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TV Survival shows reaching. More Les please.

by Mark Cartwright

I love the TV show, Survivorman.  Put a man in the wilderness with nothing but a pack of camera equipment, and a multi-tool, and tell him to not only survive for a week, but film his moments of glory and misery for a show.  It was a great idea, and the results were incredible.  Les Stroud is the best there is, at doing these shows.  The success of Survivorman, as well as Bear Grylls' Man vs Wild (of which I'm also a big fan) spawned a whole bunch of imitators, all of which fall short.  Do I like the show, Dual Survival?  Nope.  They pair up a guy with military training with another guy who calls himself a "minimalist."  The fact that the minimalist refuses to wear shoes - even in the snow tells me that they reached too far when trying to pair up two contrasting personalities.  Besides, it's not really a survival situation if there's two of them.  One guy can always eat the other if it comes down to nitty gritty and starvation.  Then there was Man, Woman, Wild, with the guy who took his wife out into survival situations with him.  He, once again, highly skilled in survival techniques, and she, a TV anchorwoman.  Yeah, that was great, right until halfway through the first episode, when they had to call in the rescue helicopters because she needed a drink of water.   Bad idea.  For me, I'll still watch a rerun of Les Stroud before I buy into any of these other programs.  They're dropping people in Alaska, they're leaving entire groups of people to "survive" together, and for God sakes, they've got one show where they're dropping naked people in the jungle!  I have no need to see blurred out genitalia, and a grass covered, bug bitten, hairy ass walking through the rain forest.  Despite trying every new twist they can think of, nothing they do beats the original Survivorman.  They're still eating the most disgusting things for the camera, whether it be termites or grubs, or abandoned animal carcasses.  They're still making fire with sparks and tinder, and they're still making crude shelters with palm fronds and bamboo.  It's all been done before, and it was all done better by Les Stroud.