Mermaids: The Body Found

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Mermaids
Animal-planet-mermaids.jpg
Directed by Sid Bennett
Director of Animation - Steve Gomez
Produced by Darlow Smithson, Tom Brisley
Written by Charlie Foley
Vaibhav Bhatt
Story by Charlie Foley
Vaibhav Bhatt
Distributed by Discovery Communications
Animal Planet
Running time
90 minutes
Language English

Mermaids is a documentary[1] originally aired as Mermaids: The Body Found on American TV channels Animal Planet (May 27, 2012) and Discovery Channel (June 17, 2012). It tells a story of a scientific team's investigative efforts to uncover the source behind mysterious underwater recordings of an unidentified marine body. The show presents the generally discredited aquatic ape hypothesis as evidence that mermaids exist, along with a digitally manufactured video. A sequel broadcast called Mermaids: The New Evidence aired May 26, 2013.

Mermaids: The Body Found, its sequel Mermaids: The New Evidence and several other similar programs dealing with other outrageous claims, such as the Channel 4's The Last Dragon and the fictional elements of The Discovery Channel's Shark Week dealing with a purportedly discovered "monster" shark in Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives are all recent examples of what is known as docufiction or a mockumentary, in which documentary style and programming elements are combined with fictional - or sometimes less egregiously speculative - science and fiction.[2][3] This type of programming receives particular criticism when, as in the original broadcast of Mermaids: The Body Found, there are only a few, easily missed disclaimers to indicate the speculative nature of the programming. On the contrary, the serious tone of the majority of the presentation implied that it was a factual documentary.[4][5] The first airings of the two Mermaids programs apparently fooled millions of people and also drew some of Animal Planet's largest audiences ever.[6][7]

Ratings[edit]

Mermaids: The Body Found received 1.9 million views during its US telecast premiere on Sunday, May 27, 2012. This is the network's most watched telecast since the Steve Irwin memorial special in September 2006.[8]

Criticism[edit]

Mermaids Animal planet has been criticized for giving the impression of being an actual documentary, when in fact much of the material was made up, and the scientists shown were actors.[9] Publicity for the program included a website falsely claiming government seizure of the site's domain, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put up a rebuttal to the program.[10]

See also[edit]

  • The Last Dragon, a similar program airing on Animal Planet that attempted to describe dragons in a scientific manner.
  • Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives was also a similar program that aired on Discovery Channel in which actors, playing doctors and other experts, theorized that the megalodon, a prehistoric shark that lived millions of years ago, was actually still in existence and responsible for attacks on boaters and swimmers off the coast of South Africa. Like "Mermaids", the show wove a great deal of fiction around the accepted facts that the megalodon did, indeed, exist at one time. The show told of fictitious encounters with the animal, including fictional footage of an attack on a private boat.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mermaids: The Body Found (press release)". Animal Planet Media. Retrieved 4 July 2012. This two-hour special is science fiction based on some real events and scientific theory. 
  2. ^ Mermaid Body Found? No, Bad TV http://qctimes.com/entertainment/mermaid-body-found-no-bad-tv/article_5037b13c-d040-11e1-953f-0019bb2963f4.html
  3. ^ Were you fooled by Animal Planet's mermaid special? http://www.today.com/news/were-you-fooled-animal-planets-mermaid-special-1C9379689 NBC News-The Today Show
  4. ^ Discovery Channel Provokes Outrage with Fake Shark Week Documentary; The popular network has found great success in airing shows that mislead and misinform http://entertainment.time.com/2013/08/07/discovery-channel-provokes-outrage-with-fake-shark-week-documentary/ Time Magazine. By Jacob Davidson. August 7, 2013
  5. ^ Mermaids Embodies the Rotting Carcass of Science TV http://www.wired.com/2012/05/mermaids-embodies-the-rotting-carcass-of-science-tv/ www,wired.com by Brian Switek, Mat 31, 2012.
  6. ^ Mermaid hoax drowns Animal Planet's ratings record http://www.ew.com/article/2013/05/28/mermaids-animal-planet-ratings Entertainment Weekly, by James Hibberd. May 28, 2013
  7. ^ Animal Planet's Mermaid documentary hoax fools millions yet again http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/351217#ixzz3enjReTLR By JohnThomas Didymus on May 31, 2013
  8. ^ "Animal Planet Slays With Best-Ever May in Network History". Animal Planet Press Release. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  9. ^ Jim Vorel (July 17, 2012). "Mermaid body found? No, bad TV". Quad-City Times. 
  10. ^ "Mermaids: The Body Found". Snopes.com. May 28, 2013. 

External links[edit]