As Sea Shepherd searches for a ship lost in a storm, Whale Wars delivers exceptional TV

Whale Wars broke from its typical narrative arc on Friday night to air an episode entirely focused on the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin joining a search for a missing yacht that activated its emergency beacon in the middle of a storm so powerful that a New Zealand navy ship had to turn away. They were searching for the Berserk, a yacht with three men on board that had dropped two others off so they could go to the south pole.

Asked to help look for the boat and any survivors by New Zealand Search and Rescue, the Steve Irwin navigated through the storm and its hurricane-force winds. (For background on what preceded the search and the aftermath, there’s a detailed report on the search and rescue that includes a timeline; this news story also summarizes what happened.)

Despite the fact that the show nearly entirely ignored the Sea Shepherd’s campaign to stop whaling, and despite the fact that it lacked the usual high-energy tension, it was a stunning episode, full of drama and emotion–and one that, of course, let itself be guided by reality and what actually happened during the campaign. (Download or watch it online.)

Because of its standalone nature, and because it was so well constructed, it’s the kind of episode that should earn Whale Wars a long-overdue Emmy nomination for best reality series–or at the very least, even more viewers and fans.

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.