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Review: Animal Planet's Whale Wars Delivers High-Seas Thrills

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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.

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