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Case Number 21745: Small Claims Court

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Salmon: Running the Gauntlet (Blu-ray)

PBS // 2011 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 10th, 2011

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson smells something fishy here...

The Charge

Run! Ruuuunnnnnnn!!!

The Case

PBS and Nature join forces to provide another excellent little creature feature. The focus this go-round: that most determined gill-endowed swimmer, the mighty salmon, who, as we learn in the program has yet another thing to worry about aside from swimming up waterfalls and avoiding the waiting paws of Grizzly bears. And that's extinction.

Shot in the Pacific Northwest, Salmon: Running the Gauntlet focuses on the trials and tribulations of the salmon that travel the Columbia River out to sea. Unfortunately, a combination of factors have led to the population facing a serious threat. Those factors: too many dams, overfishing and, surprisingly, good intentions of salmon lovers.

Concerned about the dams and the ability of the fish to get up and down the rivers—and recognizing that salmon are key to the functioning of the ecosystem—experts kicked off several conservation tactics to artificially transport the salmon. It's a fascinating story and indicative of how the fish ladder to salmon hell is paved with good intentions.

The 60-minute documentary examines the complex conservation efforts that include something called Juvenile Fish Transportation as well as the salmon version of in-vitro fertilization. Pulling back, we also see how it is necessary for the habitat to have a viable salmon population. It's a nice package and certainly educational; I learned much about a fish that I knew very little about, except the standard-issue "swimming in the opposite direction" stuff. Most stunning was the material looking at the decades of failed attempts to save the fish that backfired. Yikes.

A no-frills Blu-ray that accomplishes what it needs to in the tech department: the 1.85:1, 1080i transfer may fall a degree or two short for purists, but it looks great, clean and crisp, especially when it handles the underwater salmon scenes. The orthodox Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix pushes dialogue and little else. No extras.

The Verdict

Not Guilty. But I'll feel a little guilty dining on my delicious broiled salmon tonight. Just a little.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: PBS
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080i)
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English, Descriptive)
Subtitles:
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Blu-ray
• Documentary
• Science and Nature
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None

Accomplices

• IMDb








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