Animal Planet’s hit series River Monsters ended with season 9 three years ago, the end of an era for a show that premiered as Animal Planet’s most-watched show ever and helped redefine the network. Its host returned last year with Jeremy Wade’s Dark Waters, which lasted just one season and moved from Animal Planet to Discovery Channel.
Now, Wade is back on yet another network with a new but thematically similar show: Discovery Channel’s Mysteries of the Deep. (The show was initially going to premiere on Science Channel.)
Science Channel says the new show will have Wade “[take] on his biggest adventures yet.” As he says in the trailer below, Wade will be investigating stories that take place underwater, “where unknown is normal and understanding is rare.”
The new show premieres May 27, airing Wednesdays at 10 on Discovery Channel. It’s produced by Icon Films, which also produced River Monsters, Jeremy Wade’s Dark Waters, and Jeremy Wade’s Mighty Rivers.
River Monsters premiered in 2009 and became an immediate hit, with Wade investigating mysteries, legends, and stories in and near rivers, and often revealing that fish that were responsible for legends that imagined them to be ferocious beasts. (Its host wrote a book about his adventures: River Monsters: True Stories of the Ones That Didn’t Get Away.)
For a 2010 story I reported for NPR about Animal Planet’s focus on people, the network’s then-general manager Marjorie Kaplan compared the show to scripted dramas. “We do want people to say, OK, I’m not going to watch NCIS, I’m going to watch River Monsters because it’s a different kind of murder mystery,” she said.
In 2018, Jeremy Wade’s Mighty Rivers aired on Animal Planet, and then Discovery re-broadcast it in the summer of 2019. It was about “the Amazon, the Ganges, the Yangtze, the Mississippi, the Danube, and the Zambezi” with Jeremy Wade trying “to understand how exploitation and pollution are contributing to the ruin of rivers that were once the lifeblood of communities and home to his beloved monsters.”
Dark Waters premiered on Animal Planet last spring, but then was moved to Discovery Channel.
A press release said the show “spotlights the bizarre, the weird and the mysterious as he investigates baffling, unsolved mysteries” and “takes viewers on journeys beneath the water in remote areas, to islands lost in time and out into the open ocean to investigate reports that include, among others, entire fish species suddenly disappearing; unexplained sightings of mythical beasts; once thriving rivers now empty; and genetic oddities that may have produced the biggest monsters yet.”
The new show, Mysteries of the Deep, was initially announced as premiering on Science Channel before having its premiere pushed back and moved to Discovery Channel.
The original announcement suggests it’s still heavily focused on mysteries, though perhaps fewer mythical creatures, even though one episode will focus on the Loch Ness Monster. Instead, it looks at mysteries involving people:
“The deep and dark depths of the ocean are full of secrets. Each week, Jeremy will delve into several unsolved mysteries using science along with incredible archive footage, eyewitness accounts and expert analysis to find answers. No topic is off-limits, no matter how strange it may sound. Jeremy will search for lost treasure, missing ships and planes and clues behind strange ocean bed discoveries. But just how far will he go into the unknown? And will he be able unravel the secrets behind these mind-boggling stories?”
The press release broke down several of the episodes:
“In one of the episodes, Jeremy looks at a revolutionary new technique to identify the Loch Ness Monster. Stories of this underwater creature have stood the test of time. Jeremy has investigated monsters all over the world, but the Loch Ness remains one of the biggest mysteries of all. Now new sightings and state-of-the-art science may unmask this famed monster once and for all. Jeremy will take viewers beyond the attention-grabbing headlines in search of real answers. Will he put together the clues to finally solve this mystery once and for all?
But these aren’t the only mysteries that Jeremy will explore. He’ll also look at the ultimate tale of survival where a man managed to stay alive for 3 days trapped in a shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean. What is the secret to survival? And what should you do in a scenario when all odds are against you? Finally, Jeremy will delve into the gruesome discoveries washing up on the shores of British Columbia. Shockingly, it isn’t an isolated incident. Was it the mafia? A secret government coverup? Or the work of a serial killer? Jeremy will follow the clues as well as a team using the latest techniques in marine forensics to shine some light on this mystery.”