By Ryan Vickers
Ryan’s Movie Corner February 2023
I was racking my brain for this month’s Movie Corner. Having completed many reviews, I am starting to run out of the “popular” titles that many people are aware of. I thought, gee, it’s February, so I should do a romantic column, but in doing some searching, nothing really inspired me.
And then I thought, why not tell you about two of the shows that inspired me to dive?
The Last Frontier, Canadian documentary series, 1987-1990.
The Last Frontier was a documentary series that saw John Stoneman leading a group of like-minded adventurers exploring not only the waters below us but also working to lead initiatives to help the topside environmental efforts as well. They travelled worldwide and discovered everything from tropical coral to icebergs.
For a young person (I was hitting double digits when the show started airing), getting to see the underwater world once a week on a Friday evening was fascinating and eye-opening. It was further reinforced when the show was repeated on the Canadian version of The Discovery Channel in the late 1990s.
Please remember that it is a product of its time, so some dive and environmental strategies may not be those we use now in 2023. However, one of the great things about dive education is that we can learn from the past and hope to improve on it as we continue into the future.
Availability: unfortunately, not too much – there are scattered clips on YouTube (including at least one full episode at the time of writing); however, you can find DVD sets of the episodes under the titles “Oceans Alive: Kingdom of the Coral Reef,” “Shipwrecks: Graveyards of the Deep” and “Predators from the Deep: The Ocean’s Silent Killers” on eBay.
The Aquanauts, US science/entertainment/travel series in the late 1990s, has 52 episodes
The late 1990s were an interesting time in cable television in Canada. We were seeing a new selection of specialty channels aimed toward various groups starting to populate the small screens. One of these channels was called “Outdoor Life” and had theme days in primetime (if memory serves). However, the one that drew my attention was the underwater evening (of course!) and, specifically, a new show called The Aquanauts.
The Aquanauts brought together six different divers with different backgrounds – such as being part of the military, working in film/television stunt departments, and so forth – to explore dive sites and environmental activism around the world. Just as I had seen with The Last Frontier, I was fascinated to see and learn about new dive sites in locations.
I remember very explicitly watching one episode in 1998, and I thought I’d like to dive there one day. However, I should note that I only got certified in 2003 – five years after that episode first aired. And now, as I write this, I am realizing a dream dive trip by travelling to Palau to dive into some of the sites I saw on television. It is truly unique how some things are stuck in your mind!
Availability: sadly, this title is even harder to find than the one I wrote about above. There are some clips posted on YouTube by one of the camera operators for the show, but there seem to be no DVD/streaming releases that I can find. It’s not like I haven’t tried – I’ve been hoping for years to find it!
That’s it for this issue of Movie Corner – here’s to a great year of diving in 2023, wherever you are!
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