Paul Watson predicts the fourth season of Whale Wars, premiering tonight, will be the last

Whale Wars returns for its fourth and potentially final season tonight, as Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson thinks his organization has won the battle against whaling in the Southern Ocean.

The Animal Planet series is one of my favorite series because it is one of the best reality TV shows on television today, editing incredibly real events into incredibly raw and intense television, from the sinking of a ship to the crew’s incompetence to a camera operator putting down his camera because he feared for his life. So while it’s amazing that Sea Shepherd may have been successful–Japan suspended whaling early this year because of Sea Shepherd’s actions, and Watson told me he doesn’t think they’ll return–it’s also bittersweet, because it’ll mean the end of a great series that has reached such cultural saturation that South Park parodied it.

I talked to Paul Watson, Whale Wars executive producer Liz Bronstein, and Animal Planet president Marjorie Kaplan for this Daily Beast story about the show, and the good news for quality reality TV is that, as Kaplan told me, “the work of the Sea Shepherds is not done” so “there will be many more opportunities for us to partner with them on other shows.”

Bronstein said that this season is even more dramatic than the previous seasons, and the trailer below has highlights from a bloody person to clashes in the water. Another trailer reveals that Sea Shepherd manages to get a tracking device on one of the whaling ships.

If you’ve somehow missed Whale Wars, well, catch up: its first three seasons are on DVD, and are absolutely worth watching.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.