Visions® of the Sea turns any television into the ultimate aquarium as viewers dive deep into the wild and whirling adventure of life in the ocean. Join the swooping watery flights of manta rays and the nimble acrobatics of humpback whales. Witness camouflage techniques that disguise both prey and predator so well before your eyes, you’re not sure who to root for. Go beyond the usual vacation encounter with coral, stunning in both color and their ability to build massive reefs that function as complex underwater cities.
A soundtrack as varied as the species showcased transforms everyday life under water into a succession of showstoppers. The Spanish dancer nudibranch charms with its fluid movements set to a salsa beat. A school of fish swims to a ragtime piano tune. Classical music complements timeless habitats serenely secluded thousands of leagues beneath busy 21st century lives. Tribal percussive beats give sonic foil to single-celled organisms whose complex function belies their simple form. Narration introduces viewers to unfamiliar organisms and reacquaints them with the sharks, clownfish and other creatures they think they already know. Footage shot by legendary underwater cinematographer Al Giddings (The Abyss, Titanic), using innovative cameras, lighting and optical systems, allows access like never before.
Visions® of the Sea sets the scene for the camera’s dive beneath the surface with footage of the rain and waterfalls that would have sourced the Earth’s oceans four and a half billion years ago. Flash from those days eons ago to the present, and visit with an animal that inhabits every ocean in the world, yet remains unchanged from its earliest incarnations – the jellyfish.
What was, what is and what will be, all exist simultaneously in this world. It is clear in footage of the East Pacific Rise off the coast of Mexico in the Pacific Ocean, more than one mile-and-a-half under water, where frozen lava and sulfurous plumes at 700 degrees Fahrenheit create a seemingly inhospitable environment. Here, giant tube worms as thick as human arms and as tall as five feet thrive perilously close to the molten core of the earth along with highly specialized bacteria and archaea, among the most ancient forms of life. All over the world’s oceans the prehistoric adaptive success story of coral offers views of glowing underwater trees and dense, stone structures fortified by layers built generation upon generation. Visions® of the Sea celebrates the adaptive mastery of these and other living fossils, including the nautilus and its cousins – the octopus, squid, cuttlefish, sea slug, and sea snail – allowing equal time for predator and prey.
From the tiny arthropods that comprise the krill that swarms as living clouds in all the world’s oceans to the whales that depend on it for the staple of their diet, Visions® of the Sea offers television viewers once-in-a-lifetime encounters with an impressive variety of ocean life. In one moment, the camera experiences new life amidst thousands of hatchings of red crabs – in the next, a crinoid’s tentacle snatches an unsuspecting meal. And the ocean’s housekeepers, scavengers like the sea cucumber, clean up after it all.
Deep in the ocean, Visions® of the Sea swims with the sharks, fearsome in reputation but many without a mean bone – or any true bone, teeth being the closest thing anatomically – in their body. The program takes viewers along as they patrol the ocean, look for food and get their teeth cleaned, a life saving role for the little fish that could just as easily be dinner for a reef shark. This type of symbiotic relationship, beneficial to both parties, is also seen in the odd couplings of the Gobi fish and the shrimp, and the clown fish and the anemone. Visions® of the Sea exposes the secret lives of crustaceans, reveals the mating habits of whales and even sleeps with the fishes, exploring a world not so different from our own.
Visions® of the Sea is the 23rd program in WLIW21’s acclaimed Visions® series, and the first to bring viewers below the earth’s surface for stunning perspectives of the world. The other programs in the series feature aerial views of the world’s top travel destinations, including Italy, Greece, Puerto Rico, France, Israel, New York City, the United Kingdom, and Germany. For video previews, DVDs and more information on past Visions® programs, visit visionsof.org.
A co-production of GW Intertainment and WLIW21 in association with WNET.ORG. Executive Producers: Roy A Hammond, Al Giddings and Matt White. Producer/Writer: Sam Toperoff.