Discovery Channel start season 4 of their hit series Deadliest Catch tomorrow night (April 15) at 9pm. Online research shows this yearly drama to be the most watched series on basic cable, with weekly viewership around 3 million.

Season 4 is shaping up to be the best yet. Each year the production staff led by Thom Beers pushes the technology envelope. This year the featured ships will have two rigid mount cameras on the deck, a camera in the wheelhouse, and two cameramen with handhelds. Just keeping the equipment functioning is a big challenge. Cameras and delicate electronics usually associated with the TV business do not get along well with sea water. And when you take into account sub-zero temperatures, 60 mph winds, and 40 foot waves, this is not a friendly environment.

Season 4 sees the return of the Sig Hansen, and his fishing  machine The Northwestern, but before they can even get started, they have equipment problems and are forced back to Dutch Harbor.

Also joining Sig on this season are Captain Johnathan Hillstrand and the Time Bandit crew, these guys are the pranksters of the fleet, and boy do they have some doozies this year! I find it hard to believe that men working under these horrible, and deadly conditions can find either the time, or the effort, but they do!

The Wizard also encounters problems right out of the starting gate, slapped by a rogue wave it now has a hole in its hull! This is not something you want to happen at the best of times, and certainly this is a potentially life shortening event in the Bering Sea.

Catch the Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel, April 15, at 9pm. For you crab aficionados Discovery have also set up a huge web site for the series.

Simon Barrett

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