8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21
We like whales as much as the next guy. They're graceful, they're big, and they're the animal kingdom's undisputed masters of the cannonball. Still, you'd think if they were so smart, they'd have come up with a way to fend off the whaling fleet – head-mounted lasers, perhaps; or maybe just by going Moby Dick on their harpoon-shooting asses with a bit more frequency. Until that happens, though, it's up to humans to protect them. And by “humans,” we mean filthy, dreadlock-wearing hippies. That's where the folks on “Whale Wars” come in. The show follows the fortunes of a crew of newbie sailors – mostly college kids who want to do something real for the environment – on a journey to Antarctica to try and disrupt the activities of Japanese whalers who stalk their prey there. From their floating home base – a boat called the “Steve Irwin” (uh, oh … insert your own morbid joke here) – they employ everything from an on-board helicopter to super stinkbombs to inflatable speedboats to try and either run off the whalers or scare the whales into heading elsewhere. While that's dangerous enough, it's definitely not an environment where you want to be in the middle of on-the-job training. The water, for instance, is so cold that if you go in the drink for even a few minutes, you come out a very dead hippie-sicle. Add to that some seriously pissed off whalers and law-free international waters, and you've got a war that lives up to its name.
8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21
The Travel Channel
One of the big drawbacks to reality shows is there's nothing real about them. When those two young canoodlers on “Survivor” or “Big Brother” are whispering sweet nothings, what you don't see is the cast of thousands standing just out of range of the lens – cameramen, sound guys, support crews, medics, caterers and others. Which is why we actually have some respect for “Ghost Adventures,” the new paranormal-themed reality offering from The Travel Channel. Shot solely by the three would-be spook hunters who appear on screen, it's at least a bit more real than something like, say “Ghost Hunters” from the Sci-Fi Channel. That, however, is about the best thing we can say about “GA,” mostly due to the altogether goofy trio who stars. Here's the rules to the “Ghost Adventures” drinking game: Every time one of them says “Dude!” you have to sip. Every time one of them trips, take a shot (two shots if they get raw sewage and/or mud all over them when they trip). Every time one of them hears a creaking board and runs ass and elbows while screaming like a woman, you have to chug. If the two episodes I've seen are any measure, you'd be pretty blotto by the time the credits roll. Still, whether you take “GA” for scares or for shtick, it's a pretty good time. This week, the boys head to an abandoned mental hospital in New Jersey.