Did anyone see the premier of the “Smokejumpers” special on Country Music Television (CMT) last night? As we told you on April 20, CMT spent a lot of time with the Missoula, Montana smokejumpers in 2008 and collected a great deal of video footage. The one-hour program last night may have been the beginning and end of “Smokejumpers”, but there is a chance that it could turn into a full-year of episodes.
I thoroughly enjoyed the program. It had some great video of smokejumpers training, jumping, and being interviewed about their work. The quality and the production values were excellent; very professional, as you would expect from a television network, even without taking into account that it was on a network with “music” in the title.
Often, cameras were attached to the jumpers as they parachuted. We got to see up close and personal views as they glided to the ground, and occasionally crashed through tree branches.
The program was primarily about early fire season training for rookies, with a few interviews of veterans thrown in. The second half focused on a rookie that was doing fine except for the landings, or the “parachute landing fall”, called “PLF” on the show. The editing of the show was leading us to believe that she was going to flunk out, since mostly what was being shown was unsatisfactory PLF’s. But then at the end, there she was in the graduation ceremony, wearing a fire shirt with a tie like the other rookies that passed. I guess they needed to manufacture some drama to make the program as interesting as possible.
Here are some quotes from the show:
I. Love. This. Job. It’s not a job really. It’s a damn good time, to get a paycheck on top of it.
There’s no crying in firefighting.
The program will be a great recruiting tool for smokejumpers. The jumpers they interviewed were constantly saying how much they loved their work. The agencies are going to be inundated with inquiries about how to become a smokejumper.
If you missed the program last night, the full episode is available for viewing on the CMT website. It is about 42 minutes long, with a few short commercials.
Below are more images from the program.