When I heard the title of this NBC reality show featuring survival specialist Bear Grylls, my first thought was that it should have an explanation point for even more dramatic impact. “Get Out Alive!” I could imagine Bear shouting it in his British accent. Then again, it’s kind of a silly title since there is no alternative. You can’t get out of something if you’re not alive to actually get out of it. The show however, is more entertaining than it is silly. It’s like “Survivor” but for purists. The people on “Get Out Alive” have to actually prove they can survive rather than prove they can manipulate others.


Ten teams of two are dropped off on New Zealand’s South Island where they have to navigate the wild. The duo who outlast the rest win $500,000. Bear monitors their activities, offering limited advice along the way. Teams randomly pick different assignments for which they are responsible including shelter, food and obstacles. At the end of each episode, the teams meet at Bear’s camp where he eliminates the twosome who he feels wouldn’t ‘get out alive.’ The twist to the show is that the nature of the competition depends as much on cooperation among the group as it does on individual team skill. A team might be the best climbers, swimmers or hunters but if Bear decides they only thought of their needs rather than those of the group, they’re out.


So really, the show is about impressing Bear with empathy as well as leadership and survival skills. If you’ve ever seen any of his other shows, you’ll know that he is able to make a shelter from little more than a few vines and will dig up an edible grub as easily as the rest of us can make a sandwich. The man hasn’t met a survival situation he can’t conquer and it’s this expertise that gives him credibility as the final judge of the contestants’ fate.


Bear’s skills in the wild are top notch so I don’t mind his role here as wise ruler. It’s nice to watch a competition where people are rewarded or punished for how successfully they are able to put others before themselves. They’re also rewarded for being the first to complete challenges like drinking their urine. But if you can’t manage to chug a little urine (heated to 95 degrees) you probably shouldn’t try out to be on a show called “Get Out Alive.”


The idea that competitors win or lose for their attitudes and actions as much as for their physical and mental toughness is one that’s popping up more frequently in reality adventure shows. (“The Hero” does something similar). The approach makes me wonder. Is it simply a clever way to differentiate a product in a very crowded TV marketplace? Or are we becoming a kinder, gentler reality TV audience?


“Get Out Alive” is on Mondays at 9:00 p.m. EDT on NBC.

When I heard the title of this NBC reality show featuring survival specialist Bear Grylls, my first thought was that it should have an explanation point for even more dramatic impact. “Get Out Alive!” I could imagine Bear shouting it in his British accent. Then again, it’s kind of a silly title since there is no alternative. You can’t get out of something if you’re not alive to actually get out of it. The show however, is more entertaining than it is silly. It’s like “Survivor” but for purists. The people on “Get Out Alive” have to actually prove they can survive rather than prove they can manipulate others.

Ten teams of two are dropped off on New Zealand’s South Island where they have to navigate the wild. The duo who outlast the rest win $500,000. Bear monitors their activities, offering limited advice along the way. Teams randomly pick different assignments for which they are responsible including shelter, food and obstacles. At the end of each episode, the teams meet at Bear’s camp where he eliminates the twosome who he feels wouldn’t ‘get out alive.’ The twist to the show is that the nature of the competition depends as much on cooperation among the group as it does on individual team skill. A team might be the best climbers, swimmers or hunters but if Bear decides they only thought of their needs rather than those of the group, they’re out.

So really, the show is about impressing Bear with empathy as well as leadership and survival skills. If you’ve ever seen any of his other shows, you’ll know that he is able to make a shelter from little more than a few vines and will dig up an edible grub as easily as the rest of us can make a sandwich. The man hasn’t met a survival situation he can’t conquer and it’s this expertise that gives him credibility as the final judge of the contestants’ fate.

Bear’s skills in the wild are top notch so I don’t mind his role here as wise ruler. It’s nice to watch a competition where people are rewarded or punished for how successfully they are able to put others before themselves. They’re also rewarded for being the first to complete challenges like drinking their urine. But if you can’t manage to chug a little urine (heated to 95 degrees) you probably shouldn’t try out to be on a show called “Get Out Alive.”

The idea that competitors win or lose for their attitudes and actions as much as for their physical and mental toughness is one that’s popping up more frequently in reality adventure shows. (“The Hero” does something similar). The approach makes me wonder. Is it simply a clever way to differentiate a product in a very crowded TV marketplace? Or are we becoming a kinder, gentler reality TV audience?

“Get Out Alive” is on Mondays at 9:00 p.m. EDT on NBC.