INTO the DRINK: The Best Dive TV since Nelson and Cousteau

When those with a stake in the dive industry dream of attracting new divers, they likely have fantasies of becoming another Mike Nelson (Sea Hunt) or another Jacques Cousteau coming along to inspire new divers. So many of the active divers today are baby-boomer divers and most all of them were inspired to start diving by one of those two television icons. Every since those boom days the dive industry has been struggling to find new ways to motivate the gen-xers and tweens to don a kit and splash. Well, after all these years, Into the Drink may just be the one to take the up the mantle.

We had been snooping around the LiquidAssets.tv booth at each dive show we attended for almost two years. We chatted and could tell it was something worth a look, but we kept getting stuck on our prejudice that a show about diving and drinking made no sense at all. Despite the powerhouse of talent that was in on the this project, we could not grasp how a show with the tag line “Traveling the globe in search of marine encounters, adventure… and a cold drink” would amount to anything. We promised to stay in touch and look for the show to arrive on real TV.

Then, with a Caesarian flourish the show came (to Comcast); we saw it and it conquered all of our doubts. It’s a contender. The show is perfectly edgy enough to grasp the younger market. But it is the elegant writing that stopped this boomer’s heart. It is lyrical and poetic. In a word “inspirational.” I will go as far as to say the show’s writing is in the class of what we hear from Aaron Sorkin (West Wing and The Social Network).  And to top off the hat trick, the videography, both above and below the water is purely marvelous.

Since I feel I am truly outclassed by their writing, I will just parrot and fully agree with their websites‘ accurate portrayal of Into the Drink as “a travel show like no other, taking viewers beyond the tourist map, and into the unknown. It’s an intoxicating celebration of exotic destinations near and far, featuring electric diving, eclectic nightlife, vibrant spirits and colorful people.“

Second Season Changes (but don’t miss the first)

If there was anything we could criticize about the first season shows we have seen, it was minor. We worried that the editing showed show’s host, Arron Fauls, celebrating his ability to get tanked – and by this we mean sloppy drunk –  a bit too much. We know from our interviews that he never dived drunk and followed the rule that your first drink of the day follows your last dive of the day. And, we know a lot of divers who fully embrace the bar after the dives. But we did hope the show would find a balance and not turn away potential divers that get their best high from EAN (enriched air nitrox).

We were relived when, early in our interview with the Into the Drink team, we heard that the second season will promote a more broad based appeal without losing the younger market. Nick Lucey will host the second season. He told us that,while still exploring the world of breweries and distilleries après dive will still be a part of each episode, they will portray the clear boundary they maintain between the diving and the drinking.

Behind the camera – A unique business model.

There is a lot of risk in making and selling an independent TV show. Any entrepreneur has to have a lot of brains and passion to overcome the dismal failure rates for starting a small business. To start a dive industry venture he/she certainly has to have a bit o’ crazy.  But only the real nut would ever consider making a  good living off of dive TV. However, these folks at LiquidAssets.tv are smart cookies and are hedging their bets with a wildly creative and multi-faceted based business model. They are capitalizing every aspect of their product. They start out with the nuts and bolts of selling the show and the traditional advertising sales. Then there is product placement, product co-marketing, contests, and sales of Into the Drink wardrobe products. And finally, they are also selling dive travel. This gives divers a chance to “go on-location and possibly be part of the production”.  This not only aids production costs, but also saves the costs of hiring extras. Additionally, advertising rates are accessible: dive businesses can advertise on the show for little as $150 for a 30-second spot.

In addition to this show, the parent company LiquidAssests.tv also offers full service media and marketing services from their team of writers, filmmakers, sales and marketing professionals, web and graphic designers; all divers with more than 80 years combined experience in the industry.

How to watch

Even though Into the Drink is not on a major network (yet), it is available on hundreds of local stations as well as AMGTV, AT&T, Charter Communications, Comcast (limited markets), DirecTV, Dish Network and Verizon. You may also find it on your hotel TV via Resort & Residence TV (Direct TV channel 354). According to a recent web poll, the show is rated number one on TUFF TV.

Hosts

Season 1:

On the show, host and co-writer, Aaron Faulls often warns viewers against making cursory and prejudicial judgments about the people, places and cultures they are traveling to on their dive vacation. He then follows by exposing a magnificent and touching side of the subject we would been the lesser if we had missed. Aaron himself, as he appeared to me in the first episode I watched, was just the type of person, I would have passed off as a heavy drinking dive bum with a college level immaturity that would quickly grate on my nerves. But after a few minutes, I was captured and saw that this was an artist and a man with a depth of passion and wisdom to offer. He is a reverse wizard of OZ. There is magic behind that curtain. Among his quite respectable credits (seen here) we found his 2006 documentary, "Still On Her Keel: The Legacy Of The Chester Poling" which won the Best Documentary Feature at the Sundeis Film Festival.

Season 2:

Nick Lucey still carries the noticeable but not overarching air of a Marine from his time as combat correspondent in the U.S. Marine Corps and a sergeant at Parris Island. He is a confident, funny and a seasoned writer who is excels at his craft. But what is most evident is that he is one of the world’s foremost dive journalists. Before LiquidAssets.tv he already had a full career in both mainstream and dive journalism.  He’s logged thousands of dives in hundreds of dive destinations around the world with destinations including Australia, Baja, Borneo, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Hawaii, Japan, the Maldives, Micronesia, Tahiti, and nearly every island in the Caribbean.

We are equally as impressed with LiquidAssets.tv as a business as we are with the Into The Drink show. We give this project a 5 out of 5 stars. Smart dive businesses like this need and deserve the support of all divers. This is show worth watching, buying and facebooking, tweeting, and spreading the word about. If you cannot find the show, urge your TV service provider to carry it.

We thank Nick Lucey and the LiquidAssets.tv team for spending time to help us with this article.

Editors Note: When discussing great dive TV we hope readers will not forget the History Channel series Deep Sea Detectives and other documentaries with John Chatterton and Richie Kohler.