Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel

On February 7th, National Geographic Channel will air perhaps the most researched TV series on preppers to date…Doomsday Preppers.  The fact that they first contacted me about contributing to the series in late 2010 means that this series had a MUCH longer production time than most survival/preparedness series to date.

To read my review of episode 1, go here:

Survival and preparedness shows on TV are a surprisingly controversial topic…here’s an excerpt of an article I wrote on the topic awhile back:


Keep in mind that I normally agree with the statement, “57 channels and nothing on.”  I regularly call the TV the “boob tube” and “idiot box.”

In fact, we don’t let our boys watch TV and we don’t watch very much either.  That being said, my wife and I still DO watch some TV in the evenings.  It’s a great time for me to stretch, work out, massage my wife’s feet, or hold my 7 month old son while he sleeps.

If you don’t watch any TV, that’s great!  You still might want to watch some of these on Hulu or Netflix or watch them at a friend’s house.

Over the last year or so, there have been several survival shows that have come onto the market and it’s looking like several of them are coming back for 2nd seasons.

Now, don’t think that watching a survival TV show for 42 minutes a week is going to make you a survivalist.  That’s about as ridiculous as thinking that watching UFC fights is going to make you a fighter.  They’re both entertaining, and you’ll probably learn some new skills and tactics, but you really need to practice the skills to become proficient.

So, let me go over some of the survivor shows that are on TV, I’ll tell you what they cover and whether my wife and I consider them being worth the time to watch to help you get more prepared for surviving disasters.

I’ll start with the better known ones, but the best ones are actually at the end of the list.

Survivor on CBS.  This series is one of the grandfathers of reality survival TV, and I’m thankful for it because of that, but there are few if any survival lessons to be learned from it.  There have been some interesting political and human-interaction lessons from it, but for the most part, it’s become a glorified soap opera.

Survivorman on Discovery.  This series ran in 2004, 2007, and 2008 and featured Les Stroud in the wilderness facing various survival situations without support.  In fact, he carried all of his own camera equipment.  The shows emphasized focus on the basics and how little time there was to focus on anything other than the basics in a survival situation.

Man Vs. Wild on Discovery.  This is a very entertaining survival show and there are usually 1-2 good tips/tactics in each episode.  Bear Grylls knows his stuff, but he is supported by a crew and takes a lot of risks that are unnecessary in a true solo survival situation to make things more exciting.  It DOES make for good TV, but you really need to keep this in mind if you watch it.

Worst Case Scenario on Discovery.  These are also very entertaining and well filmed survival shows.  Bear Grylls is the main expert in this one as well.  The episodes that I have watched were primarily entertainment, but there are some good points.  Bear was one of the first survival experts to do shows on survival strategies in urban environments and most of this series is set in urban areas.  I disagree with his willingness to take unnecessary risks and approach on self defense…especially his emphasis on techniques that take a lot of skill and practice to use successfully.  But, like I said, it does make for good TV.

Alaska Experiment on Discovery.  This series ran in 2009 and followed several small groups of people surviving in the Alaskan wilderness.  If you have any romantic views about survival and you haven’t spent significant time in survival mode, this series emphasized just much effort it can take to simply cover your most basic needs.  It clearly shows how important attitude, fire, shelter, water, food, and sleep are.  I don’t think you can appreciate how hungry, thirsty, and tired you can get until you’ve gone a day or two in a survival situation without a good meal or clean water, but this series showed how various people break down in survival situations.  I really enjoyed this series.  There aren’t very many hard skills taught, but the human interaction and psychological lessons make it worth watching.

Dual Survival on Discovery.  This series is currently running on Discovery and I originally recorded it because of my appreciation of Cody Lundin.  I kept watching because of the vastly different styles of Cody and Dave Canterbury to wilderness survival situations.  Every episode follows the same script…much like real wilderness survival…Figure out shelter, fire, water, food, navigation, and get out.  The neat part about this is that Cody is a self-reliant shoeless hippie and Dave is a former US Army Sniper/Scout & they have very different approaches.  In every challenge they face, I find myself relating to one or the other of their approaches.

Man Woman Wild on Discovery.  This one just started, and I’ve only seen one episode, but it was a neat show.  Special Forces survival expert Michael Hawke and his wife Ruth England take on various wilderness survival scenarios starting only with knives and clothes.  There are some “how to” components to the show, but it mostly highlights the dynamics of two people being in a survival situation where only one of the two are survival experts.  As a note, my wife likes this one more than the “all man” survival shows.

The Colony on Discovery.  Urban Survival Reality TV.  I really liked the first season of The Colony…enough so that I wrote “survival lessons from The Colony” after every episode and I plan on doing the same for season 2 this fall.  The premise for season one was that a pandemic killed off the majority of the population and a mismatched group of people found each other and decided to work together.  There were some bad pieces of advice…namely using a bank of car batteries to power appliances, but it was a great series with at least a half-dozen solid urban survival lessons in each episode.

And last, but DEFINITELY not least, Best Defense:Survival on the Outdoor Channel.  This series was developed by 3 friends of mine…Michael Bane, Mike Janich, and Rob Pincus and is top notch.  We’ve been trying to figure out how to best tie in my Urban Survival course with this series since November, and it looks like we’ll have it figured out next week.  This series is all meat and “how-to.”  The Outdoor Channel let Michael, Mike, and Rob take the gloves off for season 2 and from what I’ve seen so far, they’re knocking it out of the park.  They’re covering survival rooms, food, water, medical, bugging out, surviving in place, and more.

The important thing about all of these shows is that the skills that they teach are next to useless until you take ownership of them, practice them, and make them your own.  There are occasional stories about how people survive disasters by doing something that they saw on TV, but the reason those stories make the news is because they are so rare.  Someone who learns skills, practices them, and successfully applies them under stress is normal and not news worthy.

And, if you really want to step things up in your survival preparations, I encourage you to go through my 12 week Urban Survival Course.  It will walk you through creating a comprehensive written plan that you and your family can follow in a disaster to stay alive.  Every lesson also contains skill drills so that you will lock these essential skills into your mind and make measurable progress every week.

We recently added a couple of new bundles and we’re going to be doubling the pricing on the higher end bundles within the next couple of weeks, so if you want to get started, now is the time to take action.  You can see your options now by going to


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Vote -1 Vote +1NANCY SUTTON
February 19, 2012 at 6:10 am

A co-workers said she has been watching this show so I thought I would give it a try. Of course, I think these people have mental issues but it is interesting to watch them put so much time and money into it. I thought about what I would want if I believed in Doomsday and none of these have been addressed on our show. First, I would have a multitude of packets of seeds for vegetables and fruit. It’s good to stockpile food until your garden grows but plan further ahead. Also seeds for flowers since we need the bees to pollinate to keep things going. Second, why do people look for back packs that are just hanging on your aching back? I would invent a bullet proof body pack that distributes weight on the front and back. And thirdly, I don’t believe in any of this but it is an interesting show.


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