Discovery Channel // 2010 // 690 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // April 19th, 2010
What would you do to fill a wire cage with crabs?
Deadliest Catch: Season 5 continues the saga of crab fishing in the Bering Sea, a dangerous occupation few people pursue. The Discovery Channel series allows us to brave icy, black waters alongside Captains Sig Hansen of the Northwestern, Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand of the Time Bandit, Phil Harris of the Cornelia Mae, Keith Colburn of the Wizard, and their rugged crews who dare to gamble extremely risky stakes for high dollar rewards. Dirty JobsÕ Mike Rowe narrates as brutal storms, grueling hours, heavy injuries, violent tempers and fierce competition push the men to the limit. This is about as "real" as a reality series can get since there are no results that are guaranteed, and no chance to "script" any of the reactions to what happens. The fifth year is pretty much the same as the show always has been, but there is added medical drama with Captain Phil Harris who gets taken off the boats early in the season because his doctor is concerned. He eventually passes away, marking a sad end to one of the show's most popular captains. There is also a daring rescue mission of a sunken fishing boat called the Katmai with tragic results.
The technical presentation on this five disc set is about on par with what you would see on the Discovery Channel as it broadcasts the seventeen episodes on cable. The series is filmed live as it happens, and the rough conditions can effect the quality of the image at times. It's interesting to think about what all the camera crew must go through in order to film this production, and there's an extra to address that. Everything has a wash of gray which you expect with something set in the gloomy Bering Sea. Sound is simple stereo, and it does fine by the dialogue and music. English subtitles are available, and pop up periodically when the sound fizzles out or becomes garbled.
Extras include five bonus episodes of After the Catch where newcomer interviewer Ben Bailey talks to the captains and crews of Deadliest Catch about the events from Season 5. There are also a trio featurettes on disc four which focus on how the show is produced. A forty minute look at how the cameramen do their job is fascinating, and there's a 10 minute look at Captain Keith heading to Seattle. Thirty minutes worth of mini episodes are included, adding interesting segments to the series which were originally released on the Internet.
Deadliest Catch revolves around a natural tension of men risking their lives for either what could be a big payoff or a severe letdown as wire cages go in and out of the black waters of the Bering Sea. Seems this set offers very dramatic events with it being the last year for Phil Harris, and so fans will want to grab this one. Hours of extras add to the lure of the DVDs. Still, I believe the reason Deadliest Catch remains addictive television is that it's a story about men doing what should be the impossible. These men risk their lives, and it doesn't always work out well. That makes all the Survivors and Amazing Races on television look far less real than what this show offers.
Guilty of making me feel bad any time I order crab at a seafood restaurant.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Discovery Channel
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 690 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episodes