Deadliest Catch is a documentary-style reality television series produced by Original Productions of Burbank, California for the Discovery Channel that documents the events aboard fishing boats in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan king crab and Opilio crab fishing seasons. The Aleutian Islands port of Dutch Harbor (located in Unalaska, Alaska) is the base of operations for the fishing fleet. The show is named Deadliest Catch because the crew of these boats are at a high risk of injury or death.

Deadliest Catch premiered on the Discovery Channel on April 12, 2005 and runs in over 150 countries. The first season had ten episodes, with the last airing on June 14, 2005. Season two was filmed one year later and began airing on March 28, 2006. Season three began airing April 3, 2007. April 15, 2008 was the fourth season premiere[1]. On April 8, 2008 Discovery announced Deadliest Catch will return for a fifth season in its 2008-2009 lineup[2].

Format Edit

The series follows eight to ten crab fishing boats and their crews throughout two of the dangerous crab fishing seasons, the October king crab(frequently called "red crab" or "red gold" by crew members) season and the January opilio crab ("orange crab", "orange gold", or, as Northwestern crew member Matt Bradley dubbed them, "Norwegian dollars") season. The show emphasizes the very real danger to the crew on the decks of these boats, situations are just as dangerous for the Discovery Channel camera crews filming them as they are for any other member of the fleet. Each episode has a focus on a story or situation that occurs on one or more boats, with side stories on the backgrounds and particular activities of one or two crew members, in particular the "greenhorns" (inexperienced crew members) on several boats. The fleet's captains are featured prominently throughout the episodes, highlighting their camaraderie with their fellow captains and relationships with their crew, as well as their competitive nature against the other boats in the fleet regarding the hunt for crab throughout the fishing grounds. Common themes woven throughout the overarching storyline of the particular fishing season include friendly rivalries between the captains (particularly Jonathan Hillstrand of the Time Bandit and Phil Harris of the Cornelia Marie), the familial ties throughout the fleet (the Hansen brothers, who own the Northwestern; Phil Harris and his two sons on the Cornelia Marie; brothers Johnathan, Andy, and Neal Hillstrand of the Time Bandit), the stresses of life on the Bering Sea, and the high burnout rate among greenhorns.

Because Alaskan crab fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, the U.S. Coast Guard rescue squads stationed at Integrated Support Command Kodiak (Kodiak, Alaska) and their outpost on St. Paul Island, near the northern end of the crab fishing grounds, are frequently shown doing their own dangerous work: rescuing crab boat crew members who fall victim to the harsh conditions on the Bering Sea. The USCG rescue squad was featured prominently during the episodes surrounding the loss of F/V Big Valley in January 2005 and the loss of F/V Ocean Challenger in October 2006. The Discovery Channel keeps a camera crew stationed with the Coast Guard during the filming of the show.

Narration Edit

The show has no on-camera host; instead, narrators provide commentary and verbally connect the storylines as the show shifts from one crab boat to another, through a mock-up radar transition screen that shows the boats in relation to each other and to the two ends of the fishing grounds, St. Paul Island to the north and Dutch Harbor to the south. Discovery Channel voice artist Mike Rowe, who narrates the U.S. airings of the series, was originally supposed to be the on-camera host as well and had appeared in taped footage as himself during the first season of shooting; as filming of the first season was nearing completion, Discovery greenlighted production on another Rowe project, Dirty Jobs, under the condition that Rowe choose only one show upon which to appear in person. As Rowe relates the story, Discovery told him that the two shows would be airing back-to-back on the same night, thus, "'we can't have you telling us stories about six dead fishermen on camera and making a fart joke with your arm in a cow's ass.'"[3] Most of the footage Rowe shot during the first season became part of the first season's "Behind the Scenes" episode and Rowe later hosted the After the Catch specials in which the captains had a roundtable discussion of their experiences.

In North America, the series is narrated by Mike Rowe, while Bill Petrie, reading from a slightly altered script, provides a regionally familiar accent for the English speaking viewers of the show in Europe. The show takes a unique approach to censoring profanities spoken by the crews, using sound effects such as a ship's horn or a burst of radio static in addition to traditional bleeping.

References Edit

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