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File:River-monsters-photo01 1310.jpg

...and you thought sharks were scary.

River Monsters is an Animal Planet series hosted by Jeremy Wade, a British biologist/extreme angler/writer/TV presenter/specialist in natural history, and produced by Bristol's Icon Films. The series began in April 2009 to the best series premiere in Animal Planet's history, most likely because it features a Badass Grandpa looking for monstrous freshwater fish.

It is an extremely potent dose of Nightmare Fuel due to that last part.

This series provides examples of the following:

  • Badass: Duh.
  • Badass Grandpa: Jeremy Wade is somewhere in his fifties, and he hunts out fish that can reach twice his weight.
    • In dangerous conditions like; at the base of a waterfall, during lulls in border conflicts, surrounded by bears, crocodiles and hippopotamuses, whatever else is hiding in the tropical rainforests near both the Amazon and Congo Rivers, or on the icy waters of an Alaskan lake. He's also suffered numerous injuries and even survived a plane crash and is still going!
  • The Catfish: Including several literal species of catfish.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Jeremy lets loose with one of these when trying native fishing techniques in one episode, actually having been encouraged to cuss out and insult the fish while trying to catch it by one of the locals teaching him. The result borders on Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • Death From Above: In one episode, Jeremy and his film crew were nearly hit by lightning when caught out during a massive thunderstorm. One of the crew actually had a headache and was nearly knocked unconscious, suggesting he might have taken a peripheral hit from the strike.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: He describes death by piranha using almost this exact term.
  • Doing It For Science: He very rarely kills the fish (or eats them), usually letting them go and even giving them a few minutes' rest if they need it. This serves as an extreme Technical Pacifist stance, since the titular river monsters are known to kill or maim people (some of them intentionally hunting people out), and all of them come close to killing him.
  • Everything's Worse with Bears: An episode in Alaska showed Jeremy having an unnerving run-in with a grizzly, as mentioned in Revolvers Are Just Better below.
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Bull Sharks, as he investigates, are not only capable of hunting in fresh water, but seem to be actively moving inland for the chance to dominate new territories and feeding grounds.
  • Follow the Leader: Hibilly Handfishing, yes, really:
  • Food Chain of Evil: Everyone knows Piranha eat people, but Arapaima eat piranha! So do dolphins incidently. Also the episodes titular Demon Fish will have a go at Crocodiles if given the chance. Which also pose a hazard in fishing, but not as more as hippos; which have goring tusks, a habit of charging like a boar on land, surprising speed and agility in the water, and the jaw strength to snap a Croc in half! There is a very good reason the crocodiles leave the hippos a wide berth, even if they are herbovores. He even managed to catch a giant stingray, that may have been a close relative of the one that got Steve Irwin, but he still won't pick a food fight with wild Bears.
  • Gonna Need More Trope: Played straight in the giant freshwater stingray episode when Jeremy hooks into one so big that it starts towing the boat he's in. The stingray later ends up snapping a heavy-duty saltwater fishing rod designed to handle Marlin!
  • Groin Attack: In the first episode of the third season, the Pacu he was after has been known to do this in New Guinea, where it is an invasive species.
    • Also the candiru; a parasitic catfish that normally targets the gills of other fish, but has been known to embed itself in the genitals of luckless humans relieving themselves in South American waterways.
  • Implacable Man: The Giant Snakehead. No loving god would create a creature capable of surviving getting shot with a harpoon to the mouth from point blank range, then driving the back end through the attacker's head, killing him.
  • Perma Stubble: Jeremy can often be seen with varying degrees of this, particularly when he's spent days out in remote places where personal grooming isn't exactly practical.
  • Pet the Dog: The episode about the Goliath Tigerfish. After failing to catch a tigerfish three times, he requested a good-luck fetish (not that kind), slept with it under his pillow, and caught a tigerfish the next day. Jeremy planned to let it go, but was told by his native companion that the fish was a gift from God, and the neighboring village was going through hard times to boot. After several minutes of wrestling with different facets of his morality, he decided to let the tigerfish go only if it was well enough to recover. It wasn't, which disappointed him, but the ecstatic reception he got when he hauled it back to the village probably more than made up for it.
  • Piranha Problem: An episode was devoted to them.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Death Ray."
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: When fishing in Alaska, the guide accompanying Jeremy carries a massive revolver for defense against bears; they later end up having to fire a warning shot when a bear approaches the group after having stolen a salmon Jeremy had hooked.
  • The Scapegoat: A rather grim example: In one episode, Jeremy visits the Congo to catch a reputed killer fish. Not long after he arrives, the village chief's brother goes missing. Since the locals believed that there's a cause for everything, they soon concluded that Jeremy had something to do with his disappearance. Luckily for Jeremy, the chief's brother makes a belated return later into the night, for if he hadn't come back, the villagers were going to stone Jeremy to death.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Title Drop: Jeremy often does this during the opening narration for each episode, followed by a graphic showing the name of that episode in case you didn't catch it the first time.
  • World of Badass: Aside from the monster fish, Jeremy sometimes encounters fellow badass fishermen and naturalists.
    • In the Nile Perch episode, two of the veteran fishermen are crocodile attack survivors and one survived a hippo attack. One of the crocodile victims had his leg amputated and was still fishing.
  • Worthy Opponent: Half of the show's premise, the other half being Paranoia Fuel.