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Archive for April, 2016

alone-cast-season-2“Holy crap. What the hell have I done?” – “Alone” contestant

I never planned on becoming a fan of “Alone,” this survival/reality show when it debuted last year on the History channel. But now I can’t stop watching. Live. As it airs on Thursday nights.

Of course, I was any easy mark. I’m still a fan of the grandfather of all reality shows (“Survivor”), but the stripped-down nature of this show (no host, no tribal council and no camera crews) and the fact that it takes place on nearby Vancouver Island added to the appeal.

This second season repeats the formula of the first. Ten participants are transported to separate remote locations on the north end of Vancouver Island, where they must create shelter, find food and battle wildlife and the elements. The person who lasts the longest wins $500,000. They also film everything themselves, using handheld cameras.  Yes, they are truly … alone.

This season’s contestants include a former game warden with the Peace Corps, a firefighter, a teacher of wilderness survival skills and a former infantryman for the U.S. Army. All tough individuals. Watching them size up their new surroundings, cope with new situations as they arise and the hours and days of solitude is what makes the show must-see TV. Heck, you might even learn a thing or two.

Because it’s set in Pacific Northwest, the scenery is breathtaking and that’s reason enough to tune in. It also rains. A LOT. Surprised? How these people cope with the constant dampness of everything is eye-opening. Especially tense are the middle-of-the-night discussions that the contestants have with themselves (and the cameras) while listening for creatures out in the dark.

Each contestant has the option to “tap out” at any time. A person can hit a button on a satellite phone that signals the producers that they are ready to leave. A boat shows up not long afterwards and removes the person from the game. One bear-obsessed contestant didn’t make it through the first day, so only nine people remain.

I have my favorites (Portland resident Nicole Apelian, former military sniper Justin Vititoe, firefighter Mary Kate Green), people who I hope can go the distance. But as the days turn into weeks, mental stability plays a major factor and things can change drastically.

So for the next few weeks, I know where I’ll be Thursday nights. In front of my TV, vicariously surviving in the wilderness. Alone.

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history-alone-season-two-cast

This engrossing survival show is back for a second season with 10 new participants (actually nine; a bear-obsessed contestant left at the end of last week’s premiere). For the uninitiated, the participants are transported to separate locations on the north end of Vancouver Island, where they must create shelter, find food and battle wildlife and the elements. No Jeff Probst-like host, no tribal council and no camera crews (the contestants handle the cameras themselves). Yep, you guessed it, they are truly … alone. 9 p.m. Thursday, April 28, on History.

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Night-ManagerThis new six-part miniseries looks irresistible. The story is based on John le Carré’s spy novel and follows a hotel manager (Tom Hiddleston), who is recruited by a British intelligence officer (Olivia Colman) to bring down an international arms dealer (Hugh Laurie). Series premiere, 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, on AMC.

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fear-the-walking-dead-season-2-castCan zombies swim? That was the big question when this “Walking Dead” spinoff began its second season last week as the survivors boarded a yacht to escape the zombie hordes. The answer is not really (but they can kind of float and lurch, but are no match for a boat propeller). The new series is not yet as involving as its predecessor, but the cast is strong — especially Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis and Ruben Blades — and the new locations keep things from becoming stale. 9 p.m. Sunday, April 17, on AMC.

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sarah-manning-orphan-black-wallpaper-3Clone Club is back in session (and now moved from Saturdays to Thursdays)! In the drama’s fourth season, alpha clone Sarah Manning returns from Iceland to track down someone connected to Beth Childs, the clone who started it all. One of the many joys of this series is watching the amazing Tatiana Maslany playing multiple roles (sometimes in the same scene). Season premiere, 10 p.m. Thursday, April 14, on BBC America.

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S5_Iconic_tzrThe year is 1961 and it’s Season 5 for this popular drama revolving around the personal and professional lives of the midwives and nuns of Nonnatus House in the Poplar neighborhood of East London. There have been many cast changes the last few seasons, but the heart and soul of this series shine as brightly as ever. 8 p.m. Sunday, April 10, on KCTS.

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Another new “Star Wars” movie trailer? Sure, I’ll take it.

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