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]

Survivor San Juan Del Sur's dark cloud is lifted

John Rocker

In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.

Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

Dick Donato

The Big Brother villain known as "Evel Dick" has finally revealed why he left the show during its 13th season: he learned he was HIV positive.

Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

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.