The original Below Deck series debuted on Bravo on July 1, 2013. This reality show was the first of it’s kind, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the yachting world and its filthy rich clientele. On the Below Deck shows, viewers obtained a close-up look at affluent guests and the gorgeous ports of call, such as Phuket, Antigua, and Tahiti.
Below the deck, however, was the show’s greatest selling point; the overworked (and wildly attractive) crew.
On this series, crew members occupy tiny cabins underneath the luxurious guest quarters, often sharing rooms with their colleagues. The pairings of zero privacy, alcohol (on nights out post guests departures), and the high stresses of a physically demanding workspace has resulted in 10 seasons (thus far) of reality television gold.
Due to the fan-following this series quickly gathered, spinoffs began to emerge. To date, there are 5 different Below Deck series, though not all have caught on as strongly as the original.
Below Deck Adventure
Below Deck Adventure is the newest installment in the franchise, debuting in November 2022. With a low rating point, this spinoff is currently sitting at the least enjoyed amongst the viewership. That said, several of the Below Deck shows struggled out of the gate only to later gain huge followings throughout later seasons.
While Below Deck Adventure included the staples, such as a mega yacht, opulent guests, and an often wild crew, this series added on an extra component—extreme adventures. With Captain Kerry Titheradge at the helm, charter guests are taken on excursions around the glacial fjords of Norway. Once anchored, the charter guests take on paragliding, cave rappelling, ziplining and even heli-skiing.
With this slight twist and the stunning views, the series held great promise for the Bravo network.
Unfortunately, the casting choices were mostly underwhelming. With petty arguments, a lack of chemistry amongst the crew, and a chef that was prone to outbursts in the galley, Below Deck Adventure’s Season 1 was a mess.
As a Season 2 has yet to be announced, it is unknown if this spinoff will have a second chance to find its footing. If brought back, a complete cast overhaul will likely occur.
That said, Captain Kerry was a hit. He can stay.
Below Deck Mediterranean
While Below Deck Med had several great seasons, it began to loose viewership once the long-standing Chief Stew, Hannah Ferrier, was fired by Captain Sandy Yawn in Season 5. Hannah and Captain Sandy butted heads often, but her firing divided the Below Deck community.
After loosing a chef, deckhand Malia White, whom Captain Sandy adored, suggested her then-boyfriend, Chef Tom Checketts, join their vessel. When Malia then asked Hannah to move out of their shared cabin so that she could room with her boyfriend, Hannah refused.
Fresh off of their disagreement, Malia noticed a CBD pen and Valium in Hannah’s belongings. She reported this to Captain Sandy. Citing “maritime law,” Hannah was fired. Even though Hannah had a prescription, and the CBD was legal, Captain Sandy refused to bend.
The viewership tanked, with many tuning out over Captain Sandy’s continued presence. That said, her leadership style is also to blame, as she’s micromanaged her crew each season.
Below Deck Down Under
Below Deck Down Under is the only Below Deck spinoff to nail its premiere season. Streaming on Peacock first, the reception was an instantaneous yes. Debuting in March 2022, Below Deck Down Under Season 1 filmed in the Whitsunday Islands region of Australia.
Aesha Scott, a beloved stewardess on Below Deck Med, was the Chief Stew, giving viewers a feeling of familiarity within the series. Captain Jason Chambers, the youngest captain within the franchise, led from the wheelhouse.
This cast gelled well together, and combined with Captain Jason’s beautiful…everything, a decent ratings point was earned.
Below Deck Down Under Season 2, with Aesha and Captain Jason in tow, airs in just a few short weeks. As this series is relatively new, its ranking will likely continue to climb given a few more seasons.
Below Deck (Original)
This series also introduced the world to Kate Chastain, Captain Lee’s long-standing Chief Stew and friend. Kate’s sarcasm and dead-pan style of humor brought levity to stressful scenes prior to her departure in 2020.
Ratings and likability aside, Captain Lee is not returning for Season 11, as the network has decided to “freshen up” the series with a new face. With his witty one-liners and hands-off (but present) leadership style, he will be sorely missed, as Captain Lee has become the face of this franchise.
To quote Captain Lee, “I’m madder than a pissed-on chicken.”
Below Deck Sailing Yacht
Taking the win for the best of all the Below Deck shows is the third spinoff, Below Deck Sailing Yacht. Like a few of the others, Season 1 in 2020 was a bust. With a better cast overall, minus the keeping of Captain Glenn Shephard, Season 2 fared much higher.
As the only series to take place on a sailing yacht, the challenges the crew has to deal with are much higher. Here, the vessel often tilts completely to one side, sending charter guests and objects flying at random.
Currently in its fourth season, Below Deck Sailing Yacht has maintained several likable crew members for three seasons in a row, lending another layer as to why this series resonates with so many of its fans.
“Never screw the crew,” guys (kidding, continue, it’s great television).
Batten down the hatches, Below Deck Sailing Yacht is here to stay.
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