We are so used to "National Geographic" swatting extra-base hits that when it merely delivers a single, we tend to be disappointed.
That's the case with "Chesapeake Borne," the first offering of its new TV season, airing at 8 tonight on Channels 28, 15, 24 and 50. It's interesting but not as amazing, insightful or involving as the best of this distinguished series of documentaries.
The subject is the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. Rather than simply a large body of water that supports a variety of life forms, writer-producer David F. Oyster sees the Chesapeake as a dominant force in the lives of the people who have grown up along its shores.
"Chesapeake Borne" is at its strongest in demonstrating how culture is shaped by environment. We see fishermen who make their living off the bay, sportsmen who pursue their recreation in the bay, Navy seamen who train on the bay and artists who take their inspiration from the bay. We see a Miss Crustacean beauty contest in Crisfield, Md., and a goose-calling contest in Easton, Md.