When television networks air new shows, they are always looking for the ‘big fish’ – the one show that will hook audiences into revisiting the channel. National Geographic seem to have taken that idea quite literally, as their latest reality TV offering Big Fish Texas, aims to reel viewers in by showing the highs and lows of commercial fishing on the Gulf of Mexico. The show – which premiered February 3rd this year – follows the Guidon family for two months and presents it over eight one-hour episodes. The featured family include bearded ex-Marine Buddy, his brother Kenny, wife Katie, four sons, and his father Greg, who all either part-own or work at the incredibly popular Katie’s Seafood Market on Pier 19, Galveston, Texas, which opened in the late 1990s.
The Guidon family have always been admired for their business ethos, which strives to put the protection and sustainability of fish and the seafood business in general above profit. Therefore, it was of little surprise that National Geographic contacted Buddy and Co. in 2011 to be featured on their own television show, so that in a time of overfishing and greed, the world could get a glimpse into what it takes to be a responsible Gulf fisherman focused on sustainability in the modern day. That’s not to say that they don’t catch big, as the title suggests – one clip shows the team pulling in 15,000 lbs of red snapper!
So what exactly does the show offer audiences? Well, those who tuned in were witness to a small business that is striving to survive whilst being battered from all angles – at sea they got to witness Mother Nature at her cruellest as rough waves accompanied long and exhausting days, and even longer nights, and on land watching the team juggle having too much perishable stock, not enough, over-ordering, and the sheer – almost incomprehensible – task of sorting through tonnes of fish, all whilst trying to ensure the survival and sustainability of their product.
With the constant pressure of such a demanding job, you might assume that that the film crew got in Guidon families’ way, but it seems that couldn’t be further from the truth. Buddy was a big fan of his time on camera, saying that “having the crew in out lives was a pleasure” and that “it was a fun experience.” He went on to say that he “would love to do more, but it all depends on how the show is received.”
And that is the biggest question of all. How well has #BFT been received, and did it haul in enough viewers to head back out to sea for a second season? In terms of viewership numbers, they were fairly low, with the show premiering to 0.561 million viewers and a 0.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic. By episode 4 those numbers had declined to only 0.367 million viewers and a 0.1 rating. In terms of viewer feedback, the show has faired better, currently holding a healthy 7.6 rating on IMDB and a five star rating on Amazon Instant Video (the popular net streaming service). With these numbers contrasting against low viewership, it is very difficult to predict whether National Geographic will join the Guidon family for another boat trip next year, or abandon them at sea.
There are currently no Blu-ray or DVD versions available of #BigFishTexas to buy, but if you wish to watch the show online, you can do so via Amazon Instant Video at $2.99 each episode or $19.99 for all eight. You may also be able to catch reruns of the show on National Geographic itself, which is Sky: 526, Virgin: 266, BT: 317, or TalkTalk: 317.
Did you watch BFT and are you hoping for a second season, or would you prefer it was tossed back into the ocean of cancelled shows? Was there an episode that you particularly enjoyed or disliked? Have you got any exciting fishing stories about the one that got away?
As always, we are keen to hear what our readers have to