Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Previewing Live Free or Die

For the last fourteen years I have watched Survivor an thought to myself, sure, I could live on a deserted tropical beach for about a month living off fruit and rice for the chance of maybe getting a million dollars. Worst case scenario I get a bunch of nasty bug bites (well, that or fall face first into a fire). Then last year saw the premiere of Naked and Afraid and just the title alone made me think to myself, nope. Nope, nope, nope... no way. Since then a cottage industry of survivalist shows have popped up on the dial including Fat Guys in the Woods (another self explanatory title) and the O.G. survivalist Bear Grylls taking celebrities out into the wild.

One thing all these survivalist shows have in common is that at the end of every episode everyone goes back to their homes with central heating that are withing driving distance to grocery stores with packaged meats and beverages. When the cameras turn off on the new show Live Free or Die, the cameramen may go home to their warm homes, but the castmember stay out in the wilderness where they have lived for years without the trappings of modern technology. Well except for one who brought out his coffee machine out to the cabin he built by hand in the woods.

Live Free or Die, premiering tonight, follows five Americans (which includes one married couple) as they escape to the mountains and swamps of this county to live without electricity or running water. These are former schoolteachers and financial advisers who have left the buzz of the big city for a simple life which is not that simple without electricity and an easy place you can drive to to get food.. And the show has caught some of the survivalist in some hash conditions like the drought in California which is making wildlife scarce (no wildlife, no food) and single digit temperatures in the mountains of North Carolina.

Just because these people have left modern society does not mean they still do not have ties to that world, in episode two we meet one of the survivalists five year old daughter who spends every other week with her father. And just because they are living in the middle of nowhere, that does not mean they are immune to disaster as one of them learn very well at the end of the second episode that may very well threaten their survivalist lifestyle forever.

Live Free or Die airs Tuesdays at 10:00 on the National Geographic Channel.