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Throughout human history, people have pushed the limits of survival. However, television is a solid alternative for those unwilling to put themselves in danger.
While we’re always up for an adventure, sometimes it’s best to leave it to the pros and watch shows about survival instead.
These entertainment programs can be an excellent way to hone your skills and learn new methods. Whether you are a survival enthusiast or just looking for thrilling entertainment, these shows can leave you on the edge of your seat.
So grab your popcorn and get ready to explore some of our favorite shows about survival. Let’s get started!
What Are Survival Shows?
Survival shows are television programming that focuses on individuals or groups trying to survive in challenging and often extreme environments.
These shows typically feature contestants placed in situations where they must rely on their survival skills, physical endurance, and mental toughness to overcome obstacles and stay alive.
Survival series often place contestants in remote and inhospitable environments, such as deserts, jungles, and arctic regions, and challenge them to find food, water, shelter, and other resources needed to survive.
Contestants must also deal with extreme weather conditions, dangerous wildlife, and limited supplies.
These shows have gained popularity due to their ability to captivate audiences with their high stakes, unpredictable challenges, and never-ending drama. In addition to entertaining and informing viewers, they provide insight into surviving in different environments.
Where Can You Watch Shows About Survival?
However, not every cable or satellite provider offers these stations in their programming packages. If you have trouble finding survival shows, contact your provider.
However, a large number of people have canceled their subscriptions to satellite or cable providers and fully rely on streaming services.
Luckily, you can find dozens of shows and seasons on Discovery Plus, Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, and Prime Video streaming platforms. If you’re anything like us, you’ve likely got at least one streaming service you use regularly.
Our Favorite Shows About Survival
As we enjoy spending time in the wilderness and learning new things, we’ve watched a range of survival shows.
If you enjoy these programs, want to improve your skills, or are looking for some new shows to add to your list of shows to binge, here are some of our favorites.
Man vs. Wild
“Man vs. Wild” is a product of Discovery Channel and features survival expert Bear Grylls. Each episode features him getting dropped off in a desert, jungle, or mountain range with minimal supplies and equipment. He must use his knowledge and skills to find food, water, and shelter to help him survive in the wild.
The show does an excellent job of providing educational information on survival skills and techniques. While there’s been some controversy around the show’s editing and manipulation of situations, it’s still a popular program. It resulted in a couple of spin-off series featuring the show’s star.
“Alone” is a survival competition with a unique twist. Instead of forcing contestants to work together throughout the competition, the contestants on “Alone” have to fend for themselves. Camera crews do not follow them, and contestants are responsible for filming the entire experience.
Contestants face various challenges as the show leaves them in remote wilderness locations with limited survival tools and equipment. They’re responsible for finding food, water, and shelter while navigating extreme weather conditions, dangerous wildlife, and being alone.
However, their efforts aren’t for nothing. They compete to be the last person to throw in the towel and claim the $500,000 grand prize. Unfortunately, it’s no walk in the park. They’ll face some extremely tough mental and emotional challenges in the process.
Naked and Afraid
Like many survival shows, “Naked and Afraid” places participants in remote wilderness locations with limited tools and equipment. However, this show separates itself from the rest because the man and woman participating are entirely naked. If being left to fend for yourself makes you uncomfortable, being left bare likely won’t help.
Another key difference for this show is that there is no potential financial gain. At the end of the 21-day challenge, the contestants receive a survival rating. The show’s goal is to showcase the strength and resilience of the human spirit, not provide a monetary prize for a competition.
“Survivor” is one of the most popular survival shows on network television and has aired on CBS for over 20 years and 40+ seasons. The show divides contestants into tribes on a remote island or wilderness location, and they compete in physical and mental challenges during the contest.
Once contestants reach the location, it doesn’t take long for alliances to start to form. These alliances are valuable as teams that lose challenges must vote for a member to send home. Over the past 20 years, ruthless game-playing, backstabbing, and manipulation amongst the contestants have been common as they compete for $1 million.
“Dual Survival” aired on Discovery Channel for half a decade. The show featured two survival experts that used their skills and survival philosophies to work together in a wilderness environment.
The experts faced challenges like finding food and water, creating shelter, and dealing with extreme weather and terrains.
The show was an excellent source of education and entertainment. Unfortunately, as with many others, it received much criticism for staging or exaggerated situations for entertainment purposes. However, whether staged or not, the educational content was very useful.
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The Island with Bear Grylls
“The Island with Bear Grylls” is a British show featuring, as you might guess, Bear Grylls and features four stranded contestants that must work together to survive for several weeks. Aside from the pride and bragging rights, there’s no monetary prize for the contestants.
While other shows have received criticism for production teams and crew assisting contestants, The “Island with Bear Grylls” has not. Many praised the show for its realistic and authentic documentation of contestants battling extreme weather conditions and the challenges of surviving in the wild.
“Survivorman” is a Canadian show about survival hosted by survival expert Les Stroud. After getting dropped off in a remote and inhospitable environment, Stroud must find food, water, and shelter. He teaches viewers how to build shelters, make fires, and find edible plants.
While other shows utilize fancy camera equipment and large production crews, Stroud uses handheld cameras to document the experience.
Viewers love Stroud’s ability to educate viewers and provide a realistic look into what it takes to survive in extreme conditions. The show has resulted in spin-offs like “Beyond Survival with Les Stroud” and “Survivorman and Son.”
Life Below Zero
In 2013, the National Geographic Channel premiered its show “Life Below Zero.” This epic survival show follows groups of individuals living in remote Alaskan environments. The production shows how the groups survive the harsh winter conditions.
The show has featured groups of hunters, trappers, fishermen, and homesteaders that live in rough and extreme conditions. The cast must find food, water, and shelter while battling the unforgiving winter weather in Alaska.
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While many of the shows we’ve listed will show you the right things to do to survive, this amateur survival expert will teach you all the things not to do. In this episode of “The Office,” Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton Branch Manager, Michael Scott, wants to prove his wilderness skills and survive in the wild.
Unfortunately, in true Michael Scott fashion, much of his advice is far from correct. However, the Assistant to the Regional Manager, Dwight K. Schrute, saves Michael from eating poisoned berries.
While you may not learn valuable insights to help you survive in the wild from this episode, you’ll surely get plenty of laughs. It’s one of the premier episodes of “The Office,” and we couldn’t help but include it on our list.
Become an Expert at Survival From Your Couch
While there’s no better way to learn than hands-on experience, you can learn quite a bit from the safety and comfort of your couch.
These shows about survival can teach you survival skills and techniques that could prove useful. However, we strongly suggest you practice them to perfection at home before relying on them in the wild.
Do you have a favorite show about survival?