Filmmakers were granted unprecedented access to the United States Aircraft Carrier Nimitz to create this historic ten part series premiering Sunday, April 27 at 9 PM ET on PBS. The first episode introduces many of the crewmen who describe their lives aboard the ship. The filmmakers were basically embedded with the crew on the USS Nimitz for the six month deployment. They shot 1600 hours of film and edited it down to ten, however when viewers watch this series they will wish it lasted an entire season.
One sailor describes life on board the USS Nimitz as a zoo. But it is a well structured zoo. There are only twelve aircraft carriers in the world, and ten of them are nuclear powered. The USS Nimitz is only one of ten, making this series extraordinarily special.
The majority of sailors are between the ages of 18-20. As one of them says, it's a "big-ass floating high school." But many of the enlisted sailors join for "structure, discipline, and responsibility."
Viewers get to see the "racks" on which the sailors sleep, and let me tell you, they make any closet seem like the Taj Mahal. The sailors' stories are told by the men and women on board, both enlisted and career military.
As Admiral Ted Branch (he was Captain at the time this series was filmed) said at a recent "launch" for the series, Carrier "will strike a chord with people who value opportunity and adventure," and will be a big help for Naval recruiting, although that was not the intent of the filmmakers. He described the USS Nimitz as "a busy place," and feels strongly the public "will be moved" by watching this ten part event.
Huell Howser (host of California's Gold), who hosted the series launch event, was emotionally touched when he viewed the first episode for the first time. "True reality is better than anything that could be scripted," he told the audience of journalists and military attendees.
In the first episode the cameras capture a real "man overboard" situation and viewers see how the crew responds. Viewers are also introduced to several crewmembers who share their stories of their lives on board and off. This is a dramatic show that is also very often humorous.
This is not a military series. It's not political. As a matter of fact, several political beliefs are represented in this show. It was made because the filmmakers thought there were interesting stories to tell on board this historic ship.
When I saw the opening episode and was told it only gets better as the nights go on, my only thought was too bad it's not a regular TV series. It's that compelling.
Carrier tells the story of the ship and the people who live on her. As they say, "1 Ship. 5,000 Stories." Okay, so 5,000 stories are not included in this event, but out of the 5,000 people on the USS Nimitz, the stories that unfold are interesting and this is one show worth setting your DVR to record. You'll want to see every minute of the ten hours.