There are hundreds of reality TV shows vying for your DVR space, each one trying to be more shocking and edgy than the next. Naked and Afraid is no exception since, as the title suggests, their participants are always naked and, well, occasionally afraid. Such seemingly blatant gimmickry typically gets an eye-roll and a channel flip from me, but there is something to be said about guilty pleasures. There are plenty of “roughing it” and survival reality shows out there that are enlightening and gripping, like Survivorman and Life Below Zero. Naked and Afraid is neither of those things, but watching the dynamics between two people in an uncomfortable and exposed situation is somehow shamefully indulgent.
Naked and Afraid takes “survival of the fittest” to the next level. Each week, a new pair of complete and total strangers – one man and one woman – will find themselves stranded in, and quite literally, exposed to some of the world’s most extreme weather environments. Each duo will be left high and dry with no food, no water…and no clothes. They must survive on their own for a full 21 days, with nothing but one personal item each and the knowledge that the only prize is their pride and sense of accomplishment.
These brazen and bold couples will get acquainted with each other and their new surroundings very quickly, forcing them to question and test everything they may think they know about their acquired survival skills and instincts. – Discovery Channel
The formula for every episode is exactly the same. Two naked people hash it out for 21 days on their own in a remote location. You would think it would get boring having the only elements that change between episodes being location and participants. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – those few dynamics make a significant difference. These self-proclaimed survivalists come from all walks of life and their skills vary greatly. The pairing of these survivalists is key to keeping things interesting, and often these pairings are hilarious. A postmodern hippie coupled with an ex-marine, or a vegan thrown in with an avid hunter make their documented interactions cringe-worthy and riddled with schadenfreude. On the occasions when the pairs are well matched, the episode focus shifts to seeing what amazing teamwork can accomplish in an extreme survival situation, and you find yourself rooting for the couple. The challenges associated with the different remote locations added to the pair’s ability to work together puts the cherry on top.
The Naked and Afraid Season 1 hits streets 04/21/2015, and the package includes seven episodes:
- The Jungle Curse: “Survival enthusiast” Shane Lewis and survival instructor Kim Shelton in the Costa Rican rainforest.
- Terror in Tanzania: Army veteran EJ Snyder and game warden Kellie Nightlinger in the African Serengeti.
- Island from Hell: Former Marine Jonathan Klay and “adventure model” Alison Teal in the Maldive Islands.
- Punishment in Panama: survival instructor Clint Jivoin and “primitive survivalist” Laura Zerra on a Panamanian island.
- Breaking Borneo: tattoo artist Puma Cabra and wilderness expert Julie Wright in Sabah, Borneo.
- Beware the Bayou: author Billy Berger and stuntwoman Ky Furneaux in a Louisiana swamp.
- Bares All: All the contestants from the first six shows come back to discuss their experiences.
With an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 and the image being enhanced for 16X9 televisions, the visual quality is decent for being on DVD. I admit, I’m partial to everything being released on blu-ray, but considering there are a lot of bare bottoms covering the screen most of the time I’ll let this one pass. Still, for a show where the locations are as prominent as the characters, it’s a shame to see grainy wide-shots and occasionally block-y greenery because of the low resolution DVDs.
While the show itself is a lot of guilty fun to watch and the quality of the imagery is high enough to not be distracting, this is all the Season 1 set offers. There are only seven episodes – one of which is a tell-all from the past six episodes. There are no special features at all. With a total run time of 308 minutes, and a grand total of only 6 actual episodes with no special features, the SRP of $29.93 seems a little steep to me. If you include the “Bares All” feature as an episode, that means you are spending $4.28 per episode to own this first season. I know I’m not the only one who is addicted to this show, so for some people this may still be worth it. I, however, require a bit more out of my TV series box sets, and can still get my fix by watching these and more episodes OnDemand.