The folks at Discovery have to be pleased that their flagship series, Deadliest Catch, had some of its alltime strongest ratings for the seventh season premiere Tuesday. This was the first real test for the series following the death of Capt. Phil Harris, which was chronicled at the tail end of last season.
Phil was still a presence in the debut episode, although this was presumably simply a way of acknowledging the transition. The surviving crew members gathered for a service during which the old dog’s ashes were scattered at sea. But life goes on – these veterans have all known people who have died on the job, and not natural deaths like Phil’s – and we were soon back to normal Deadliest Catch antics, and the kickoff of king crab season. For Phil’s sons Jake and Josh, it was a return to a world that is both completely familiar (the Cornelia Marie) and totally different (life without a parent). And for Jake, the need to continually prove he’s still drug free provided an extra distraction.
The captains of Deadliest Catch have become familiar faces in recent years, and more than a little grizzled (even Sig Hansen has aged noticeably over the last six years). So in casting new blood, it’s not surprising that the producers sought out captains a little younger than what we’re used to. Elliott Neese, the captain of the new (to the show) Ramblin’ Rose, is a mere 28, and dealt with an early challenge to the maintenance of discipline at sea. The other new captain, Scott Campbell of Seabrooke, is slightly more experienced and appears to have an ego that will make him fun to watch. As for the veterans, Johnathan Hillstrand of Time Bandit chose to tempt fate by returning to the same grounds for a fourth straight year, and had little success.
Watch your backs, geezers.