Last night, I was in the mood for some Cousteau. The classics from the Undersea World, Odyssey, River Expeditions, and host of other long running series, still hold up as some of the best ocean documentaries of all time. So I picked a few of my favorites, pulled some people together online, and called it #JacquesWeek, an alternative to Shark Week for those who either don’t get the Discovery Channel or just want something different.
“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
Jacques Yves Cousteau
I’ll be honest, I’m burned out on Shark Week. After several years of intense livetweeting, post-show debunking, and high-level critique (look for my and Shiffman’s paper on best practices for responding to fake mass media documentaries in Ocean and Coastal Management later this year), I find that I just don’t have much more to say. Some shows will be good. Some shows will be great. Some shows will be bad.
Jacques Cousteau has never let me down. Sure, sometimes the science is off (pretty much everything in Blind Prophets of Easter Island is incorrect, for example), but that’s because the Calypso crew was working at the boundaries of human knowledge, and their work comes off earnest, heartfelt, and compassionate. And so full of wonder. Much of what Cousteau’s team did was done for the very first time.
After last night’s impromptu session, I sat down and planned out a schedule for the entire week, based on what’s available and how easy it is to access, so that anyone who wants to can join along. I’ve tried to source as much as I can from online streaming services, but for some films, they only exist on DVD. I’ve pushed those to the end of the week to allow time for shipping. To follow along with everything, you’ll need Jacques Cousteau’s River Explorations, The Complete Odyssey, and Pacific Explorations, all of which aren’t available for streaming (for that reason, I have only picked a handful of films from those collections), as well as Voyage to the Edge of the World, which is available for streaming. I’ve ensured that there’s at least one freely-available classic Cousteau film each night, so that everyone who want to can participate.
Sunday, July 5
- Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau: Sharks. (9 PM EST)
- Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau: The Forgotten Mermaids (10 PM EST)
Monday, July 6
- Jacques Cousteau’s Voyage to the Edge of the World (8 PM EST)
- Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau: The Unsinkable Sea Otter (10 PM EST)
Tuesday, July 7
- World without Sun (8 PM EST)
- The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau: Mysteries of the Hidden Reef (10 PM EST)
Wednesday, July 8
- Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau: Those Incredible Diving Machines (8 PM EST)
- Jacques Cousteau’s River Explorations: The Mississippi: Reluctant Ally (9 PM EST)
- Jacques Cousteau’s Pacific Explorations: Papua New Guinea: The Center of Fire (10 PM EST)
Thursday, July 9
- Jacques Cousteau’s River Explorations: The Mississippi: Friendly Foe (8 PM EST)
- Alternative: Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau: Sharks.
- The Jacques Cousteau Odyssey: The Warm-blooded Sea Mammals of the Deep (9 PM EST)
- Throwback Thursday: Jacques Cousteau on What’s My Line? circa 1956 (10 PM EST)
Friday, July 10
- The Underwater World of Jacques Cousteau: Conshelf Adventures (8 PM EST)
- Jacques Cousteau’s River Explorations: Journey to a Thousand Rivers (9 PM EST)
- The Underwater World of Jacques Cousteau: The Sleeping Sharks of Yucatan (10 PM EST)
Saturday, July 11
- The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (8 PM EST)
Join us for #JacquesWeek!