Tonight, Discovery’s Deadliest Catch returns with a season 8 premiere that also marks the Emmy-winning series’ 100th episode. With the Cornelia Marie not out this season, Captain Phil Harris’s boys Josh and Jake fish on other boats: Josh joins the Time Bandit crew while Jake suits up on the Northwestern. “That plays out really well. It’s a cliffhanger as to whether the guys get invited back to those boats,” exec producer Thom Beers says. “And obviously, those guys would love to get back on the Cornelia Marie and skipper their own boat.” Below, Beers teases what’s to come and looks back to name his five essential Deadliest Catch moments.
Adding more drama to season 8:
• The red king crab quota was cut in half, so the captains have to decide whether to settle for half the payday or gamble and go after the elusive blue king crab.
• A massive storm forces the fleet to hunker down behind St. Paul Island. “There’s an old saying, when you see seagulls sit down in the water, you know the s— is gonna hit the fan. I’ve seen it happen twice, and it’s chilling,” Beers says.
• Retirement still looms for some in the wheelhouse, and the questions remain: “Who’s gonna inherit the boat? Who’s gonna be the skipper? Who’s gonna get screwed?”
• A Wizard greenhorn starts having a seizure, and they can’t figure out what’s wrong with him. “It’s a real health crisis. It’s real,” Beers says. “It just goes on and on, and then the Coast Guard comes and rescues him with a helicopter. The whole thing is just unbelievably dramatic.”
• One man goes overboard — at the dock. “The last time that happened it was to Johnathan Hillstrand [in season 4],” Beers recalls. “They decided to celebrate Halloween early because they’d be at sea, and Johnathan was pretty hammered. One of the crewmen was dressed as Spider-Man, and Johnathan says, ‘All I remember was Spider-Man reaching down and pulling me out of the ocean.’ Just the insanity of it,” he says, laughing. “When this show is really working, it reminds me of that scene in Apocalypse Now, when the bullets and fireworks are going off and it’s completely insane and Martin Sheen says, ‘Who’s the commanding officer here?’ and the guy looks at him and says, ‘Ain’t you?’ When this show’s working, you have no idea who’s in charge.”
NEXT: The five Deadliest moments