Posts Tagged ‘survivor’

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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tvsurvivor_tzrCBS is heralding this, the 32nd edition of the mother of all reality/competition series, as the “most punishing season ever.” The 18 new castaways are divided into three teams, Brains, Brawn and Beauty, as the season begins. And — of course — forever-in-khakis Jeff Probst is back as host. Let the games begin! Season premiere, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, on CBS.

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kelly-wiglesworth-survivor-cambodiaThe current edition of this, the granddaddy of all reality competitions, is sticking with a familiar recipe for its 31st season (you read that right, 31 seasons). Start with 20 castaways who have played the game before but never won (including Season One runner-up, Kelly Wiglesworth), add hidden immunity idols, shifting alliances, returning competitions and the never-seems-to-age host Jeff Probst, and you’re giving the fans exactly what they want. 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, on CBS.

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105143_10037bThe 30th edition of this long-running reality competition is well under way, and as of last week the remaining contestants had merged into one big (and not so happy) tribe. Now is the time for scrambling, the forging of new alliances and almost weekly blind-sides at tribal council. And this all happens — as always — under the watchful eye of smirking and eternally khaki-ed host Jeff Probst. If I may quote a co-worker (and fellow fan): “Don’t these people ever watch the show and learn how to play?” 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, on CBS.

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theamazingrace_s26_Aly_SteveIt’s an all-reality show night on the Tiffany network (it’s old school reference … look it up). After the premier of 30th edition of “Survivor,” stick around for the 26th season premiere of “The Amazing Race, a multiple Emmy-winning trek around the world. To start things off on the first leg, 11 new teams make their way through a muddy obstacle course. Phil Keoghan (and his expressive eyebrows) is back as host. 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, on CBS.

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Russell Hantz

“Survivor” and “Modern Family,” two of my favorite shows were new last night, and I think they both deserve a little shout out.

The 20th (!) edition of “Survivor” has had me hooked from the beginning. I must admit that I had stopped watching the show regularly the last few seasons, but having some of the best players from the last 10 years return for this “Heroes vs. Villains” edition was a brilliant idea.

Last night’s episode had the players scrambling when they discovered that both teams were headed for Tribal Council to each vote a member off. It was kind of sad to see Colby (a favorite of mine from season two) seeming to give up, and watching Russell (pictured, right) try to outplay “Boston” Rob was just great freaking tv. Both Tribal Councils were surprising as to who was finally sent home (no spoilers for those who haven’t seen it), and I totally agreed when a member of the villains tribe stated “What just happened?”.

Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara

The “Starry Night” episode of  “Modern Family” was another great mix of storylines with characters Cameron and Gloria (Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara, left) having dinner together, father and son Phil and Luke (Ty Burrell and Nolan Gould) working on Van Gogh school project, and a astronomy outing with Jay, Mitchell and Manny (Ed O’Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Rico Rodriguez). The acting is great, with my favorites being Burrell, Stonestreet and Rodriguez, and the writing top notch. Some of my favorite lines last night were, “Everybody is stupid, except me,” “I feel like I ate the sun” and “My mouth is asleep like at the dentist.” I find myself laughing out loud every week and can hardly wait for the next new episode.

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Broadway Grill

Dinner with Frank was a success! So nice to just sit and chat with a friend about all sorts of stuff (theater, movies, tv, friends). We were there for about two hours. And hey, the chop salad at the Broadway Grill is great (I liked the look of the lights in the pic at left).

Danielle in "Seussical"

Friday was a fun adventure with the lovely Danielle Barnum. I’ve worked with her twice as an actress (the pic to the right is Danielle in “Seussical” and she was also the lead in the aforementioned “Jane Eyre”), but only recently discovered she is a freelance photographer. Since it’s been almost ten years since I last had some headshots, I figured it was time. We met in Fremont near Theo’s Chocolates, and even though it was raining, she knew all sorts of great places (coffee shops, doorways) to take some pics. Now comes the process of picking out the new shot. She does good stuff, check it out at Danielle Barnum Photography.

Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher

On to TV. The new season of “Survivor” is a ton of fun. The cast is comprised of villains and heroes from previous seasons. It’s fun seeing Jerri, Colby, Boston Rob, Coach (and yes, even Russell) back playing the game. I’ve recently discovered the series, “Weeds” on DVD. Mary Louise Parker is wonderful. She makes the show for me. I’m deep into season four now. Just watched the season finale of a new favorite, “Men of a Certain Age.” Great work from the three leads, Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher. It seems like an odd trio, but they work very well together and the writing is just superb.

I’m off to check out the new location of Forza Coffee near the Seattle Center. They opened today at 8:14 a.m. in memory of the police officers killed in Tacoma last Nov. Caffeine-ahoy!

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