Mermaids: The Body Found is an Animal Planet mockumentary that takes a look at this hypothetical situationÂ—what if the half-human, half-fish creatures really did exist, and what if man discovered them?
But the show's aquatic beings are nothing like Disney's human-obsessed ArielÂ—they look more like Avatar aliens with tails or the Harry Potter merpeople and should definitely want nothing to do with humans.
Anyone who tuned in over the Memorial Day weekend to watch one of the showings of the mockumentary hoping to see real evidence of merpeople ended up being sorely disappointed. And hopefully most viewers realized that the show wasn't real by the time it was overÂ—it doesn't seem as though Animal Planet was really trying to fool the public with a modern-day Fiji mermaid. P.T. Barnum popularized the Fiji mermaid sideshow attraction shown in the photo on the rightÂ—it was basically a mummified monkey head and torso sewed to that of a fish and covered with papier-mÃ¢chÃ©.
In Mermaids: The Body Found, researchers for NOAA are investigating whale beachings all around the world. They decide that the Navy is testing a new kind of sonar that's causing the creatures to beach themselves, and while listening to some of the sonar recordings that took place during the testing, they hear what seems to be a new species of dolphin.
They eventually discover that these creatures are actually merpeople after being shown the body of one of them inside a white shark. The researchers speculate that long ago a group of human ancestors evolved to become sea creatures (something called the aquatic ape theory), which actually isn't that farfetched of an ideaÂ—after all, whales and dolphins evolved from land animals. And underwater, dolphins are like the merpeople's dogsÂ—they help them hunt and even get petted every now and then. But merpeople are a bit more advanced than humans in that they can actually communicate with their "pets."
The NOAA team runs into trouble during their research when authorities confiscate the body and all of their research. The Navy is the big enemy hereÂ—they kill whales with their sonar equipment; keep one of the merpeople that gets beached captive for two years after they discover that it's alive; and try to cover up the existence of the creatures. If this mockumentary were turned into a movie, some plucky kid would befriend the merperson and set it free, but instead it simply dies in captivity. By the end of the show, all of the NOAA researchers but one have decided that it's best to leave the merpeople aloneÂ—one guy decides to dedicate his life to finding them, and if this were a movie, he'd fall in love with a mermaid and become one of them through some kind of advanced mermaid technology from Atlantis (think Avatar under the sea).
Although the show didn't feature a real merperson body, it was actually a really fun special that's a bit reminiscent of the Animal Planet series Lost TapesÂ—that show probably confused a lot of people with its found footage feel. It created hypothetical (and often frightening) situations featuring cryptids like the Chupacabra, Mothman, Dover Demon, and some more obscure mythical creatures. The mockumentary about merpeople features one Lost Tapes-like moment when a kid captures cell phone camera footage of the merperson that the Navy plucked from the beachÂ—the creature appears to be dead, but lunges at the child after he pokes it with a stick. It's just a shame that all the Lost Tapes episodes weren't more like Mermaids: The Body Found.
So did you check out the show and enjoy it, or did it disappoint you by failing to be real?
Photo Source: Wikimedia