A Cryptid is an animal which is not yet known to modern science, such as Bigfoot
, Mothman, or the Loch Ness Monster
. Sometimes, a show that is not usually focused on them will have an episode or two about them.
This type of episode can be used as a characterisation exercise, establishing some of the characters as believers
and others as skeptics
Possible plots for this kind of episode include:
- The characters spend the episode trying to find the cryptid. In a Slice of Life series, they generally don't succeed, conclude that it must not exist, and go home. (Sometimes it will be revealed to the audience that the creature is Real After All, but the characters discovering a cryptid could permanently change their lives forever, and that's BAD).
- The characters find a cryptid early in the episode, and spend the episode trying to look after it/hide it/help it find its way home.
- Characters are traveling on holiday and encounter one. (Abominable Snowman seems to be the most common one for this, what with mountain getaways and Christmas Episodes providing plenty of snowy settings).
- A show with a Monster of the Week format will have a cryptid as one of said monsters.
- A crime show may come across a murder or other crime allegedly committed by a cryptid. The characters usually find out that there's a reasonable explanation for it.
If done clumsily, this can easily result in a Bizarro Episode
Anime and Manga
- Lupin III: Fujiko's singing voice attracts the Loch Ness Monster, Lupin is tasked with collecting tears from a yeti, the entire gang goes after a mermaid's treasure... this sort of plot has happened a few times... In Anime.Lupin III, at least.
- Creamy Mami, of all things, had an episode based around a sea monster.
- In an episode of The Nineties Sailor Moon, they find a sea monster while on vacation. It doesn't have any connection to the magic of the show.
- In the short story "The Convenient Monster", The Saint uncovers a murder that looks like the work of the Loch Ness Monster. At the end of the story, the murderer is killed by the actual Loch Ness Monster.
- Goosebumps uses either stock monsters (vampires, werewolves, mummies, etc.) or original ones, the sole exception being The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena.
- Heartbeat had one episode with the cops searching for some legendary big cats that were killing sheep on the Yorkshire moors. Turned out to be incompetent sheep rustlers instead.
- iCarly has an episode centering around the hunt for Bigfoot.
- MacGyver encounters Bigfoot in the thrid season episode "Ghost Ship".
- The infamous The Six Million Dollar Man episode where Steve Austin fights with Bigfoot.
- In one episode of The Dukes of Hazzard, The Greys are hiding in Hazzard County.
- The Bones episode focusing on the Chupacabra cryptid uses it as a way to explore the difference in worldviews between rational, scientific female lead and her more open-minded male partner.
- The Invisible Man (the Sci-Fi/USA TV series) did a Big Foot episode. Big Foot turns out to be naturally invisible. And a female.
- The X-Files had enough cryptid episodes to stuff the Berlin Zoo full with them. And often subverted (and double subverted) them. A rampaging lake monster turns out to be a killer alligator while at the end the lake monster surfaces, unseen by anyone and a group of greys walking down a hill at an environmental spill turn out to be misidentification of men in Haz Mat suits.
- Interestingly enough, Supernatural completely averts it: in the course of six-and-a-third seasons, the main characters have encountered angels, zombies and everything in between, but any hunter worth his rock salt knows that Bigfoot is a hoax.
- The Wendigo was still played straight though.
- How I Met Your Mother had a "cock-a-mouse," part cockroach, part mouse, capable of flight.
- Also one cut to 2029 references this in a Background Gag, with an older, balding Marshall standing in front of a newspaper clipping reading "NYC Lawyer Captures Nessie".
- In Doctor Who, the Doctor has met up with Yeti in "The Abominable Snowmen" and the Loch Ness Monster in "Terror of the Zygons".
- A latter-season episode of Miami Vice has one of the characters being kidnapped while investigating a cult and the rest of the cast rushing to find her, only to find out that they have run into an honest-to-God Alien Abduction plot with honest-to-God aliens (the leader of which is played by James Brown). A good example of the "Bizarro Episode" variant.
- Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent, in the second episode Nelson encounters Bigfoot who helps in destroying the lunacy machine.
- Cryptid-related sidequests show up fairly often in Metal Gear:
- Metal Gear Solid 2 Substance's "Snake Tale E - External Gazer" is a story about Snake being sent by Otacon to photograph a weird sea monster that's been spotted in New York. Otacon is curious about what this means for the sciences, Mei Ling wants it in a zoo, and Snake doesn't believe it exists (and has to fight it, obviously). The sea monster is a giant version of the Mook soldiers you fight in the main game with a fin on its head, though this is never mentioned in the plot.
- In Metal Gear Solid 3, it is possible to capture the Japanese cryptid the tsuchinoko, which causes Zero to order you not to eat it and to bring it back home. If you successfully return it you get the rank 'tsuchinoko' and stealth camouflage to use. (If you eat it, it tastes delicious.) Only one exist in the game.
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker contains a chunk of Monster Hunter-pastiche missions where the player gets to fight and harvest meat from dinosaur-like monsters referred to in-universe as UM As, including Gear Rex (a non-"metal" version of Metal Gear REX). It also contains ghost photography missions where you must detect and photograph ghost guards.
- Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes has a mode where you play as Raiden to fight aliens.
- An episode of Gerry Anderson's Stingray (1964) has the submarine and crew shipped to Scotland to find the Loch Ness Monster.
- One episode of The Navy Lark has the Troutbridge crew reassigned to find the Loch Ness Monster.
- The Hamish And Dougal episode "The Monster in the Loch" has the characters accidentally burn the log that gullible tourists mistake for a monster, and then learn that it's Real After All.