Alaska Week

Over on Discovery Network it's Alaska Week again. They're rolling out new shows and using the wilds of Alaska to promote them. Some are naturals, like Deadliest Catch and Out of the Wild since both of those shows take place entirely in Alaska.

Others, like Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs, just have one episode that takes place in Alaska.

This is the second season they've done Out of the Wild and the format has changed quite a bit. Now it's a single team of 9 people that are supposed to follow a map 56 miles over around 6 weeks time to their destination. They had a two-day survival class before starting the reality show but little else. Last season the people were broken into small teams, sent to specific locations where partial provisions were cached, and then needed to live off the land for the rest.

The show's not really all that interesting but the footage of the area is breath taking. They use the great camera equipment and the HD broadcast is just amazing. It's worth watching just for the visuals---you just have to ignore the people element that gets very whiny. How could anyone embark on a contest like this and not know they were going to go through Hell? And these people aren't doing it for a tangible reward like on Survivor--they're doing it just for the experience. Scary!

There's two new boats on Deadliest Catch but you won't see them on the first episode, airing this week. This is all about celebrating the boats and crew that have appeared on most or all of the first 4 seasons. It feels a little insular. In a departure from past seasons, the first episode makes it seem like these 4 boats (Northwestern, Time Bandit, CorneliaMarie, and Wizard) are the entire Alaskan King Crab fleet. In the past there's been more coverage, at least in the first episode, of the 80-plus boats that set sail each year for the very short King Crab season, often only a couple of weeks long.

In part this change is due to the aging of the Captains and their boats. Several of the men that viewers have gotten to know over the past 4 years have serious health issues and their boats seem to share this poor bill of health. This first week is characterized by this form of drama. The show doesn't even head out to sea until 35 minutes into the broadcast.

One very nice thing is that the cameras used for Deadliest Catch have been upgraded. The HD broadcast is really impressive. As the season develops and the boats encounter bad weather and long hours, anyone who gets seasick had better take their dramamine. It's going to look very realistic--the broadcast makes you feel like you're right on that violently rocking deck. *gulp*


kenju said…
I saw The Deadliest Catch once, and almost got sea-sick from the boat motion. I'd love to see the other shows and the scenery, but we don't have HD yet.
srp said…
We just got the HDTV here and the overwhelming number of channels is fodder for the elderly remote handlers..... I rarely stay downstairs with them in the evening as the click, click, clicking makes me dizzy in five minutes.

There is a channel... forgive me for not knowing the actual name... and between 10 AM and 11AM they play "Sunrise Earth"... gorgeous video of sunrises around the world. No commentary, just the beautiful scenery, flora and fauna and on occasion, humans going to work by the sea... and the natural sound effects. It is the most calming hour of the day!
Cynnie said…
I love Deadliest catch !..
But I'm surprised the captains dont all have coronaries on tv..
most of them are chain smoking and drinking massive amounts of tv while being awake forevers in a STRESSFULL situation..
I almost wanna light up while watching ..
( cept i've never smokied ever :))
GA Girl said…
I hope Captain Keith quits the chaw but it sounds like it's too late...think they staged the phone call on the Cornelia Marie for continuity. Don't get HD and it's a good thing since I'm so prone to motion sickness.
colleen said…
Sounds worthy. I only get 4 channels out here in the sticks. I catch a lot of good stuff on PBS. I landed here by way of our friend at Netchick.

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