PBS’ CARRIER – Parts 1 and 2

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I just finished watching the first 2 parts of PBS’s new series CARRIER and it was awesome. Even if you have no interest in military or naval matters, this show is definitely worth watching. The cinematography and music are fantastic. The individual and collective stories are fascinating. Among other things, its a great study of leadership.

Episode 1 – All Hands was a great stage setter. In it you get to meet a wide range sailors aboard the USS Nimitz, one of only ten nuclear powered aircraft carriers in the world. There are more than 5,000 residents that call the ship home and work and a large number are under the age of 21. It’s not too far away from being a floating high school with a serious mission.

Episode 1 description:

On a bright May morning, 5,000 sailors and Marines bid farewell to their loved ones before the mammoth USS Nimitz pulls out of Coronado, California, and sets a course for Hawaii and beyond. Among the men and women who live and work on board are an airman who describes the ship as a small town; a pilot who considers the ship a powerful instrument of diplomacy; a sailor who questions “why we’re fighting to defend someone else’s freedom when we barely have our own”; a cook who dishes out 15,000 meals a day; and an airman who has just learned that his girlfriend is pregnant.

Episode 2 Controlled Chaos tells the story of the complexity of running this floating city that also happens to be the most sophisticated war machine. There is so much activity happening on the flight deck that one sailor advises to keep your head on a swivel to look out for trouble that can come from any direction at anytime. While New York might be the city that never sleeps, the Nimitz is clearly a ship that doesn’t either.

A pilot of one of the $57 million aircraft that get catapulted off the end of the ship says that landing is like having sex during a car accident. Work hard, play harder is the flight squadrons’ mantra. Much of the support for these Top Guns comes from young enlisted airmen who get paid less than what their friends make back home at McDonalds. When asked, the Captain isn’t sure how they are able to extract such a high level of performance but offers they do it for each other.

Episode 2 description:

The men and women of the USS Nimitz live beneath the runway of a major airport. They sleep on the roof of a nuclear power plant. It’s a perilous environment. Their only bulwark against danger and chaos is to bond with their units on board the ship. The “Shooters,” who launch the jets, have a “Circle of Trust”; the Ordies (ordnance personnel) pride themselves on being a “mafia”; the F-18 squadrons — the Black Aces, the Hoboes and the Marine Red Devils — are tight fraternities.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow night.

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At Sea Reality TV

Sunday VOW’s (Videos of the Week)

There’s currently no shortage of good maritime shows on television. Here’s three that float my boat.

Deadliest Catch

Last year I posted about the Deadliest Catch here and here. This year they have added regular behind the scenes video-casts (thru iTunes) that are pretty interesting. The website is also worth a visit. Hey, these guys put their lives on the line so that you can eat fancy seafood; the least you can do is watch! (Frequently on the Discovery Channel)

And you think your work environment is challenging.

America’s Port

Finally, a show the tells the story about why America’s maritime industries remain so important today. “America’s Port provides an unblinking view of this vibrant and colorful nerve center for global trade — the Port of Los Angeles. Get an inside look at this massive complex and the intrepid individuals charged with keeping it running smoothly and securely 365 days a year. It’s a dynamic and dangerous 24/7 operation.” (Mondays at 10PM on National Geographic Channel)

CARRIER

Update: check the latest post about Episodes I and II

The PBS series CARRIER: Life aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz starts tonight and if these clips are any indication, it looks great! Make sure that you visit the website as well and take a tour the ship and check out the great “making of” diaries and videos. (Starting Sundays, April 28th and running consecutive nights through May 1st; 9 – 11 PM on PBS; find your local listing here)

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