Great Lake Warriors
Sunday, 5.30pm, A&E Sounding a little like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the narrator of this spectacular series begins: ‘‘ In the heart of North America churns a ruthless inland sea.’’ Yes, the man has the soul of a poet. His elegant expression is matched by vision designed to demonstrate just how wild and dangerous America’s Great Lakes can be. But the men who pilot tugs here have more in common with the tough dudes of Deadliest Catch than the Portland poet. ‘‘ These Great Lakes’ll kill ya,’’ says a tugboat captain. ‘‘ If it wants ya, it’s gonna come and git ya.’’ He has a point, even if his grammar sucks. Since European settlement, more than 6000 vessels have been lost on the lakes, along with an estimated 30,000 lives. Taken together, the five separate basins that make up the Great Lakes are equal in size to the land mass of France. ‘‘ For nine months of the year the industrial waterway is dangerous,’’ says our friend the poet. ‘‘ But in the three months leading up to the dead of winter, the Great Lakes can be deadly.’’ What follows is a beautifully shot exploration of the work environment of hardy tugboat captains. Possibly more interesting is footage of the massive lakes in placid dawns contrasted with visuals of huge 9m waves whipped up by fierce winds. At last, a reality series about tough men doing a tough job in a ruthless environment that is also beautiful to watch.