If you were alone — REALLY alone — in the wilderness, what do you think would do you in first? The wild, predatory animals? The harsh terrain? Or the unfathomable loneliness that can only come from being totally cut-off from all of humanity? (I want to say the loneliness would get me, but I’m pretty sure I’d be mauled by a black bear before I had the chance to pine for human contact. But then again, I’m no survivalist. Thank goodness the contenders on Alone are, or this series would be done after day one.)
Tonight at 10pm ET/PT (9pm CT), History will air the premiere of Alone, a 10-episode series which places 10 hardcore survivalists into the wilderness of Vancouver Island with one, and only one mission: stay alive. History calls this “the country’s boldest and longest survival experiment ever captured for television.” I had the pleasure of watching the first episode early, and was pleasantly surprised: as promised, it’s not gimmicky, and is definitely grittier than the prettied-up reality television we’ve all come to expect.
Part of what makes the series so compelling is that there are no teams, no alliances, no producer-imposed challenges: each of the 10 men are completely and utterly alone. Divided by water or impassable mountains to ensure total isolation from each other, Alone‘s contenders don’t even have camera crews following them around. The self-documentary style of filming gives the show a bit of a Blair Witch feel, especially when the night vision cameras capture the fear of these men under the fall of darkness, as they work to keep away their predators: wolves, black bears, and cougars. (Vancouver Island has the highest amount of cougar attacks in North America.) Equipped with only 10 items for survival (in addition to their clothes), the goal for each man is to outlast the others, and the winner will receive a cool $500,000.
Each contestant gets a satellite phone, and can tap out when he gets to the point where he simply can’t go any further; a rescue team shows up to remove him from the island. The first episode covers just a bit more than one day (my guess is that one person taps out per episode); however, one man’s personal goal is to make it to 90 days, so I wonder if this is more of a 10-day or a 3-month experience. I guess we’ll find that out in the 9 hourlong episodes that remain after tonight’s premiere (which air in the same 10pm ET/PT, 9pm CT timeslot as tonight’s episode).
Here’s a first look at tonight’s episode:
Head over to History’s Alone webpage (here) for a 10-minute sneak peek of the premiere, and even more info on the series. Here, you can see bios of all of the contenders … who do you think will outlast the others? Let me know what you think, in the comments.
All photos © 2015 A&E Televisions Networks, LLC.