Television Review: Alone

A few weeks back, I heard good things about a new-to-Netflix show (that originally airs on the History Channel) called Alone. The premise is straightforward: bring 10 people into a remote area of the world, and drop them each off in corner of their own, where they won’t be able to meet up with anyone else. Then, leave. They’re allowed to bring ten items of their choosing with them, along with an emergency medical kit and a satellite phone. (Items can include knives, fire sticks, bow and arrow, a tarp, axes, etc.) No shelter. No food. They stay out and rough it for as long as they can. Each person can give up at any time. Just get the phone and call it a day.

The last person standing at the end wins $500,000.

It’s really a fantastic show, mainly because it does a few things really well. First of all, it picks people who all seem to be supremely qualified for the show. People with extensive experience living outdoors with minimal supplies. I mean, it’s not like they took ten people like me who you’d figure would last all of two days before they’re eaten by a bear. No. These are all really rugged individuals. People who you really don’t know how long they’ll last. Who you think, “Man. They sound like they’ll be able to last for an entire year.”

But they don’t put them just anywhere. In the only season on Netflix, they take them to the arctic in September. Just in time for them to hit some autumn and then get the full blast of winter as it sets in. Food is scarce, and they’re competing with other predators like foxes, bears, and wolves. So you’ve got really competent people competing in a punishing environment.

That makes for some fantastic television, especially with so much money on the line.

As the season progresses, people you think are a surefire lock to go the distance end up making really stupid mistakes. Other people who seem like they’ll fold relatively soon end up surprising you. There’s run in with wildlife and natural dangers. You really don’t know what’s going to happen next, especially since the competitors end up being out long enough that they’re not just fighting nature, they’re fighting their own sanity, as some of them really crack under the strain of being alone for that long.

In any case, it’s a highly watchable show. If you’re squeamish about seeing animals get cut up and eaten, you might want to pass, but other than that, I can’t think of a downside. Check it out, and be glad you’re not quite as quarantined as some people . . .

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