very well told story.

Other than that one misstep, the second episode is very strong. Detailing the connection between Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman, the history of early Bigfoot hunters, and why there are still those who search for the creature, the episode does an excellent job of relaying facts instead of drumming up theories.

Overall Thoughts

The show is off to a strong start. A documentary about the search for Bigfoot can easily be derailed. Not enough skepticism turns it into a joke, while too much takes away all the fun. There is a good mix of fact and conjecture in the first two episodes.

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