Grizzly Man Diaries debuts tonight, features bear footage shot by Timothy Treadwell

Tonight, Animal Planet debuts Grizzly Man Diaries, which follows Timothy Treadwell, the man killed by the bears he lived among in Alaska. Back-to-back half-hour episodes air at 9 p.m. ET for four weeks as part of Animal Planet’s increasing focus on edgier but still animal-focused unscripted TV.

Treadwell was the subject of Werner Herzog’s documentary Grizzly Man, and like that movie, which shares producers with the TV show, the new series uses footage shot by Treadwell. It combines “hundreds of hours of archived footage, private pages from his diaries and more than 10,000 still photographs,” according to Animal Planet, “showcasing the personalities of the individual bears as well as Treadwell’s passion and unique connection with them” and “truly tells the story that Treadwell hoped to share — featuring ‘his’ bears as genuine creatures to be respected, admired, loved, heralded and amazed by, not as the wild, strong and dangerous animals that killed him.”

It’s quite compelling, in part because there’s a lot of incredible raw footage of bears (and foxes), but in part because Treadwell is so oddly captivating. He narrates as if he was producing his own Animal Planet documentary, providing information and facts usually while a bear does its thing extremely close by. Some of it gets a bit pedantic, but there’s always the threat of death lingering over even those moments, like when he tells an aggressive bear, “good boy.”

An actual narrator reads from Treadwell’s diaries, and in one of those excerpts, Treadwell writes, “my life is an exciting fucking life.” It’s hard to disagree, even knowing how that life eventually ended.

Grizzly Man Diaries [Animal Planet]

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.