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Ex-Lost star Dominic Monaghan blisses out in BBC America's Wild Things

Dominic Monaghan gets bug-eyed in new Wild Things. BBC photo

Premiering: Tuesday, Jan. 22nd at 9 p.m. (central) on BBC America
Starring: Dominic Monaghan
Produced by: Dominic Monaghan, Dave Brady

Some Lost stars have found success in other scripted series. Michael Emerson in CBS' Person of Interest. Elizabeth Mitchell in NBC's Revolution. Daniel Dae Kim in CBS' Hawaii Five-0.

Others have found flops. Terry O'Quinn in ABC's 666 Park Avenue. Jorge Garcia in Fox's Alcatraz.

Dominic Monaghan, who played well-meaning but tragic Charlie Pace on Lost, has immersed himself in quite a different venue. He's first seen popping his head from the murky waters of Vietnam's Crocodile Lake in BBC America's Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan.

"I've come in search of a fascinating aquatic assassin," he tells viewers. "The remarkable giant water bug."

For some unearthly reason, Monaghan yearns to find one of 'em and hold it in his hand without getting bit. Because this insect's specialty
is injecting a toxin that liquifies the innards of its prey. A ready-made feast is then sucked up "like a milkshake," he says. The only known humanoid with such predatory powers is Donald Trump.

Monaghan makes for a very enthusiastic host of this eight-part series. And he's definitely hands-on. During an exploratory boat trip down the Mekong River, he spies a giant python relaxing in a tree.

Noting that pythons "rarely attack humans," Monaghan proceeds to climb the tree and bond with the creature. "I'm loving the privilege of spending some time with such a majestic animal," he says. "A stupendously beautiful animal. And now we're both tired."

Monaghan says his two loves in life are acting and wild things, not necessarily in that order. And he genuinely seems to mean this, even though it's always hard to determine how much real jeopardy is involved in shows of this sort. Not that most people would go where he goes in pursuit of new thrills and experiences.

The host eventually hooks up with entomologist Bob Sites, who accompanies him to the crocodile-infested waters where giant water bugs also have been known to hang out. En route to their meeting, Monaghan stops to shop and eat in exotic nighttime Ho Chi Minh City. Adventurous eating has its limits, though. So Monaghan does not order the "Steamed Penis and Balls of Goat" on the menu at an outdoor restaraunt. I'll bet it goes great with a nice steaming cup of elephant urine.

Wild Things is very nicely shot and buoyed throughout by its star's upbeat persona. In future episodes he'll encounter the likes of "flesh-slicing army ants" and a "giant venomous centipede."

"These little droplets of sweat spell adrenalin," Monaghan says while pausing to grab a ground-level Monocle Cobra by its tail during the opening episode's search for those nasty water bugs.

For me, the same affect can be achieved by opening a fresh pack of baseball, football or basketball cards. But that wouldn't make for much of a TV series.