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#272614 - 10/30/14 03:32 PM The reality of "Reality TV"
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6829
Loc: southern Cal
An interesting critique of TV survival shows and their negative consequences

Geezer in Chief

#272620 - 10/30/14 05:42 PM Re: The reality of "Reality TV" [Re: hikermor]
yee Offline

Registered: 12/10/11
Posts: 169
Having read Lundin's books and seen a few episodes of various shows, the criticisms ring true. I doubt Lundin's comments are those of a disgruntled discharged employee.

#272628 - 10/30/14 10:56 PM Re: The reality of "Reality TV" [Re: hikermor]
chaosmagnet Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3097
Loc: USA
Good article.

#272636 - 10/31/14 02:05 AM Re: The reality of "Reality TV" [Re: chaosmagnet]
Roarmeister Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/01
Posts: 905
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet
Good article.

Great article. That's a first to see a calm balanced view of Survival TV. The author made his points without being overly critical about the genre. I do agree that a lot of the stuff they participate in is just for TV and trying to liven up a rather staid boring activity. This was the first article I've read where Stroud actually expresses his opinion about Man Vs. Wild.

I watch Cody in the Dual Survival- it was clear that as the shows went on, he was getting more and more annoyed with the show. His blowup on the Norway episode was slanted against him to make him look bad but he had some real good points that the producers weren't interested in.

I do take one exception though - "It was immediately clear to him that neither of his two partners, Canterbury or Teti, knew much about outdoor survival and that their military backgrounds taught them few useful survival skills." Having watched Dave's videos, he is the real deal and he knows more than people give him credit for although Dave is more into old time historical bushcraft and primitive skills than classic "survivalism".

I think I also missed the Hawke's show where his wife got heat stroke. The producers say "Safety is always our primary concern" but go to great lengths to spice up the show to sell. Somehow that statement rings a bit hollow. Survival TV has its place and has brought awareness to the masses but has also brought plenty of stupidity as well.

#272643 - 10/31/14 04:15 AM Re: The reality of "Reality TV" [Re: hikermor]
boatman Offline

Registered: 03/10/03
Posts: 424
Loc: Michigan
The best thing for survival TV would be PBS.Imagine a survival/bushcraft show done like "The Woodrights Shop".it could actually teach people skills and not shoot for ratings.Maybe that is something Cody Lundin should opt for.


#272644 - 10/31/14 09:23 AM Re: The reality of "Reality TV" [Re: hikermor]
Bingley Offline

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1384
Aside from the practicality of the shows, this is what I find troubling:

Certainly, there's an argument that the cast members know the risks involved when they sign up, but isn't there something disturbing about watching a show that appears to be gambling with people's lives?

This, though, is the direction survival TV seems headed. ... [Hawke says] "What they're creating is a culture that is fast heading toward films like The Running Man, where they become gladiator-style snuff films, putting people in harm's way in hopes that something will happen and they'll get big ratings."

Translation: by making the survival condition more and more outrageous, someone will eventually get badly hurt or killed, all in the service of making a "reality show" for an audience that may not know what survival reality is. Sure, we expect so little from the media that it doesn't surprise us when they focus on the fringe to do shows on emergency preparation, or when they have Bear Gryllis do all kinds of stuff that would get most people hurt or killed and call it survival. But gambling with people's life to make this sort of show is cold and useless.

#272646 - 10/31/14 03:06 PM Re: The reality of "Reality TV" [Re: boatman]
Mark_R Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 853
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: boatman
The best thing for survival TV would be PBS.Imagine a survival/bushcraft show done like "The Woodrights Shop".it could actually teach people skills and not shoot for ratings.Maybe that is something Cody Lundin should opt for.


I just watched an episode of The Woodrights Shop on YouTube. If Cody Lundin, or any other big name survival skills expert, did that type of step by step walkthrough, I would follow it like TWD.
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane

#272647 - 10/31/14 03:22 PM Re: The reality of "Reality TV" [Re: hikermor]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1131
Loc: Alaska
Good article. Just reinforces why I don't watch TV. I especially don't watch so called "reality TV".
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

#272653 - 10/31/14 05:51 PM Re: The reality of "Reality TV" [Re: hikermor]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Very good article.

"Other shows in various states of production include one that places contestants alone in the wilderness for six weeks, and still another hopes to send them out for six months. And National Geographic just announced The Raft, which will maroon two pairs of strangers at sea, and another show that will see if an average Joe can survive in the wilderness with an expert offering instruction through an earpiece.

Hawke's comments about "The Running Man" flavor don't seem so over the top when viewed in light of the ideas for these new shows.

Ridiculous. Look at what it did to this guy.

#272661 - 10/31/14 08:25 PM Re: The reality of "Reality TV" [Re: hikermor]
BruceZed Offline

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 305
Loc: Canada
When Survival TV started I used to think it would be good, because at least it would teach a few basic skills, get people interested in taking real training and learning real useful survival skills hands-on. I WAS WRONG because most individuals cannot separated what is useful and what was placed into an episode purely for entertainment value. Indeed over the last 10 years it has just got worse along with the quality of Survival TV.

I get casting call e-mails a few times each year, this year they are busy looking for someone stupid enough to walk into Canadaís Wilderness Naked with only 1 Item. Thatís got to be dumbest premise for a show possible, since it took Human Hunter/Gathers 1000ís of years to develop the skills to live up here and they never came into the wilderness Naked or without Clothing, Gear, Weapons, and Help from an Extended Family.

A Few years ago I wrote an Article about the subject Survival TV vs. Reality, but personally I think the situation has just gotten worse since then. With the Departure of Cody Lundin, one of the few Real Survival Instructors on TV from his show it means the Score is now TV Entertainers 8 Survival Instruction 1!
Bruce Zawalsky
Chief Instructor
Boreal Wilderness Institute

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