Premiering September 26, 2022, this spectacular, three-part landmark documentary series showcases the natural history of the world’s largest and most important watershed
Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Explore a thrilling journey through the largest freshwater ecosystem on Earth, an evolving world that shapes the lives of millions of animals, plants and humans. Premiering on Monday, September 26 at 9 pm ET on TVO, TVO Today, YouTube and smart TV services, TVO Original series Great Lakes Untamed features never-before-filmed footage of freshwater cod singing beneath the ice to find a mate, flying squirrels that glow in the dark, beautiful salamanders that use plants to breathe and the last wolverines in eastern North America.
“This series will astound viewers with its jaw-dropping imagery and deeply researched revelations about the Great Lakes,” says John Ferri, VP of Programming and Content at TVO. “Great Lakes Untamed comes at a crucial moment in time, when we have the tools and knowledge to safeguard the future of these lakes and the vast diversity of life that depends on them.”
TVO Original series Great Lakes Untamed revels in the fascinating history of North American’s five great lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. Led by veteran BBC nature documentarian, Ted Oakes (Planet Earth Live), and his co-directors, Jeff Morales and Nicholas de Pencier (Anthropocene, Manufactured Landscapes), the series is the first definitive natural history ever produced on this vast watershed.
Episode 1: “Source to Sea” (airing Sept. 26 at 9 pm ET) starts at the headwaters of Lake Superior and takes us on a 3,000-kilometre tour of the Great Lakes all the way to our planet’s largest estuary, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which is home to 14 species of whales. Viewers will also discover how beavers and wolves help regulate the flow of clean water into the Great Lakes, while also learning about the threat posed by a voracious invader, the giant Silver Carp.
Episode 2: “The Big Freeze” (airing Sept. 27 at 9 pm ET) reveals how animals, people and the landscape have been forged by snow and ice in one of the world’s most extreme and unpredictable environments. Watch as a Canada Lynx hunts for snowshoe hares in snow drifts and ruffed grouse in icy caves. Plus, two free-divers explore the bizarre extraterrestrial world beneath Lake Huron.
Episode 3: “Marvels and Mysteries” (airing Sept. 27 at 9:52 pm ET) shows us how life and the landscape of the Great Lakes have adapted to incredible changes in annual temperature. Viewers learn about monstrous lake sturgeon swimming upstream to spawn, deep-diving moose that feed on plants and, in a never-before-captured moment, inland wolves that hunt fish. Watch as scientists use lights to foil invasive lamprey eels that have nearly destroyed millions of native fish.
“As a small boy growing up in Ottawa in the 1970s,” notes producer/co-director/biologist Ted Oakes, “I was lucky to meet one of Canada’s most influential naturalists and filmmakers, Bill Mason. He directed the Academy Award-nominated Paddle to the Sea. Years later I worked as a Junior Ranger and biologist for the Canadian Wildlife Service, and as a filmmaker for the BBC, never forgetting the love of nature that film expressed. In 2014, I came across the toy canoe featured in Mason’s remarkable film. It brought back a flood of memories and inspired me to make Great Lakes Untamed.”
Watch the premiere of episode one of TVO Original series Great Lakes Untamed on Monday, September 26, 2022 at 9 pm ET on TVO, and stream it anytime on TVO Today, YouTube and smart TV services. Subscribe to the weekly TVO Docs Newsletter for the latest on programming updates and features.
Full Broadcast Schedule for TVO Original Great Lakes Untamed:
- Episode 1: Source to Sea – Monday, September 26 at 9 pm ET (repeats at midnight)
- Episode 2: The Big Freeze – Tuesday, September 27 at 9 pm ET (repeats at midnight)
- Episode 3: Marvels and Mysteries – Tuesday, September 27 at 9:52 pm ET (repeats at 12:52 am)
Watch back-to-back episodes on Saturday, October 1 starting at 8 pm ET (repeats at 1 am)
Repeat of Episode 3: Marvels and Mysteries – Sunday, October 2 at 10 pm ET (repeats at 3 am)
Series production info
TVO Original Great Lakes Untamed is an Ontario/Manitoba co-production produced by Oak Island Films Canada, and Merit Motion Pictures, in association with TVO, Smithsonian Channel, Terra Mater Studios, and Two Wise Monkeys Entertainment, with the participation of the Canada Media Fund, the Canadian Film and Video Production Tax Credit, the Ontario Productions Services Tax Credit, the Manitoba Film and Video Production Tax Credit, and Rogers Documentary Fund.
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ABOUT MERIT MOTION PICTURES
Merit Motion Pictures is one of Canada’s leading producers of documentary programming. Founded by executive producer and industry veteran Merit Jensen Carr, MMP films are known for producing award-winning natural history and science films for broadcasters worldwide. Recent highlights include the Kingdom of the Polar Bears (National Geographic Channels, Disney +, CBC, France 3 and Terra Mater); and Reef Rescue (CBC, ARTE, Vulcan, NOVA) and Turtle Beach (BBC, CBC, ARTE, Blue Ant). MMP is currently in production on the feature film Everest Dark for CBC documentary Channel, and Cub Camp, a 1hr natural history series for Love Nature and Blue Ant Studios.
ABOUT OAK ISLAND FILMS LTD.
Ted Oakes of Oak Island Films Ltd. has spent twenty years in the world-famous BBC Natural History Unitas an award-winning filmmaker and Exec producer of natural history programmes for the BBC including Life: Mammals, Amazon Abyss, seven series of Gordon Buchanan’s Animal Family & Me one of which was the acclaimed Snow Wolf Family & Me set on Ellesmere Island. He has a doctorate in Zoology from Oxford University and an MSc in Biology from Queens University.
TVO inspires learning that changes lives and enriches communities. Founded in 1970, we are a globally recognized digital learning organization that engages Ontarians of all ages with inclusive experiences and diverse perspectives. Through video, audio, games, courses, newsletters and articles, we’re investing in the transformative potential of education for everyone. Funded primarily by the Province of Ontario, TVO is a registered charity supported by thousands of sponsors and donors. For more information, visit TVO.me, TVO.org and TVOkids.com.
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Manager, Audience Development