Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Sea Rescue

Sea Rescue

Spring 2017 Television
Ages: 13 - 16 yrs.
Rating: TV G

Sea Rescue offers a glimpse inside the courageous and compassionate world of marine biologists, animal researchers, and conservationists racing to save sea creatures in danger. This 30-minute documentary-style program airs Saturday mornings on ABC and it won't take long before you and your family are hooked.

Host Matt Gutman introduces a range of scientists and committed citizens in each episode, which usually features two separate stories of rescue efforts. The series is a joint production between SeaWorld and Litton Entertainment and many of the experts featured are part of the SeaWorld Rescue Team, although the theme park itself is not emphasized in the program.

The production value here is top-notch, with spectacular nature photography, interesting visual storytelling techniques, and clearly explained animal facts, all driven by human interest elements. In the episode titled "In Trouble in the Gulf," a dolphin washes ashore in Louisiana covered in oil and gravely ill. Experts spend five months rehabilitating the young dolphin, whom they've named Louie, but he's unable to be re-released to the sea so he makes his new home at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys. The story follows Louie's transport to Florida, a feat accomplished by the U.S. Coast Guard, and the efforts of a group of Louisianan 4th-graders who make it their mission to raise money to "adopt" and support Louie's care. Later in that same episode, bitter-cold temperatures in Texas threaten hundreds of sea turtles. The story follows staffers and volunteers from Padre Island National Seashores and Sea Turtle, Inc., as they comb the coast in search of the immobilized and trapped animals. They rescue, rehabilitate, and then re-release the turtles, an event that draws more than 2,000 spectators to see the turtles off and wish them well.

In "Hard Times," a special episode devoted to a single storyline, experts search for clues to discover why an unprecedented number of California sea lion pups are coming ashore starving and emaciated. And in another episode titled "Heron Today Gone Tomorrow," rescuers encounter a sad case caused by careless humans. Great blue herons use their pointed beaks to spear fish but one unfortunate bird in Florida speared a soda can with its beak. It's up to a rescue team to trap the bird and remove the sharp aluminum can, not an easy task but one that's necessary if the bird is going to survive.

Themes of conservation are always front and center in Sea Rescue and in more than one episode you'll see animals imperiled by negligent human behavior, making this a great viewing experience for conscientious families as well as science and biology teachers. Most of the stories have happy endings but do be aware that some scenes of injured and sick animals could be upsetting to very young viewers. Still, the stories are handled with compassion and sensitivity so even the more intense stories can be framed as teachable moments. Sea Rescue is worthy viewing for its educational, human interest and entertainment value.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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Litton Entertainment

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