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Why Deadliest Catch Fans Think The Show Has Changed Drastically

"Deadliest Catch" is a long-running, popular television show that features a variety of dangerous excursions into the treacherous and deadly waters of the arctic. The captains and crew mates on the series are called to this dangerous profession with the prospect of commercial crabbing and fishing, and if you have ever been to a seafood restaurant, you know the demand for this product is a sizable one. Unfortunately, the people who choose this job aren't provided delicious buttered rolls, and instead enjoy a life of hardship, rough ocean water, and heavy interpersonal drama.

After originally premiering on the Discovery Channel way back when in 2005, "Deadliest Catch" is still going strong all these years later. In the 17 years that the series has been on the air, it has featured multiple different fishing vessels and captains, both of which have seen all manner of complications on the seas. These complications include everything from crewmates switching boats and employees suddenly quitting. Sadly, the series has also seen its fair share of tragedy. In fact, there are more than a few "Deadliest Catch" members you may not realize have passed away.

In part because of how long the show has been on the air at this point, longtime fans have become hyper-accustomed to a certain routine in the show. In fact, more than a few fans picked up on a new trend in more recent episodes. What could possibly be so different in a show that is predominantly about fishing and crabbing?

Fans think that the show has become more of reality television and less documentary

As usual, the subreddit dedicated to "Deadliest Catch" has become the main gathering point for fans intent on complaining about the series. Starting off the conversation, u/Leatherneckmike wrote, "Now I am gonna be honest it has been several seasons since I watched. But it feels totally different now, everything is either an injury or betrayal. It plays more like real housewives of the Bering Sea more than the show I used to love."

Several others also agreed with the above sentiment, with u/rubbertoe2376 stating that they can't stand how crewmates form alliances, only to betray them later. This user also added, "I loved the show the first handful of seasons, but it is just worn out now, and I only watch if there is nothing else on, and even then it's just for background noise." 

Similarly, u/BuildTheBase shared that they assume that the captains on "Deadliest Catch" are told to be as moody as possible, in order to maximize airtime, and while that drama appeals to casual fans, longtime fans can't help feeling burned and left yearning for a time without all of the unnecessary drama. In another agreeable reply, u/EquivalentStorm3470 responded that they used to watch the show religiously and enjoyed the earlier seasons that felt like a documentary. However, this user also lamented the reality TV approach taken in more recent seasons, characterizing them as "hardly worth watching."

The executive producer and editors of Deadliest Catch want to focus on story elements and themes

In a 2019 interview with Awards Daily, executive producer Arom Starr-Paul was asked about how the show has changed from its inception, to which he replied, "Over the years, it's evolved a lot. I've been on the series for seven years, and just in that time, it has evolved immensely. You watch from Season 8 and Season 9, and it's just a different show completely in terms of the look. But the core of the series is the same."

Speaking with "Deadliest Catch" editor Rob Butler, Provideo Coalition asked how the show is put together, and Butler explained that all of the footage is collated, time-stamped, and story-boarded by a team of "loggers." He added, "They make very detailed notes. They have a coding system of who is talking and storylines that we're covering, and we rely on those when we're building the initial outlines and all season long." 

He then went on to describe how the executive producers and editors craft each episode and try to create a cohesive plot and theme around events and interactions. With these comments in mind, it certainly seems as if the creators of "Deadliest Catch" are aiming for more of a genuine narrative than a general day-to-day accounting of the lives of fishermen. At least now longtime fans of "Deadliest Catch" know the method behind the madness, and why the show's focus appears to have changed in the eyes of some.