reality TV reviews and news

Whale Wars spin-off subtitled Viking Shores; go behind the scenes in Playboy before it debuts

A whale in the Southern Ocean, from season 7 of Whale Wars. There will not be a Whale Wars season 8 this year. (Photo by Tim Watters/Sea Shepard via Animal Planet)

The spin-off of Whale Wars that follows Sea Shepherd’s actions last summer in the Faroe Islands will debut next month, and has been given the subtitle “Viking Shores,” perhaps because the name of its setting, the Faroe Islands, isn’t as sexy or well-known as Vikings are. (Vikings once colonized the 18-island nation, which is between Iceland and Norway.)

The network has ordered five episodes of the spin-off, and the regular series will continue later this year as both Japanese whalers and Sea Shepherd returned to the Southern Ocean. Whale Wars: Viking Shores debuts April 27.

In the current, April edition of Playboy, you can read my behind-the-scenes story about my time on board the Steve Irwin with the Sea Shepherd crew–and the crew known on board as “Animal Planet,” the contractors hired by a contracted producer, Lizard Trading Company, to film what happens, and put their lives on the line.

It’s the “Sex + Music Issue” with Bruno Mars on the cover, and if you don’t want to buy it on newsstands, it’s available online or on the iPad. You’ll read about interaction between Sea Shepherd and Faroese people, many of whom are fans of Whale Wars and are now bewildered and shocked that they’re now the subject of the show.

We’re not used to seeing Sea Shepherd challenged on their beliefs or actions, but that happens here; in my story, it’s a group of well-informed kids challenging Sea Shepherd crew members as the Steve Irwin docks in their town. I also explore the challenge of filming the show on board, where producers and crew live with the people they’re covering, and talk to Paul Watson about his philosophy related to his (seemingly inexperienced, incompetent) crew and his desire for publicity.

It was a fascinating story to report even though there were no easy answers, but I learned a lot about what goes into producing one of the most compelling, entertaining, realistic series on television.