The hit reality show “Survivor” may have started it all, but the “survival” genre of American TV has become more popular in the last decade. Viewers marvel at the brains and resourcefulness displayed by these survival stars – the skills they demonstrate are truly remarkable. Here are a few shows to check out if you want to brush up on your own survival skills.
Dual SurvivalAiring on the Discovery Channel, “Dual Survival” stars a pair of survival-savvy experts. The show started in 2010 and has been renewed for a fourth season. The two men are shown using survival skills to overcome various situations such as being stuck on a deserted island, lost in a jungle, or wandering in an empty desert. The show’s website features bios of the two men, photos, and videos, including one titled “Survival 101,” which is packed with helpful information about survival basics like avoiding animal attacks, navigating the land, bathroom sanitation, food, how to find water, containing water, tracking animals, how to make fire, and improvising with what you have in your surroundings.
Man vs. WildThis show’s general format centers on author and adventurer Bear Grylls and his attempts to survive and find a way back to civilization after being stranded. The show’s website offers overall tips for survival, as well as specific information and tips for regions such as Utah, Nevada, the Costa Rican rainforest, and the Alaskan mountain wilderness.
Ultimate Survival AlaskaIn this show from the National Geographic Channel, eight men are dropped in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness and must survive tough weather conditions. The show premiered this May and airs Sundays at 9 p.m. The Anchorage Daily News gives a nice summary: “In ‘Ultimate Survival Alaska,’ cast members travel 3,000 miles in a 10-stage expedition that begins in the Brooks Range and traces 200 miles of the Yukon River before heading to the Juneau ice cap. No GPS units, cell phones, watches or tents allowed.”
The Walking DeadIf the idea of a zombie apocalypse rattles you, tune into AMC’s hit series, “The Walking Dead” to learn how to stay alive. Returning in October, the show has a cult-like following, and is the most watched drama series on basic cable for adults 18-49 and adults 25-54, according to AMC’s website. Entertainment Weekly has called it “the greatest thriller ever produced for television.” On AMC’s blog, “Walking Dead” cast members have provided their own suggestions for how to survive an apocalypse, which include having a rifle, crossbow, or axe; eating beans, and cooking them all the way through; and remembering that “you do what you got to do, simple as that.”
Naked and AfraidIn this new series from Discovery, a pair of strangers will be stranded in some of the planet’s harshest environments with no food, water, tools, or clothes for 21 days. Each week features a new couple and a new environment; the first episode takes place in Tanzania on the Serengeti plains. Other episodes have been filmed in Panama, Costa Rica, the Maldives, and Borneo. In a New York Daily News article, Discovery channel executive Craig Coffman says the show had to go to extremes because survival shows have become more common. “Having no clothes just takes it to the next level. It’s the ultimate test and makes survival exponentially more difficult.” “Naked and Afraid” premieres June 23.
Catie Fry is a content writer/blogger for DIRECTV satellite television.