'Whale Wars': Danger at Sea
July 10, 2008 11:06 AM
At its TCA presentation, Animal Planet executives talked about “Whale Wars,” a new series that follows the adventures of the Sea Shepherd, a ship that tries to protect whales by intervening with whaling boats on the high seas.
A production crew from RIVR Media was essentially embedded with the Sea Shepherd crew.
“You woke up and there’s a camera in your face,” said Ben Potts, chief cook on the vessel.
Second mate Peter Hammarstedt noted that after months at sea in tight quarters, the crew wondered, “Would the series be called ‘Whale Wars’ or ‘The Love Boat'?”
In addition to shipboard romance and routine chores, cameras captured the danger created by the ship’s combative mission to stop whales from being killed.
On one mission, someone on a Japanese whaling boat took a shot at the Sea Shepherd, hitting Captain Paul Watson in the chest. Fortunately the captain was wearing a protective vest at the time.
Another time, a grenade was fired near the Sea Shepherd. The cameraman focused on the flight of the grenade until it exploded. The force of the blast blew the cameraman backward onto his backside, Captain Watson said.
Animal Planet President and General Manager Marjorie Kaplan said the channel doesn’t endorse the organization’s activities.
“This is really a character study," she said.