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Survivorman Returns

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One of my favorite TV shows is coming back for a second season in August, after a long hiatus. Survivorman is a one-man survival show, hosted by Canadian survival expert/musician/TV producer Les Stroud. Each episode finds Les completely alone in the wilderness for seven days, carrying his own cameras and recording himself on a seven-day survival trek. Let me emphasize that: this guy is alone, schlepping fifty pounds of camera gear himself, while devising his own food, water, and shelter (he typically brings the most absurdly minimal survival gear with him, like a single match, a candy bar, maybe a rusty tin can). He's hardcore. And he's quite a nice guy, which makes you root for him as he survives the elements.

Tons more after the jump.

The first season of Survivorman found Les in locales such as a Georgia swamp; simulating a plane crash in the northern Ontario forest (there's a nice scene where he starts a fire by shorting the plane's battery and igniting a tiny bit of gasoline left in the tank); and my personal favorite: lost at sea off the coast of Belize. For that last one there was a support boat tailing his life raft, with a radio in case of emergencies. The raft was leaking, so much of his time was spent bailing seawater. I'm telling you: hardcore.

Much of the joy of Survivorman comes from how it operates on multiple levels. On the surface level, it's a show about survival, which is fairly interesting. But on the level below, it's a show about making a show about survival -- watching how this guy is all alone out there, making compelling TV. When you see some of the stuff Les is doing, you have to ask: how in the world did he get that shot? The Season 1 DVD has a behind-the-scenes episode that explains the lengths he goes to in order to record himself doing things like trekking across arctic ice floes (the short answer: he sets up a camera, treks for a few miles, then comes back and gets the camera). Finally, there's a slight Grizzly Man element to the whole thing -- what if he dies out there in the field? Would there be a final episode cobbled together from the tapes he left behind? I sure hope it doesn't come to that, but still, I have to wonder.

While shooting the second season, Les has been blogging from the wilderness (I guess this means he's carrying a computer too?). Here's an example from his entry in the Kalahari Desert:

My challenge is to spend my time in this extremely hot ecosystem and make my way across the desert to the crew camp. My personal survival items consist of only my watch, a multi tool and 20 litres (about 4 gallons) of water. With the truck I found: two empty pop cans, a nearly finished jar of peanut butter, a can of jam, two buckets, some cups, a can of coffee and an empty glass sugar dispenser from a restaurant. The locals sent me in with an ostrich egg as a gift and I've snuck in a small piece of chocolate I had in my pocket. Heh heh. I've brought all the stuff here under the tree with me.

It's mandatory that a person has at least one gallon per day if they expect to survive dehydration in this kind of heat. I have 20L - roughly 4 gallons - enough for four days. I'm supposed to stay here for seven.

Survivorman returns to the Discovery Channel on August 10, and OLN (Outdoor Life Network) on October 2. You can read more about the Season 2 premiere, but the best preparation is to watch old episodes from Season 1 (Les wants you to buy the DVD but episodes are often on Discovery in syndication). A word of warning: there are cut-down 30-minute episodes on some networks in syndication. The original episodes are an hour long, and you lose a lot in the edit.

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Shout! Factory
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entertainment
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathon Is Back
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Shout! Factory

For many fans, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is as beloved a Thanksgiving tradition as mashed potatoes and gravy (except funnier). It seems appropriate, given that the show celebrates the turkeys of the movie world. And that it made its debut on Thanksgiving Day in 1988 (on KTMA, a local station in Minneapolis). In 1991, to celebrate its third anniversary, Comedy Central hosted a Thanksgiving Day marathon of the series—and in the more than 25 years since, that tradition has continued.

Beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday, Shout! Factory will host yet another Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day marathon, hosted by series creator Joel Hodgson and stars Jonah Ray and Felicia Day. Taking place online at ShoutFactoryTV.com, or via the Shout! Factory TV app on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and select smart TVs, the trio will share six classic MST3K episodes that have never been screened as part of a Shout! Factory Turkey Day Marathon. Here’s hoping your favorite episode makes it (cough, Hobgoblins, cough.)

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CableTV.com
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Pop Culture
America's Favorite Reality Shows, By State
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CableTV.com

From aspiring crooners to housewives looking to settle scores, there are plenty of reality shows out there for every interest. But which ones are currently the most popular? To answer this question, CableTV.com mined Google Trends data to measure the most-watched “real-life” programs in each state. They broke their findings down in the map below.

The results: Residents of sunny California and Arizona are still Keeping Up With the Kardashians, while Texans love Little Women: Dallas. Louisianans can’t get enough of Duck Dynasty and in Utah, viewers are tuning in to Sister Wives.

See which other shows made the cut below, and afterwards, check out CableTV.com’s deep data dive from 2016 to see how our viewing preferences have changed over a year.

A map breaking down each state's favorite reality show, created by the CableTV.com team.
CableTV.com

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