Tag Archives: Billy Boyd

Wild Things, season two

WildThings-ShowThumbThis show could also be titled ’45 minutes of me watching through my fingers’.  Because…there are almost always snakes. Case in point: In the first episode, Dom is searching for a ‘Giant Spitting Cobra’ in Kenya.  Cobras are, without a doubt, the scariest animals in the entire world. I have a difficult time even standing next to the life-size cardboard cobra at our zoo. And as amusing as I find this picture:


The picture scares me so much I think I have to delete it from my computer right away. My mom told me once that she rented Silence of the Lambs. She watched 15 minutes of it, and couldn’t go any farther. She had to rewind it immediately and take it back to the video rental place (kids: ask your parents what this was)–she didn’t want it in the house. My fear of snakes is really strong. I am prepared to move one day to New Zealand, Ireland, or Hawaii.  No snakes in those places. None at all. But what if I’m flying to my new snake-free haven and the plane is filled with snakes?!  I’m not Samuel L. Jackson; I will not survive that shit. I’d probably fling myself off the plane rather than deal with that.

But I digress. Back to the show.

This season, Dom continued to search for unusual, unique, and difficult-to-find animals. Usually of the non-cuddly variety. He looked for a Gaboon Viper in Zambia, the aforementioned cobra, the Titan Beetle in Brazil, Gila monsters in the SW US, Box Jellyfish off the coast of Australia, etc. There was a truly fucking terrifying bit with an anaconda that I had to watch from the other room. But, there were a few more cuddly and likeable animals in the mix this season. He looked for the Ghost Bat (yes, bats are cute. if you disagree, you are wrong), a tiny Lemur Leap Frog, and the Slow Loris, possibly the 3rd cutest animal ever. If you’re wondering, my dog was the cutest animal ever.  That’s just a fact.

There were also some great moments when Dom helped a sloth cross a road, hung out with some tiger cubs, and there’s a really interesting bit with an elephant.

DominicMonaganWildThings02_m_0324They have to sedate it so that they can help to dress a would it’s received from poachers. Poachers, by the way, are the world’s worst people. They help the elephant, but there are a few really sketchy moments after it wakes up.  Frank (the cameraman) almost gets trampled.  Later, Frank gets hit with a nasty bit of jumping cactus.

My favorite part of the season was when Dom re-united with his fellow hobbit, Billy Boyd.  Part of the reason I’ve had a crush on Dom for the last ~10 years is because I watched/listened to all the Lord of the Rings special features. He and Billy are hilarious together and I have a sort of deep affection for them both. So a reunion was very fun to see, though Billy is starting to look like an adult man, and I disapprove of that in general. I mean…he’s 45, but still!

tumblr_n54865IyDS1sm6um6o1_500Luckily, Dom still looks like a 10-year old, who is about to see a fire truck.

They toured New Zealand together, looking for the Giant Wetapunga. Billy brought his snake stick, which is particularly funny since there are no snakes in New Zealand.  I would definitely watch a show that just followed the two of them around in their regular lives.  Get on that, TV gods.

My only real complaint is (once again) with BBC America.  WHY do you, BBC America Execs, choose to show me only 45 minutes of a 1 hour show? You suck. Just make it an hour and 15 minutes. Then you can fit your commercials in, and I still get to see all of the stuff. Or if you can’t do that, put the cut scenes on the website so I at least have a chance to see them. It’s fucking ridiculous. I missed major scenes in Broadchurch, which made me irritated. With this show, I knew because of interviews (and the presence of a bandage) that Dom got hurt during the filming of the 2nd season. In the interviews, he admitted he needed 40 stitches, but didn’t want to say what animal it was, so people would tune in and see what happened. Well, they cut that bit. Fuck you, BBC America.  You know, in the age of the DVR, there’s no need for this crap.  I record the show, so I don’t care if it ends at 9 or 9:15. Just show the whole show. Or at least make it possible for me to see the whole thing. What is the point of you, you network? You make me unreasonably angry. I want to stomp on your foot.

To make myself less angry, here’s a picture of Dom and a sloth.


Upcoming British TV

It’s that time of year again!  Time for Christmas specials, followed closely by new premieres in 2014!  We’ve got a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

First, there is the Christmas special for Doctor Who

Doctor Who, Christmas Special 2013 - Artwork: Jenna-Louise Coleman and Matt SmithThe Time of the Doctor  (Christmas Day in the UK and US) will mark the end of Matt Smith’s run and the beginning of Peter Capaldi as our 12th incarnation of the eponymous Doctor.  As happens every time there is a regeneration, I am dreading it, but know that the new Doctor will win me over pretty quickly.  It happened with 10 and with 11, so I have faith that 12 will be just as good.  Okay, no one is actually as good as David Tennant, but they do try…

The Downton Abbey Christmas special will play on Christmas Day in the UK, but the US will have to wait a few months–we haven’t even aired season 4 yet.  Season 4 premieres on PBS January 5th. So the Christmas Special will air sometime in February or March.  Festive.  I am looking forward to it because we finally get to see Paul Giamatti as Cora’s rakish, financially-irresponsible brother


I also notice Edith missing from this picture.  I won’t spoil anything for those who haven’t seen season 4, but I’ve got a guess where she is…

One week after Christmas is (to me) the most important premiere of the last several years.  Sherlock (series 3) premieres on Jan 1st in the UK, January 19th in the US (again on PBS).

sherlock_series_3_fan_poster_2_by_crqsf-d52873pI’m almost done with my re-watch of the first two series.  I just have the heinously painful, ugly-cry-inducing Reichenbach Fall. And then there will finally be new episodes! There’s rumor of a mini-episode premiering on Christmas Day (on BBC 1) that acts as a sort of prequel to Series 3. (Here’s hoping I can find it online).  The proper episodes run January 1st, 5th, and 12th in the UK.

A boatload of new shows and season premieres are slated for Spring 2014 here in the US.

Fleming-The Man Who Would Be Bond is a BBC America look at Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond.  It stars Dominic Cooper as Fleming, and looks like a combination between The Hours and Mad Men.

460x300_flemingThat’s Lara Pulver (aka Irene Adler) as the proto-Bond girl, Ann O’Neill.  I’ll withhold judgment on this one–I’m not a big fan of Bond, but I’ll give it a try. It premieres January 29th.

Despite being (rudely) cancelled after its second series/season in the UK, Ripper Street will get a full second season airing in the US.  I’ve already heard that the ‘finale’ wasn’t very rewarding, because the showrunners didn’t know (or didn’t know early enough) about the show’s fate.  Season 2 premieres on BBC America in February (no fixed date yet, that I’ve seen).

March 30th will be a big day for PBS viewing.  Call the Midwife AND Mr. Selfridge return for their 3rd and 2nd seasons, respectively. Here’s a trailer for Mr. Selfridge:

April 13th sees season 2 of The Bletchley Circle premiere on PBS.  It premieres much earlier (January 6th) in the UK.

Shortly after, on April 19th, Orphan Black finally returns on BBC America.

There are several other shows without announced premiere dates, but we know are coming soon.

The Musketeers–a BBC America show, taking place in 17th century Paris. The (four) Musketeers are all hot young men in this incarnation of the classic story. I’ll give it a try, though I’m not really one to go for men with feathers in their hats. The BBC America website says ‘Coming in 2014’, so this one could be a while.

Similarly, they’re very vague on the dates for a few other shows.  In the Flesh is definitely going to have a second season/series, but all the info they give is ‘Spring 2014’.  I would guess March or April.

Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan is already filming season 2, with special guest star and fellow hobbit, Billy Boyd.  No release date for that one either, but I’m guessing late Spring/early Summer, based on my zero expertise.

It’s going to be a busy season of TV watching this Spring!

Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan

Dom's Wild ThingsThe first season of Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan, finished in the UK early this year and on BBC America this Month.  It was a short season, with only 8 episodes.  Each one saw my favorite hobbit off to an exotic region of the world in search of rare animals. The sort of animals you don’t see on TV. Creepy crawlies, reptiles, spiders, scorpions, etc.  These aren’t the cutest of animals, I must say.

Now I love all animals, wish them all well, don’t eat them, don’t wear leather.  But there are some animals I just want to stay away from me.  They can go be happy and healthy somewhere else.  Almost every one of the animals on my list have been featured on this show.  On the other hand, there are plenty of TV shows (and internet videos) that feature the cute and the cuddly. Very few show us giant beetles, water bugs, centipedes or huntsman spiders.  And (not to sound like the most stereotypical of bleeding-heart liberals) they are really important to the ecosystems, and less likely to be protected because they’re just not as appealing as a koala bear. More exposure for them and all the cool things they can do is a good thing. So, I approve.  Plus, Dom is awesome. Had a crush on him since Fellowship of the Ring.  So, obviously I was always going to watch and like this show.  There’s no point in me reviewing it because it’s a forgone conclusion. Yes, I liked it.

Here’s a brief rundown of where Dom goes and what he sees:

In Vietnam, he comes across a few incredibly dangerous snakes, saves a lizard from being someone’s dinner, swims in a crocodile-infested lake, and finds the elusive Giant Water Bug:

giant water bug

In Episode 2, he continues on to Laos in search of the Giant Huntsman Spider.  This is a creature that could give me nightmares for the rest of my life, but Dom is thrilled to see it. Along the way he encounters another reticulated python, a beautiful green tree viper, and a very dubious fireworks festival.

Dom and tree viper

Episode 3 takes him to Namibia (near S. Africa) in search of a Black Hairy Thick Tail Scorpion.  He also meets some snakes (he always finds snakes), an adorable meerkat, a gecko and monitor.  He eventually finds what is the most terrifying scorpion I’ve ever seen–excepting the 10-foot long model of one at the Natural History Museum in London–and messes about with it until it’s angry. He does that a lot.

Episode 4 is in search of a truly disgusting creature, the Scolopendra.  Gross! I can’t help it, this guy is yucky.

scolopendraI really dislike the centipedes I get in my apartment.  Imagine the same thing, but big enough to eat a bat–to snatch it from the air.  Well, you don’t have to imagine, because you get to see it in this episode.  I had to close my eyes. While in Venezuela, Dom finds an adorable three-toed sloth, snakes, tarantulas, and a beetle larva the size of a banana.

In episode 5, Dom heads to Cameroon to find a Giant White Goliath Beetle.  As usual, he encounters snakes and other bugs and insects along his way.

Episodes 6 and 7 deal with swarming animals, Army ants and Giant Malaysian Honey Bees.  It’s ridiculous, the power that these animals can exert as a group, and the way that they work together like a school of fish to ward off or fight predators.  Amazing and terrifying.  Here’s a colony of the honey bees, defending their honeycomb:

honey beesWe also learn about a bird called the Honey Buzzard, who is simultaneously brilliant and a huge jerk.  He wants the honey, but obviously would like to avoid being stung by (literally) thousands of bees.  So he waits for another animal to wander by near the hive, then agitates the bees before flying off.  The bees zoom out to attack the unsuspecting animal below, and the honey buzzard descends on the unprotected hive.  Sometimes the honey buzzards work in pairs and one will act as a decoy.  This is some seriously brilliant hunting.

In the final episode, Dom heads to Guatemala to find the Guatemalan Beaded Lizard.  This is a huge lizard that is incredibly venomous, and so dangerous that locals have all sorts of myths and legends. They believe if you step in the animals shadow, you will die within 24 hours.  They also tend to kill all lizards they find, assuming they are Beaded Lizards.  It’s a pretty intimidating animal:

Guatemalan Beaded Lizard

I loved seeing all of these animals and learning more about them. I will freely admit that I spent a lot of time (a LOT) watching through my fingers. I’m terrified of snakes, and all nature shows really enjoy the strike shot.  It’s the nature show version of porn’s money shot.  We see cobras, rattlesnakes, vipers, all striking right at the camera.  No thank you. But, I still watched. And would watch again.

Dom is a great host, even if you don’t have a crush on him.  Evidence: My boyfriend liked the show.  And he’s not really into animals.  It’s just a cool show where you learn things you wouldn’t really learn elsewhere. Dom is brave (this bravery resembles stupidity sometimes), smart, funny, and passionate.   This isn’t a show he was approached to do, this is a passion he’s held all his life, and it is obvious.

While watching, I was overcome with reactions that seemed very similar to how I felt when I used to watch Steve Irwin.  There’s a real sense of ‘why the fuck is he doing that?’ and ‘that isn’t a good idea!’.  I sincerely hope Dom doesn’t come to the same sort of ending as Steve Irwin. He definitely likes to push the boundaries of what seems safe, and it totally makes sense that he has said the biggest difficulty in getting a new season for the show is negotiating with insurance companies.

On the other hand, there are moments that sort of make you think that reptiles and bugs might be a lot more docile than most mammals–and are certainly more docile than we imagine them to be.  In one particular moment, in the very first episode, Dom has what can only be described as a cuddle with a HUGE reticulated python.

Dom and a pythonDom picks up the snake and they sort of snuggle in the tree until the snake falls asleep–I am not making this up.  Part of the reason he fails safe doing this, Dom says, is that the snake is so big that he doesn’t even consider Dom a threat.  The snake is more than large enough to kill him.

It’s an amazing moment, and really made me think about my fear of snakes.  After all, can you think of a mammal that would let you do that?

And all through the series, Dom picks up venomous and dangerous creatures that could easily bite, sting, or squeeze him into some serious injuries…but they don’t, for the most part.  Part of that is that Dom seems to be able to read their body language and discern when they’re really irritated and when they are quite calm.  I’m amazed that people can do this–it took me 2 years to figure out what it looks like when my cat is irritated, and I have the scars to prove it.

Suffice it to say, I loved this show.  I really hope they manage to make a second season. Dom has said he’d like to get Billy Boyd and other friends from LotR and Lost on the show with him, and that would be spectacular.