For some reason, I resisted Deadliest Catch for the first two seasons. I was always tuning to the Discovery Channel for Mythbusters or the odd documentary.
Then one night last year, Mythbusters was over and this Bon Jovi song comes on, and I decide to watch an episode of “the fishing show.” Now I’m hooked.
What really strikes me about Deadliest Catch is that the Discovery folks put in cameras and producers, documentary style, and ended up with better characters and dramatic plots than most of the striking writers could put out.
From Sig Hansen, the third generation Norwegian to salty Alaskan Phil Harris on his boat, the Cornelia Marie, Deadliest Catch is no small achievement.
Watching these fishermen haul 700-pound crab pots from the bottom of the Bering Sea over and over again and watching them deal with everything from legal problems to winter storms, it’s often easy to forget that Deadliest Catch is unscripted. Moreover, it’s easy to forget that any of these people can die — fishermen and producers — at any time.
The reminders come from the solemn episodes where the boats break away from fishing to search for survivors from a vessel sunk by a rogue wave or storm. They rarely find many alive in the frigid waters. This came to life in the first season especially, when one of the featured boats, Big Valley, sunk early on, killing all but one aboard.
The third season starts off with the beginning of the Red King Crab season and disaster as the fishing vessel Ocean Challenger sinks, taking three men with it and showing a dramatic Coast Guard helicopter rescue where one of the crew members is saved.
Season three is contained on five DVD’s with nearly nine hours of footage. I was disappointed by the lack of special features — Discovery did a really good special called “After the Catch” where narrator Mike Rowe shared stories and beers with the captains and crew. That was another amazing part of deadliest catch, bringing narrator and subjects together.
Either way, the DVD set is an excellent gift and a great way to relive Deadliest Catch.
A Tragic Beginning
Journey back to Dutch Harbor, Alaska — the largest fishing port in the United States. The 2006 Red King Crab season kicks off as 81 fishing vessels eagerly return to stake their claim in the million dollar jackpot.
The Unforgiving Sea
After the Ocean Challenger fishing boat sinks, a Coast Guard helicopter rescues the only known survivor. Meanwhile, two bodies are pulled from the water and another man remains lost at sea.
Pain and Paybacks
After a deadly start to the season, the Bering Sea claims more victims. Deckhand Lenny Lakanoff of the Wizard suffers a crippling injury, leaving Captain Keith scrambling to shore.
Halfway through the season the grind is on with crews working throughout the nights. Equipment failures, fatigue and bad weather make fishing even more dangerous.
Bering Sea Salvation
Experience the heart-wrenching tales of the Bering Sea as Captain Johnathan Hillstrand of the Time Bandit recounts a rescue attempt he made nine years ago that ended in tragedy.
The Last Lap
The grinding 2006 Red King Crab fishing marathon comes to a close as holds fill with King gold. With money in their pockets, the fishermen return home for a short rest before returning to the 2007 Opilio Crab Season.
All aboard as the January Opilio crab season opens. Several greenhorns are about to experience the subfreezing temperatures and icy winter waters of the Bering Sea for the first time.
Caught in the Storm
Only days into the Opilio season, a major storm system hits the fishing grounds causing Captain Andy of the Time Bandit to call his men off deck.
Crossing the Line
A monster storm blows through the Time Bandit and Cornelia Marie grounds, and a double change of guard takes place on the Wizard as Captain Keith Colburn and greenhorn Nick both head south.
Trials of the Greenhorns
The harsh winter weather puts the greenhorns to the test, but the Northwestern and Cornelia Marie greenhorns step up to prove their worth by working through broken bones and icy decks without complaint.
Ice and Open Water
The promise of a great catch outweighs the dangerous risks faced by the Opilio Crab fishing vessels. The Far West Leader attempts to survive the loss of one engine, while the Time Bandit enjoys unseasonable weather and unprecedented catches.
A Frozen Finish
The 2007 Opilio crab tally is in and a winner is declared. After a long and difficult crab fishing season, the Northwestern enjoys a sweet homecoming with friends and family back in Seattle.