Mayday (TV series)
|Also known as||Air Crash Investigation(s)
(National Geographic Channel)
|Created by||André Barro|
|Narrated by||Stephen Bogaert for Canada and the USA
Bill Ratner for the USA (Smithsonian Channel)
Jonathan Aris for Australia, Asia and the UK
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||14 (Season 14 in production)|
|No. of episodes||119 (108 aired) (List of episodes)|
|Running time||40–55 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Cineflix Productions|
|Original channel||Discovery Channel Canada
National Geographic Channel
|Original run||3 September 2003 – present|
Mayday, also known as Air Crash Investigation(s) in Australia, South Africa, Asia and some European countries, and Air Emergency and Air Disasters in the United States, is a Canadian documentary television program produced by Cineflix investigating air crashes, near-crashes, hijackings, bombings and other disasters. Mayday uses re-enactments and computer-generated imagery to reconstruct for its audiences the sequence of events leading up to each disaster. In addition, aviation experts, retired pilots and crash investigators are interviewed explaining how these emergencies came about, how they were investigated and how they could have been prevented.
Cineflix started production on 13 August 2002, with a CDN$2.5 million budget. Cineflix secured deals with France 5, the Discovery Channel, Canal D, TVNZ, the Seven Network, the Holland Media Group and the National Geographic Channel, to take Mayday to 144 countries and 26 languages. The series was received well by critics and nominated for a number of awards. Sharon Zupancic won a Gemini Award for her work on the Mayday episode, "Lockerbie Disaster". UNSW's senior lecturer, Raymond Lewis, conducted a study on teaching strategy loosely based on the series. Lewis's results indicated using the strategy had "a positive effect on learning outcomes."
The series features re-enactments, interviews, eyewitness testimony, computer-generated imagery, and in nearly all of the episodes, cockpit voice recordings to reconstruct the sequence of events to the audiences. Several passengers and crew members (whether they survived the incident or not) are picked and actors/actresses play the role of those passengers and crews throughout the flight usually starting from boarding of the flight. The flight routines in the air traffic control, cockpit and cabin are recreated on screen starting from departure up to the moment of the emergency. At the moment of the emergency, external view of the aircraft from different angles are recreated to show the effect and what had happened to the aircraft. The responses and reactions of the passengers, crews and air traffic control leading up to the eventual crash or emergency landing are then recreated. All the scenes in cockpit and air traffic control centers are recreated using the actual script obtained from the cockpit voice recorder of the aircraft and other recordings made at the time.
Throughout the episodes the victims or relatives and friends of victims are interviewed. In addition aviation experts, retired pilots and investigators are interviewed on the evidence and explain how these emergencies came about and how they could have been prevented.
Production and distribution
Cineflix started production for Mayday on 13 August 2002, with a CDN$2.5 million budget, after Channel Five commissioned the six-part one-hour series. To keep the costs down most of the production was kept at Cineflix's Toronto offices in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. While in production the series was sold to France 5, Discovery Channel and Canal D. On 2 June 2003, Cineflix announced that they sold the series to TVNZ, the Seven Network and the Holland Media Group, later on 22 October 2003, a month before the airing of the first season, Cineflix announced that they secured a major international deal with National Geographic Channel to take Mayday to 144 countries and 26 languages.
As of 17 February 2014[update], a total of 108 episodes of Mayday have aired, including five "Science of Disaster" specials and three "Crash Scene Investigation" spin-offs. Season 13 of Mayday is currently airing in the UK and will consist of eleven episodes, including a special. Season 14 of Mayday was announced by Cineflix in September 2013 and will enter production in 2014.
|Season premiere||Season finale|
|1||6||3 September 2003||22 October 2003|
|2||6||23 January 2005||27 February 2005|
|3||13||14 September 2005||7 December 2005|
|4||10||15 April 2007||17 June 2007|
|5||10||16 April 2007||2 March 2008|
|6||3||9 April 2008||11 June 2008|
|7||8||4 November 2009||17 December 2009|
|8||2||10 June 2009||17 June 2009|
|9||8||8 September 2010||27 October 2010|
|10||6||27 February 2011||28 March 2011|
|11||13||12 August 2011||13 April 2012|
|12||13||3 August 2012||15 April 2013|
|13||11||16 December 2013||9 May 2014|
The series has been received well by critics. Paul Mavis from DVDTalk recommends Mayday as "Harrowing and surprisingly emotional" and continues with "Never exploitive, [Mayday] not only ratchets up the suspense with its well-done action scenes, it validates them by showing us the human side of these horrific air disasters." Franck Tabouring from DVD Verdict said "It's a well-produced show with plenty of compelling information about tragic accidents, telling how some people survived and others didn't."
Sharon Zupancic won the 25th Gemini Awards for "Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series" for her work on the Mayday episode, "Lockerbie Disaster". Season five of Mayday was nominated in the 24th Gemini Awards for "Best General/Human Interest Series". A number of Mayday episodes were nominated in the Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards, including: "Air India: Explosive Evidence" and "Fatal Distraction" in 2009; "Missed Approach" and "Miracle Flight" in 2008; and "Flying Blind" in 2004.
University of New South Wales's senior lecturer, Raymond Lewis, conducted a study on teaching strategy loosely based on the series. The study was done with prospective pilots studying the Aircraft Systems for Aviators undergraduate course. The results of the study shows "the use of air accidents and incident scenarios had a positive effect on learning outcomes."
- Mavis, Paul (15 April 2009). "Mayday — Air Disasters". DVD Talk.
- Mavis, Tabouring (23 April 2009). "Mayday — Air Disasters". DVD Verdict.
- "New Cineflix science series Mayday starts production" (Press release). Cineflix. 13 August 2002.
- Luke, Donna (1 January 2003). No Borders. Interview with Susan Zeller for Realscreen.
- "Cineflix goes global with popular science series Mayday. Germany's Prosieben latest channel to acquire the show" (Press release). Cineflix. 2 June 2003.
- "Cineflix International strikes NATGEO deal for new popular science series Mayday" (Press release). Cineflix. 22 October 2003.
- Cineflix Rights seals North and Latin American deals
- "Mayday premieres on Discovery, Wednesday, September 3 at 10 p.m." (Press release). Cineflix. 14 August 2003.
- "Mayday – Popular Cineflix series returns to Discovery Channel with two new back-to-back episodes, Sunday, January 23, 2005, at 8 pm ET" (Press release). Cineflix. 1 December 2004.
- Mayday (a Titles & Air Dates guide), epguides, 14 July 2013
- "A New Season of Mayday Takes Flight, April 15 on Discovery Channel" (Press release). Discovery Channel Canada. 30 March 2007.
- "Never Take a Safe Landing For Granted Again – Discovery Channel Presents Season 7 of MAYDAY and DAILY PLANET's "Flying Things Week" in November" (Press release). Discovery Channel Canada. 15 October 2009.
- TV.com. "Air Emergency - Episode Guide". TV.com. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
- "Buckled In and Cabin Baggage Safely Stowed, MAYDAY returns to Discovery Channel for a 9th Season, Sept. 8" (Press release). Discovery Channel Canada. 13 August 2010.
- "Air Crash Investigation TV Listing (UK)". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
- Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series, Gemini Award, 2010
- 24th: Full list of nominations and winners, Gemini Award, 2009, p. 6
- "Awards". Canadian Society of Cinematographers. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
- Lewis, Raymond (December 2009). Air Crash Investigators — comments on a pedagogical strategy to increase intrinsic motivation in order to enhance student learning..
- Cineflix: Mayday
- Cineflix: Mayday – Science of Disaster (Archive)
- Cineflix: Crash of the Century
- Mayday on Discovery Channel Canada
- Air Crash Investigation on National Geographic Channel UK
- Air Crash Investigation National Geographic Channel Australia
- Air Disasters on Smithsonian Channel
- Mayday at the Internet Movie Database
- Air Emergency at TV.com