The scariest season-preview trailer in reality TV history

The “this season on” trailer for Whale Wars‘ fifth season, which aired at the end of its first episode on Friday, may be have the most frightening preview of a reality TV season ever, and I remember when we learned that a contestant would poop on the floor of a mansion. The Animal Planet series increases its tension and drama each season, and this promises a season with even greater excitement.

Every image selected for the trailer is powerful–I said “holy shit” twice in the first 20 seconds–and the situations seem even more dire thanks to the music and the dialogue that’s been chosen. Of course, there’s some editing magic at work here, with actually dramatic situations exaggerated and appearing even more perilous thanks to the quick cuts and lack of resolution in the trailer.

But it’s a few seconds in the middle–shortly after night vision footage of Sea Shepherds boarding a Japanese whaling vessel–that are the most terrifying, as captain and Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson appears to be throwing someone to the ground on the darkened bridge of the Steve Irwin. Besides the camera operator, there doesn’t seem to be anyone else around. I’ve watched it frame by frame to try to figure out what’s happening, but I cannot. Clearly, it does its job of encouraging us to watch to find out what happens in each of these moments:

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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.