by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Film/TV.

The first episode of any new show always has a lot to deliver. Not only must you entertain, but the narrative also has to capture the attention of the viewer to keep them coming back for more. Fortunately, Animal Planet’s new television documentary series Whale Wars delivers the thrills and “cruse word reactions” generally reserved for Discovery Channel shows like Deadliest Catch.

The new series is definitely a departure for Animal Planet — who with shows like Animal Cops and Puppy Games, isn’t necessarily a network known for it’s hardcore adventure docs. The most surprising thing is how the story of the Sea Shepherd Society’s annual battle against whaling fleets has remained absent from television for so long. While some may not agree with their methods, what Captain Paul Watson and his crew go through every year is edge-of-your-seat drama.

In the first episode alone, we’re witness to icebergs the size of Los Angeles, a training excercise gone horribly wrong that dumps five people into the frigid Arctic water, a damaged helicopter that risks flying anyways, crazy seas, and an intense game of cat and mouse with the Japanese Whaling fleet.

When they finally do spot a whaling vessel, you can feel the intensity rise as a viewer just as easily as the crew are feeling it on the Steve Irwin, the name of Sea Shepherd’s main vessel.

And that’s what makes Whale Wars so engaging — it’s not just mindless television. The dramatic and tense nature of Sea Shepherd’s mission easily translates to the small screen. No creative editing is needed to rope you in. Viewers are also educated on the international whaling industry and the tissue-paper thin claims for the Japanese that such culling is all for “research”.

Check out the show tomorrow, November 7th at 9pm on Animal Planet. For more information, visit the official site here.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Chloe

    And to top it all off, they’re the loveliest people you could ever meet. Go Sea Shepherd!

  • jap-us-boy

    this show is crap. The japanese people are fishing legally. The f*cken quote quote Steve Erwin (rofl) is a moron. For the sea shepards this is all a game, risking human lives.

  • Pingback: Animal Planet, Daryl Hannah Join Sea Shepherd Crew For More Whale Wars : Planetsave()

  • Stan Sales

    I will not let my kids watch the animal planet channel anymore. Once I felt that nothing bad could be seen on the channel and that I did not need to monitor my kids viewing. However, by chance I watch a show called Whale Wars. I believe the cause is a good one but I do not like the way the captain shows disregard for laws. It sends a message that its ok to break the law and jump onto someone elses boat because your reason is a good moral one. Maybe the whale wars captain should have some of his people jump onto a ship in Somalia. I believe they call it piracy there.



  • Grant H

    I am ignorant to the complexities of the actual cause and don’t profess to be involved from either side. However I see the characters or they way they are portrayed and pretentious and arbitrary in their thinking and their strategy. The hostage situation strategy was totally ridiculous and I am still at a loss as to what positive outcome it produced. The actions of the crew and their decision making process turns me off to the show completely.

  • Jamil

    Forget the cause. Forget the questions of legality. Forget the dogmatic arguments. The conversation starts and ends with seamanship. The captain and crew of the Steve Irwin is the most ridiculously unqualified group of amateurs I have ever seen. I’ve been working at sea for eighteen years and I’ve lost some good friends along the way. These were qualified, able, experienced sailors. They were lost because the sea is a dangerous environment and sometimes no amount of experience and preparation is enough. When you put a bunch of well intentioned but otherwise clueless, totally inexperienced people on a boat and ask them to perform tasks for which they have no capacity (engineering, deckhand, bosun, etc.) then you are inviting disaster. It is not a question of if someone will be seriously hurt or killed, but when. Already they have put crewmembers overboard because they did not know how to launch the tender. Already they have promoted the cook to helicopter mechanic resulting in a damaged rotor blade. Already they have asked crewmembers to board a vessel traveling at 18 knots from the inflatable tender. Already the captain has allowed the entire crew to get drunk at sea. The captain attempts to insulate himself from culpability by asking for volunteers, but he is ultimately responsible for the safety of his crew. When the blood spills it will be on his hands and the hands of irresponsible television producers who glamorize this impending tragedy.

  • Jonathan Fearon

    Does anyone have any info on Shannon Mann or her charity F.L.E.A.?

  • Peter

    I completely agree with Jamil above. Indeed, forget about all moral or legal questions. It is plain clear that this vessel is populated by a bunch of derranged amateurs. I wonder who gave this so called “captain” a license to drive a boat. It is a wonder that no one got killed yet. But with such a pack of morons it will not be long…

  • Michael

    Yes, the Japanese are technically whaling legally because of a loophole. (Though, if the rule is changed so no whale meat can be marketed as a result of a scientific kill, I’m pretty sure their “research” program would cease…I’m a graduate student in the field and have not seen one bit of actual research produced from this endeavor). Paul Watson is interfering with a legal operation.

    …Of course, Rosa Parks sat ILLEGALLY (more or less – makes the point anyhow!) at the front of the bus too….

    And I think a lot of you are missing the point here. People are doing what they believe in. I’ve crewed with Paul before (not in the Antarctic though..), and everyone on his crew understands the risks involved. Paul is not risking human lives – save for his own; passionate people are risking only their own lives.

    I’ve always congratulated Paul on the way he handles poachers, etc, and I encourage him to continue what he does! Frankly, I believe he should invest the money he’ll get from the show to hire some of those ex-SEAL Blackwater-types to scuttle the fleet.

    Of course, this is all coming from someone who thinks the slaughter of any animal – cow, chicken, pig, lamb, whatever! – should be tantamount to killing another human…

  • rob

    Jamil nailed it these guys are a bunch of incompetent bafoons, the keystone cops of the high sea’s. I truly believe they think in thier heart of hearts that they are doing the right thing [in a twisted self righteous sort of way] but lets call them what they are eco-terrorists

  • Megan

    I admire the show, and i would support it fully, but some of the things the protesters are doing is illegal. That is illegal confrontation when they throw things on to the whalers boats.
    The other thing i don’t like is the fact that whenever the protesters come in contact with the whalers boats, they would say “that is one of the most hideous things i have ever seen” and almost every crew member made a comment like that…i though that was uncalled for.

  • http://None Louise

    I am a 77 year old widow whose husband fought in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam for
    a total of 32 years to give us the right
    to fight for those who could not fight for themselves against tyranny, and this
    is exactly what Whale Wars is about. I
    encourage my grandchildren to watch the
    show, as they need to see what a whale
    faces in order to survive as a species and who was willing to help them. Not the same Japanese who pulled a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, of course, as they do their nasty in the open and all the goody-goodys who say it is fine, are the same class of people as the Japanese. Hooray for the courageous
    people still surviving to take responsibility for these animals. My
    husband would have been very proud to be
    one of them, as would I and my family.
    I just wish I could personally finance
    a fleet to take on the whale terroists and then we would see who was David and who was the giant – whatchathink? nambypambys? Isn’t there somebody out there who would volunteer some launchers
    for the butyric acid so the volunteers could be more effective with the little they have as ammunition? Where have all the “Good Guys” gone – mine went to meet
    his maker with a healthy conscience, what about you?

    • william montgomery

      the sea sheps’ mean well however they act like idiots .brave idiots. maybe with some training and lots of practice.they would’nt look like F.troop.

  • Melody Burgin

    I as a viewer leave a comment as often as I can. Captain Watson and the crew have a tough job and I will say again,” I wish I was a part of the crew”. The whale pochers need to be stopped and I wish all on the Steve Irwin all the luck in the world!! Good Luck. Melody.