What Are You Watching? ‘Alone’

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Ever wonder what it’s like to be stranded on a remote island filled with dangerous, predatory animals? If you’re like me, this thought has crossed your mind. How would one survive out in the wilderness, having to find food, water, and shelter before the devastating effects of hunger and thirst set in? Well, for one, you’d have to be experienced in wilderness survival. But the real test will come after accounting for all physical needs, and the mental duress takes over — you realize you’re all alone, thousands of miles from your loved ones.

This is the premise of “Alone,” a survival reality show that’s by far the realest and most intense show of this genre. Sure, Bear Grylls is cool on “Man vs. Wild,” but he constantly has a camera crew with him, and is backed up by other adventurers and medical technicians. Similarly, “Survivorman” with Les Stroud has him out in the wilderness by himself, but a support crew is always nearby to monitor him in case things go south.

In “Alone,” survival experts send in video submissions of themselves constructing makeshift shelters, starting friction fires with wet wood, and other impressive feats of survival out in the bush. After all the submissions are reviewed, 10 participants are selected to head out to a remote destination and prove their skills.

Once the contestants are dropped at their respective survival locations, it’s up to them to not only survive as long as they can (be the last one standing and receive a $500,000 prize), but to be their own camera crew, and film all the trials and tribulations they face along the way. This show is fascinating and thrilling because it shows you a lot of different techniques for surviving in the wilderness. But “Alone,” which I believe to be aptly named, is all about the mental strain of being isolated for extended periods. For the most part, contestants end up tapping out due to loneliness and missing their family and friends, not due to exposure, thirst, or hunger.

Different seasons of the show feature different survival locations, including Vancouver Island, which has the highest density of cougars in North America, and an equally high number of cougar attacks on humans. This exciting and nerve-wracking watch can be found on Hulu. Are you ready to be “Alone”?