Follow TV Tropes


Series / Monsters We Met

Go To

Monsters We Met is a BBC Documentary Mini-Series from 2003. It was shown on Animal Planet under the name Land of Lost Monsters. Its focus is on the prehistoric encounters between Homo sapiens and the most spectacular extinct species on three continents: The first episode ("The Eternal Frontier") was in North America, the second ("The Burning") in Australia, and the third ("The End of Eden") in New Zealand. Each episode was an hour long (including commercial breaks) and narrated by Ian Holm.


Tropes used in Monsters We Met:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Although the companion book is not a classical adaptation, rather than dramatizing the events, it goes in detail to explain the science between the animals and people appearing in the program, but does contain many new animal descriptions, and two whole new continents, Africa and Europe, as well as several islands, such as Madagascar, Hawaii and Easter Island, which were completely ignored in the TV show, save for a less than a minute walkthough of Easter Island in "The End of Eden".
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Well, more antagonist than outright villain, but the death of the Megalania in "The Burning" is portrayed in a rather tragic light.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Played straight by the short-faced bear in "The Eternal Frontier". It appears in the introduction sequence, and later when one of the hunters returns to scavenge the dead mammoth. It completely ignores the presence of the mammoth, laying there just for it, and instead pursues the hunter into the forest to kill him. Super-Persistent Predator indeed. The bear's prey drive was triggered by the hunter running away as soon as the animal saw him so it is somewhat justified.
  • Advertisement:
  • Big Bad: The short-faced bear in "The Eternal Frontier", the megalania in "The Burning", and the Haast eagle in "The End of Eden". None of those three animals are truly evil; they were simply being predators by nature.
  • Cats Are Mean: A saber-toothed cat attacks the early Americans in "The Eternal Frontier".
  • The Chief's Daughter: Played straight by the main protagonist in "The Eternal Frontier".
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Snares penguins appear in an extremely minor role in "The End of Eden"
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: "The Burning" is set in Australia, after all.
  • Feathered Fiend: Played straight by the Haast eagle in "The End of Eden", which kills people for food. Averted by the harmless giant moa, and the somewhat weird genyornis.
  • Foregone Conclusion: All the coolest of the animals will go extinct. No spoiler.
  • Advertisement:
  • Gentle Giant: The giant ground sloth, diprotodon, and giant moa plays these straight.
  • Giant Flyer: The Haast eagle.
  • Green Aesop: At the end of "The End of Eden", it's stated that modern humans must take better care of the environment if we are to avoid continuing to drive species to extinction.
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: Played straight with the mammoth, giant ground sloth, giant moa, and diprotodon.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Not thoroughly, but "The End of Eden" has the undercurrent that humans are bastards, and turn other magnificent species extinct.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The whole premise of the show was to depict how humans made all the prehistoric megafauna extinct, even the deadliest predators.
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia: Oddly, the show's creators ignore the prehistoric giant kangaroo procoptodon, but does show modern red kangaroos as the main prey of the aborigines.
  • Kidnapping Bird of Prey: The Haast's eagle kills a Maori woman in its first appearance.
  • Kill It with Fire: The aborigines in "The Burning" eventually resort to do this to the megalania. It works, and the species goes extinct. The Maori also do this to the giant moa in "The End of Eden", which also makes the species extinct.
  • Land Down Under: "The Burning"
  • Mama Bear: Averted with the mother Genyornis. She is described to be one, until the megalania starts devouring her eggs. She does not dare to interfere.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Played straight by saltwater crocodiles, which are actually modern animals. One of the aboriginals is killed by one in "The Burning".
  • Panthera Awesome: Although not thoroughly, the homotherium, or scimitar toothed cat in The Eternal Frontier, is greatly admired, namely in the book, as being capable of eating mammoths. And of course, the saber-toothed cat, although it does not get that much of a role.
  • Prehistoric Monster: Mostly averted, but played straight by the short faced bear, the megalania, and the Haast eagle, although a shed of sadness is placed on the fact that they did go extinct.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Played straight in most of "The Burning". The brown snake appears and is described as very deadly, a saltwater crocodile kills one of the aboriginals, and a megalania is the Big Bad of the episode. Averted by the frilled lizard and the peretnie though, as well as the tuatara in "The End of Eden".
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: In multiple sequences, live-acted animals appears alongside computer animated oens, occasionally for goofy results.
  • Savage Wolves: Dire wolves appear in "The Eternal Frontier", but only in a minor role, and live-acted by wolves.
  • Slurpasaur: Averted by the main animals, such as the short-faced bear, megalania and moa, but played straght by the Haast eagle and American lion, which are portayed by a harpy eagle and African lion, respectively.
  • Stock Footage: The prehistoric animals in "The Eternal Frontier" were recycled from Wild New World. Also, "The End of Eden" had recycled clips from Walking with Beasts, Walking with Cavemen, Wild New World, and the other two episodes.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Although dinosaurs do not appear (other than the birds, of course), the mammoth and saber-toothed cats were a must, apparently.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Played straight with the megalania, short-faced bear, and Haast eagle.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: