Dark Days Indeed – The Unique Geek


Dark Days In Monkey City We here at The Unique Geek are always on the lookout for the next cool television show and we have a list we work from to determine whether or not it reaches the coolness that is “Unique Geek” (who are we kidding? We are not cool). So when someone emails us (thegeeks[at]theuniquegeek[dot]com) and says they have the next cool thing – they better deliver.

We first heard of Animal Planet’s (you read that right) “Dark Days In Monkey City” from an email sent to the group from Animal Planet corporate.  Normally we (actually just Simon) don’t like getting unsolicited emails for production companies (my argument is how else are we going to find out about this stuff otherwise… but I digress.)  So I was very surprised when Simon didn’t immediately unleash a tirade on the ills of spamming websites.  The lack of response piqued my interest so I had to click on the link to check out this latest offering from Animal Planet (again, you read that right).  What I found was an amazing piece of film making and storytelling.

Dark Days in Monkey City is the story of the deserted city of Polonnaruwa (also known as Monkey City) in Sri Lanka, where large populations of toque macaques live and rule the streets…

So why should you, dear TUG reader, care about this series? That is where it gets interesting…

Animal Planet decided to get away from the “traditional” documentary style visuals and went in a “new” direction. Their goal was to use visual elements so as to invoke a graphic novel-like feeling. The sort of visual effects that Sin City, 300, and The Spirit used. The end result is amazing. It adds a visual element that takes a great story (more on that in a second) and elevates it. The visuals do what they are supposed to – it sets the mood and draws you in to the story without being a distraction.

But, what makes DDIMC stand out for me is not so much the animation. It isn’t the fact it has monkeys in it (which, let’s face it, makes anything better.) It is the story and HOW it is being told. The humanization of the toque macaques is the best part of this series. We see the basest of human nature in the Temple Clan. It tells a story that is Macbeth-ian in scope and tone. It is a tale of deception, violence, triumph, heroism, and love. In short, it has all of the elements that we geeks look for in a great comic or movie.

To write and create the story they brought in Man Of Action studios. MOA is known to the kiddies as the guys behind Ben 10 (my son’s current favorite). They are also the folks behind some great comics including:  Godland, GI Joe Americas Elite, American Virgin, Blue Beetle, Supergirl, and  Metal Men. Some of these titles are Unique Geek favorites. These guys know how to tell a story.

Plus folks, there is a cherry on top of this fine program – it is narrated by the great John Rhys-Davies (if you don’t know who he is – turn in your geek-cred card now.)

So back to that list we use to determine a shows goodness…

  1. Great Story – Check!
  2. Cool Visuals – Check!
  3. Action/Violence/Shakespearian Sensibilities – Check! Check! Check!
  4. Crazy Monkeys – OH YEAH!

Check out new episodes on Animal Planet (and Animal Planet HD) Tuesdays at 10PM.

Check out the Animal Planet website for rerun times (this is basic cable after all – there WILL be reruns).

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