When I was younger I loved watching MTV’s The Real World, at the time a revolutionary new television genre known as “reality TV.” The Real World would bring together “seven strangers, picked to live in a house, and have their lives taped,” so went the introduction to every show. Eventually, the premise became tired, cliched and predictable. But it was fun.
Now, of course, the idea has overrun pop culture with seemingly every walk of life chronicled for your viewing pleasure. Whether it’s Kardashians, rich housewives or, coming soon, former NFL quarterback and now analyst Terry Bradshaw and his family, it’s overwhelming.
But credit to our friends at the Discovery Channel for coming up with a pretty interesting spin. Call it The Real World meets Alaska: The Last Frontier.
A new series, 100 Days Wild, premieres tonight (check local listings) on Discovery. The hook? An Alaska homesteading couple solicits a group of strangers to join them in the bush to help hunt, fish, forage and generally prepare for the long Alaskan winter.
In a preview of the series, we meet a personable couple, Jennifer and Andrew, who have hunkered down in the unforgiving Alakan Interior along the Tanana River.
They welcome an eccentric crew of helpful Lower 48ers who love the outdoors and either practice or embrace the homesteading the lifestyle. Adam, Oliver, Gerrid, Christine, and Evan all have their own strengths when it comes to surviving in the backcountry.
As you’d expect, even the most hearty and eager folks who have thrived in the wilderness can’t quite be prepared for a whole new ballgame in the Alaskan Interior. Whether it’s coming up empty trying to calling in a bull moose to a tough day trying to net some much-needed salmon on the river, 100 Days Wild is a fascinating look at how different personalities must work together – leaving their set-in-their ways egos at the door – to secure the necessary food supply and shelter for the hazards of winter.
Here’s a clip of what to expect:
As the video shows, the defacto star of the show might be Oliver, a Utah “Mountain Man” who fancies himself as a modern-day Daniel Boone. “I can outrun, out jump, out drink, outfight, and out (expletive) any man,” he proclaims.
And right away, as Oliver and Evan, one of the less experienced off-the-grid participants, head upriver to call and hunt for caribou, Oliver sets the the tone for I’m guessing the rest of the series by “going rogue” and defying Andrew’s and Jennifer’s instructions. When Andrew joins them, Oliver, who has made camp in an area filled with beavers he’s targeting for trapping purposes but also the most likely place the hunters would find a caribou, he tells Andrew he can just shoot around him. As you might guess, that didn’t sit well with the group leader.
The rest of the new Alaska pioneers appear far more humble and easy-going but also confident in their various abilities, so everyone brings some individuality to the scene.
It looks like it will be a fun series, and while for most of us this lonely stretch of Alaska might not be the real world, I’ve found this crew more believable than The Real World.