[TV Review] Outer Banks Anglers Shine on 'Wicked Tuna: North vs. South'
The new spin-off of the popular National Geographic Channel (Nat Geo) Wicked Tuna series, Wicked Tuna: North vs South was filmed entirely on the Outer Banks, North Carolina, and the first episode will premiere tonight (Sunday, August 17), but OBX Entertainment was at this week’s preview screening at Pirate’s Cove Marina, so, in addition to our photo gallery and exclusive video interviews with the local captains, here’s our review of Episode 1!
A huge crowd of Outer Banks fans turned out to watch a sneak preview of the first full episode of the new Nat Geo series Wicked Tuna: North vs. South on Thursday, August 14.
Fittingly titled “Yankee Invasion”, the episode opens with some beautiful locally filmed shots of many recognizable area landmarks, including the Bodie Island Lighthouse and the Wanchese Harbor water tower, but it was the first appearance of each of the three local charter fishing boats – the Wahoo, Doghouse, and Fishin’ Frenzy – that made the standing-room-only audience erupt into screams of pride, though not as deafening as when the word “Wanchese” first appeared on screen.
The Outer Banks captains; Reed Meredith of the Wahoo, Britton “Shack” Shackelford of the Doghouse, and Greg Mayer of the Fishin’ Frenzy, were all in attendance and the obvious stars of the night. The highlight came as the episode played, watching the local fisherman each watching themselves on screen for the first time, laughing and reminiscing with one another in fun loving good nature.
The episode effectively introduces viewers to the new cast of “Southern Captains”, establishing each captain and first mate in the early segments, as they are soon enough faced with the anticipated arrival of their Northern counterparts, including returning fan favorites like Dave Marciano, TJ Ott, and Paul Herbert, who was also in attendance at the local event.
After three seasons, the original Wicked Tuna is one the National Geographic Channel’s biggest hits of all time, as it introduced the exciting and difficult culture commerical tuna fishing to much of middle American who had likely never even been on a family charter trip before watching the show.
With North vs. South being a new series unto itself, the producers wisely take their time in the earliest scenes to introduce viewers to the fresh faces already familiar with the Outer Banks waters.
The Outer Banks captains and their mates take turns explaining a bit about how big game tuna fishing down South differs from how they’re used to doing it up in Gloucester, mainly because the fish of the Outer Banks swim near the surface, rather than deep under in the sea as they do farther north.
When the northern invasion begins, it is Ott’s Hot Tuna that leads the attack. The captain and his crew got a ton of laughs from the local captains as they watched Thursday night, for the first time, just how challenging it was for the Hot Tuna to catch a fish in Outer Banks waters.
Some serious drama simmers onboard the Doghouse, where Shackelford is teamed up with a new first mate, Caine Livesay, and tensions rise as early mistakes are made. We talked to both Shackelford and Livesay at the local event Thursday night, and they seem to have made it through the experience with their real life friendship in tact, but we’ll all have to wait and see how it plays out on the show.
Meredith, with his brother and Wahoo first mate Banks Meredith, gets perhaps the most screen time of anyone in the first episode, as he makes a $5,000 season-long bet with Fishin’ Frenzy’s Mayer, and later narrates a 90-minute war his brother wages against one very determined fish.
It’s Fishin’ Frenzy first mate Nick Gowitzka who has the best chance of becoming the breakout star of the series, with some very funny lines that not only speak the plain and blunt truth about the Outer Banks fishing industry, but are spoken in a native accent only a real local can truly appreciate.
When he breaks out a bottle of champagne to celebrate the start of the season, I laughed out loud, but when he tosses it in the air and shoots it to pieces with his shotgun, I fell over laughing. I can’t wait to see what Nick is going to do with his shotgun on next week’s episode.
You will have to watch the episode tonight to see exactly who caught what, and who caught nothing, and we’ll be back with a more detailed recap where you can comment with your own thoughts and predictions about the show tomorrow morning, right here at OBXentertainment.com!
Official Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Matt Artz
Write your own review after you watch the episode in the comments below!
Wicked Tuna: North vs. South premieres tonight (August 17) at 10pm on the National Geographic Channel, but you can watch our interviews with Outer Banks captains Mayer and Shackelford right now in the player below, and then scroll down to view over 50 exclusive images from the local preview screening in our photo gallery!
(Click an image to enlarge.)