Deadliest Catch marathon, behind-the-scenes special airs on Discovery Channel today

While broadcast and some cable networks regurgitate clones of clones of reality shows that are increasingly boring, many cable networks—especially those that have turned their schedules almost entirely over to reality-based programs—are offering innovative reality shows. They’re often shot as documentaries but edited dramatically, and thus generally don’t have casts of fame-seeking whores, but instead real people who’ve allowed cameras into their real lives.

reality blurred will begin to devote increased focus on these compelling, personality-driven, narrative reality series that I’ve neglected, because instead of contrived, manipulated shows, they’re grounded in actual reality, and as such are often more entertaining and dramatic.

That’s certainly the case for the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch, which debuted in 2005 and follows crab fisherman in the often-violent Bering Sea. Each season follows two crab seasons as the crews get king crabs and opilio crabs, and the ensuing drama, from people falling overboard to being pummeled by waves to breaking bones on deck. It’s awe-inspiring, horrifying, and incredibly compelling.

The third season began in April and concluded last week, and the Discovery Channel is airing a marathon that started yesterday at 3 p.m. ET, broadcasting a total of 31 episodes that stop at 3 a.m. tonight. At 9 a.m., 10 p.m., and 2 a.m., the behind-the-scenes special (that debuted last week) shows how the documentary crews set up and film the fishing crews.

The entire first season is on DVD, as is season two; season three will be released in August. Here’s the preview for the third season, which gives just a taste of the drama the series provides:

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