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6 Shows like Man vs. Wild: Real-Life MacGyvers

Adam Pothitos itcherLearning how to survive by watching people in impossible situations is inherently fascinating. TV shows like ‘Man vs. Wild’, ‘Survivorman’, and ‘Man, Woman, Wild’ are all fantastic choices for a lazy Sunday afternoon, even when your survival skills are limited to buying groceries. ~ Adam Pothitos

Earth Is a Cruel Mistress

If you were to take a regular person and drop them in the middle of an uninhabited area with nothing but basic tools and the clothes on their back, their chances of survival are not exactly comforting.

TV series like ‘Man vs. Wild’ may not always be truthful or realistic but they do manage to teach basic survival skills that could increase a person’s chances of survival – not to mention that they are also consistently entertaining!

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Shows Similar to ‘Man vs. Wild’…

‘Survivorman’ (OLN, 2004- )

Les Stroud writes, directs, and stars in this Canadian production that’s all about teaching people how to survive. Unlike a lot of similar shows, Stroud is actually alone in the wilderness and films everything by himself. A support team is always nearby, of course, but only to ensure the host’s safety and nothing else.

‘Survivorman’ is all about learning, which is why Stroud always gets as much information as possible about the areas that he intends to visit prior to his actual arrival. This ensures that he can create and showcase specific survival situations. Furthermore, he can share intricate details about the particular flora and fauna of each location.

Another interesting fun fact is that Stroud’s show has actually helped real people who found themselves in similar situations.

Similarity Match: 90%
Though ‘Survivorman’ and ‘Man vs. Wild’ both visit a huge variety of locations and attempt to showcase survival skills, the former show is filmed almost entirely by a single man.

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‘Extreme Survival’ (BBC Two, 1999-2002)

‘Extreme Survival’ features Ray Mears, another expert survivalist who truly knows what he’s doing.

Aside from the standard visits to wild locations, Mears also teams up with a range of different groups such as the Royal Air Force in order to showcase more advanced survival skills or skills fitted to extremely specific situations.

In addition to all that, the show frequently engages in more philosophical discussions about nature, especially during encounters with native populations.

Similarity Match: 85%
While both shows have extremely solid production values, ‘Extreme Survival’ is heavily concerned with survival tales as well as the demonstration of specific skills.

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‘Marooned with Ed Stafford’ (Discovery Channel, 2013- )

Ed Stafford’s survival skills are well-established as he is the first human to walk the entire length of the Amazon River – an expedition that took two years – and is the subject of many fantastic documentaries and studies.

In order to showcase true survival skills, Stafford is left alone with no clothes, food, or tools, other than an emergency satellite phone and a medical kit to ensure his safety.

While the first season documented his survival on the uninhabited island of Olorua for sixty days, the rest of the show’s episodes are standalone and take place over the course of ten days with the same premise.

Similarity Match: 80%
Like in ‘Man vs. Wild’, ‘Marooned’ attempts to teach people how to make the best use of their surroundings with the difference being that Ed Stafford films everything on his own.

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‘Dual Survival’ (Discovery Channel, 2010- )

Though the series has seen a number of different host duos, its premise has remained the same throughout the years. Two survival experts showcase survival skills in predetermined environments and scenarios, informing and entertaining watchers in the process.

Since the survival duos of the show often have contradicting opinions, much of the appeal in ‘Dual Survival’ comes from their interactions and humorous remarks.

Similarity Match: 75%
Like ‘Man vs. Wild’, ‘Dual Survival’ attempts to be both educational and entertaining as the only considerable difference is the number of hosts.

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‘Bush Tucker Man’ (Australian Broadcasting Company, 1987-1990)

Though Les Hiddins has produced a number of different survival shows, starting with the first one is probably the best idea.

‘Bush Tucker Man’ focuses entirely on the wilderness of Australia, though many of the survival skills demonstrated in the show can be applied in other locations as well.

Hiddins is one of the best sources of survival knowledge on TV. Even without that, however, the Australian locales are worth your time alone.

Similarity Match: 70%
The show’s focus on a specific content may deter fans of series similar to ‘Man vs. Wild’ yet the charming personality of Les Hiddins is very much comparable to Bear Grylls.

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If You Like ‘Man vs. Wild’, You Will Like…

The huge number of survival shows available for our viewing pleasure means that everyone can find something that fits their exact requirements. Some people just want to be entertained, for instance, while others wish to be informed in the strictest manner.

However, very few shows manage to balance these two elements.

‘Man, Woman, Wild’ (Discovery Channel, 2010-2012)

In a very interesting departure from similar shows, not everyone involved in ‘Man, Woman, Wild’ actually know what they are doing. In fact, the entire show revolves around Mykel Hawke in his attempts to teach survival skills to his wife, Ruth England.

Because England was a true amateur when the show started, watching her learn and progress is immensely satisfying. Even better, it provides an opportunity for viewers to learn alongside England.

‘Man, Woman, Wild’ is very similar to ‘Man vs. Wild’ episodes where Grylls is joined by celebrities in his wilderness adventures, so anyone who liked those episodes will probably appreciate this show.

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Survival of the Better Equipped

No matter what critics may say, ‘Man vs. Wild’ and similar shows are incredibly entertaining pieces of TV. On one hand, Bear Grylls displays some extravagant activities, which are not necessarily great ideas in survival situations, such as running and jumping from high places.

Even so, he usually manages to teach, entertain, and even provoke discussions about nature and humanity as the wondrous locations he visits are staggering to watch and explore.

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