All of those shows attempt some drama. The "is it going to rain" bit, the "I've never fit this system alone before, I don't know if they'll criticize me".
You are right...TV loves drama and if they don't have it, they create it. The new guy Chris just started with Aquascape last fall and they filmed this show over the winter (this was actually filmed in March in Georgia). So he is relatively new to the industry (he does have a horticulture degree and experience installing landscapes, but not ponds). I am sure he had plenty of help from the CAC's (Certified Aquascape Contractors) that were assisting on the job on how to finish that wetland filter.
And as for rain...it sucks, especially for jobs where we have larger stones and machines. Working on wet clay and a slope is the worst as it basically turns into grease (there is a shot from the pondless build with the mini ex trying to get up the slope in the background and the tracks are just spinning). rain is a constant threat to slow things down. Just this week, my guys installed a small pondless feature that should have taken my crew 6 hours to put in. they quit after 8 hours becuase they were cold and wet and more rain was forecast the next day. 2 of my guys went out and finished it the next day and we pushed back the install for the next day to Monday of next week. They production crew is scheduled for a week, so they have to finish both projects in the week, no matter what. they have been working 16 hour days on these shows to get both jobs done in a week...plus there are 2-3 other local companies like me assisting them make it happen. If i built one of those jobs they showed in the episode with my 5 man crew, we would be there 5-6 days on the pondless and 6-7 on the pond (without cameras running. i once agreed to let a production company on a job site to document the project for a water gardening book and they successfully turned a 3 day project into 6 days for my crew....they kept stopping us to photograph and every time i had to change clothes as i was not allowed to have dirt on my clothes...simply amazing!).
More design details would be good. When they introduce the site, a visualization would have been nice. They had some later, but the graphics weren't very impressive. Also, more info on the animals in the area would be good.
i agree on the design part. i thought the graphics were decent. i think they are trying to avoid making the show an advertisement for the product they sale so they are limiting showing the equipment we use to make these systems work? we install a lot of man made stuff to make these function, but it is always hidden pretty good to make it look so natural.
This has turned me off quite a few reality shows, such as car hoarders(?) where the main guys argue over a few hundred dollars while getting paid tens of thousands for being in the episode. I hope the show doesn't take that path.
Aquascape is actually not being paid anything for this show by Nat Geo Wild. The jobs are actually sold jobs by the local Certified Aquascape Contractors. As a CAC, I can submit show ideas that i have sold to Aquascape and Nat Geo Wild and then Nat Geo Wild picks the builds they want to show. In episode 1, Jeff (the guy that shows up in the truck towards the beginning) is the local CAC that sold those 2 jobs. The Pond Stars just come to lead the build. As for who the Pond Stars are, they are some of the highest recognized guys in our trade. They have appeared on National New shows. Aquascape is the largest supplier of pond projects in North America and most guys like me use their product. they are also a pioneer, as they usually are the developers of new product, and then other companies follow suit and make a similar product. Their end goal of the show is to promote the industry and their methodology. the mantra I have heard a few times is a "rising tide raises all ships". that being said, they are obviously not idiots and have hired a PR firm and redesigned their website to help grow their market share.
Being on camera makes things weird for a while, I have heard from some friends that have seen all the episodes that the episodes they have filmed get better and better. i am really looking forward to the next episode as Bernie (the local CAC they are working with on the trout pond) is an incredible pond builder, person, and personal friend. I hope he gets lots of camera time!