During last night’s double-episode of Naked and Afraid, Discovery premiered a preview of Naked and Afraid XL, the network’s exciting summer series where 12 former Naked and Afraid contestants accept a new, and more unfathomably-difficult challenge. Some of N&A’s most memorable contestants will work together as a group as they survive in the Colombian jungle for 40 days. This is insanity. 40 Days?!? Many of the returnees successfully completed the 21 day-survival challenge (some of them alone!) so for them, what are a few more weeks? And for those participants who failed in their first attempt, it’s time for redemption!
Another aspect of Naked and Afraid XL that piques my interest is the news that the participants are all inserted alone and they have to find each other and decide of they want to band together or head off on their own. (A few of the dozen returnees who would drive me bonkers!)
To be selected for Naked and Afraid, casting director Kristi Russell from Metal Flowers Media told me, “Any candidate who applies for Naked and Afraid must be a top-tier — almost elite — survivalist. The conditions that our cast members face when they get out there are harrowing.” So every person who headed out into the great unknown was a pretty astute survivalist. But hunger, and mosquito bites you-know-where can turn make all but the most mentally touch want to quit. And sometimes, people who look like they should master the Naked and Afraid experience are felled by simple bad luck (storms, bugs, an injury or illness, a change in location, etc.)
Let’s take a look at sneak peek #1
EJ Snyder still hates eels and Jeff Zausch has become a wizard with a spear. (A little backstory: When EJ made his second visit to Naked and Afraid’s fun times, he and former participant Laura Zerra were inserted into the muggy, buggy Amazon in the Season 2 premiere. EJ got a little coo-coo when he killed an eel and Laura called him on the taunting of his meal. He cried and they made up.) It looks like EJ hasn’t remembered his lesson, because again he’s yelling at eels, even after one zaps him with “1500 VOLTS THROUGH MY BODY!!!!!” he screams at the cameras. Jeff also gets zapped by the eel. Considering that they both get stunned after grabbing the spear, it makes me wonder if it’s metal. And if it is, that is totally bad-ass!
Discovery released this clip which is slightly different from the preview we saw last night … but you get the idea.
In sneaky peek #2, we basically see a lot of difficult to discern shots of meat, blades, sad-looking faces, yelling mouths. It doesn’t tell us much. But hey, EJ is there and he’s mugging for the camera again! This guy has personality up the wazoo (he’s naked and I can see a bit of his personality peeking out of there.)
Sneak peek #3. More hard to discern shots, but from what I gather they’re much better at catching stuff. I see some kind of four-legged, hooved animal, and also what may be a stingray. I’m not sure about fresh-water stingrays, so it could be a snake or the eel from preview #1. Nonetheless, it’s a lot more food than we’ve seen many of the participants catch. Then again, they’re trying to feed a dozen hungry people. Also, the bugs seem super excited to have a bunch of starving, stinky, naked people to feast upon.
One of the things that I’m most interested to see is how the survival experience feels when there is a group. Each of the 12 people who are returning to Naked and Afraid XL, is a leader with a strong personality. With so many people looking to call the shots, I imagine a lot of drama!
Naked and Afraid XL > Discovery Channel > Sundays at 9pmET/PT beginning July 12