Real Survival

Posted 2009.10.27 20.52 in Music/Movies/TV, Pointless Blather

(A new TV show that I’d like to see.)

Not long ago, someone told me about a “reality tv” show called “Survivor”, where a bunch of “contestants” have to do made-up challenges and eventually someone wins some money. From how it was explained to me, it’s not really about survival so much as watching average people act like goofs on television, while saving the studio loads of money they’d otherwise have to spend on scripts and writing and quality.

This gave me an idea for a new television show, one where people were in actual life-and-death survival situations. This is the survival show I’d like to see:

You take two teams, 12 people per team. They are average people, just a random selection from whomever applied to be on the show. The directors can pick the ones that will give the most ‘drama’ or be the ‘best tv’ or whatever. As long as none of them are trained survivalist professionals. Once the two-dozen contestants are selected, they get divided into teams by luck of the draw (or by the director setting up who they think will make for good tv.) Then we assign three ‘experts’ to each team. Each team will get two cameramen who are experienced in wilderness survival and wilderness photography. Then each team will be assigned a ‘captain’.

The first team gets Les Stroud, from the Survivorman series. The second team gets Bear Grylls from the Man vs Wild series.

Each episode the two teams will be dumped (literally) in some remote wild location. They will not be anywhere near each other. They will be some pre-determined distance from an objective (ideally on opposite sides of the objective). The exact distance will vary, but will be such that it should take approximately 5 days on foot to reach it. The teams will then be left alone, and the first team to reach the objective wins that episode.

Before every episode, each team member will be issued clothing appropriate for the terrain/climate, a swiss-army knife, and a couple granola bars.

The team captains will help guide their team across the terrain, showing them how to find food, shelter, and so forth. The cameramen will film as much as they can, and help out where absolutely necessary, but their primary task is filming. There will be no contact with the outside world, except for a) critical emergency, or b) if the team is unable to reach the objective after 5 days and are ‘lost’. Team captains will be issued satellite-phones, to be used only in these circumstances.

The rules will be quite simple – teams must stay together and must reach the objective together. If a team leaves someone behind, or someone ‘gives up’, that team loses the episode regardless of which team got to the objective first. (If both teams leave someone behind, then whichever did so first loses.) If a team is the first to reach the objective with all their members, they win the episode, and will gain a ‘reward’. The reward will vary from week to week, and will be appropriate for the next episode. Rewards might be a GPS, map, compass, potable water, extra granola bars, etc.

When the second team reaches the objective, that team will have lost, and they will collectively vote to ‘send home’ their weakest member. The cameramen and team leader will not be allowed to vote, nor may they be ‘sent home’.

Should a team member be critically injured or killed, that team will be declared the episode’s losing team, and the injured / deceased member will be counted as the one ‘sent home’.

In this way, the show will gradually whittle down the number of  ‘contestants’ till just four remain. The four will form a single team, and they, with two cameramen, will be sent into one final episode. Mr. Grylls and Mr. Stroud will join the announcer for commentary during the last episode, and at the end, the remaining contestants will vote among themselves for the winner.

The winner will be awarded $1,000,000 dollars. And of course, all contestants will come away with wonderful experiences and life lessons.

So – ok it’s a bit rough-and-tumble. I bet it’ll be popular though – just the prospect that any episode could see someone get killed, would surely get a lot of people to tune in. It might be difficult to get the two stars to go along though. And think of the venues! Well, if you’ve seen SurvivorMan or Man vs Wild then you’ve already seen them, but think! Arboreal Forest! Amazon Jungle! Tundra! Desert! Swamp! Mountains! Deserted Island!

In between the bs TV drama of which contestant is going to sleep with whom, you’d get to see them actually starving, really being sleep-deprived, actually begging to be left behind (or put out of their misery), and we could cut in some great aerial landscape photography. It would look awesome in HD.

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