Movie Monday – Out of the Wild Discovery Series

No movies this past week! How did that happen? 🙂

We’ve been watching a lot of survival related tv on netflix lately so I thought I’d fill today’s slot with mention of one we’ve particularly enjoyed – Out of the Wild. A Discovery channel show with two editions, one that aired in 2009, The Alaska Experiment, and another in 2011, Venezuela. Both are available for streaming through netflix and both are only 8 one hour episodes long.

In a nutshell, 9 volunteers are dropped off in the wilderness and they must work together to survive, follow a route back to civilization, for an unknown length of time, and there are no prizes. It’s not like Survivor where people get voted off or anyone wins anything. It is simply a personal challenge to each volunteer to see if they can survive for an unknown length of time in harsh conditions, foraging and hunting food, building shelters, and basically living off the land without the comforts of modern civilization. Each person has the ability to quit at any time; they each carry GPS units that will call in a rescue helicopter to take them home at any time that they feel they cannot go on.

Both shows were very interesting, and at times educational as well. Each had their own unique situations and challenges, the greatest differences being climate. The Alaska group deals with subfreezing temperatures for most of the time they spent in the wilderness. The Venezuela group has quite the opposite, unbearable heat, bugs, rain. They hunt different types of animals, and have different types of foods for foraging. Not everyone makes it to the end, in both shows. It’s very interesting to see the transformations that the volunteers go through, the challenges they face, some personal, some as a team. And it’s emotional at the end when they do find their way ‘out of the wild.’

I will caution those who are partial to animals that there is a lot of graphic footage of processing wild game on the Alaska show. If you’re not comfortable with that, then you might skip Alaska and just watch Venezuela which doesn’t have much of that sort of thing.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
~ Henry David Thoreau


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