12 days of reality: Six Deadliest Catch seasons

As entertaining and awesome as completely constructed reality shows can be, some of the best reality shows are just edited versions of a reality that would exist even if cameras weren’t there. Deadliest Catch remains the best example of this, as it proved earlier this year with its episode about Phil Harris’ death.

Executive producer Thom Beers created and defined a subgenre with the show, and followed it with similar series, from Ice Road Truckers to Black Gold, that have had varying degrees of success. And certainly other shows such as Whale Wars owe something to the show, which is why it’s a gift worth celebrating during the 12 Days of Reality TV.

The best of those shows and Deadliest Catch offer us access to something we’d probably never see otherwise thanks to their access, never mind the bravery and craftsmanship of the people who actually film the show and are standing on the freezing deck of a crab boat for hours and hours. The show’s Emmy loss is unbelievable.

The narrative structure of docudrama reality shows allows us to get know the characters in a way that a single, two-hour documentary never could. To be sure, the shows edit down lives to moments that are the most dramatic, and the camera’s presence (and subsequent fame) may have an impact. But that is to be expected and is the reason why this site has the word “blurred” in the title. The blurring of reality should not be the faking of reality, but rather the packaging of reality to deliver television such as this:


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