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Season One
No Food. No Shelter. No Fresh Water. No Camera Crew.
Two Discs with Nine Episodes Featuring Survivorman Les Stroud
Reviewed by Thomas J. Elpel

      Survivorman is the Science Channel's popular wilderness survival show featuring Canadian Survivorman Les Stroud. In each episode Stroud is dropped off in a wilderness survival scenario out in the middle of nowhere, pretty much anywhere in the world--in jungles, deserts, swamps, the arctic, the boreal forest, canyonlands, the mountains, and even out at sea. With very little gear other than some decent clothes, a multi-tool, and possibly a snackbar, Stroud has to survive for seven days and hopefully find his own way back to civilization before his backup crew comes looking for him. Aside from that he does have fifty+ pounds of camera gear to pack around and film the experience.

      Watching Survivorman is mostly about watching Les Stroud suffer miserably in self-inflicted survival scenarios, existing without much in the way of warmth, sleep, food, or water for seven days at a stretch. Being familiar with self-inflicted survival situations myself, I have to give Stroud two-thumbs up for his ability to persevere through episode after episode. Wilderness survival under these conditions is a challenge even if everything goes right, which is unreasonable to expect, and in Survivorman it seems like things almost never turn out the way he hopes they will. It is great for the entertainment value alone. Stroud must eat like a grizzly bear between episodes.

See also The Art of Nothing Wilderness Survival Video Series
      I don't intend to knock down what Les Stroud has done, or to imply that he doesn't know his survival skills. The challenges he faces are huge, and his performance is largely realistic, although occassionally a bit over-dramatized. It is easy to sit in the armchair and pick out the flaws in his skills and say what I might have done differently, and I like to think that in some episodes I might have fared better, though I definitely would have fared worse in others. I also know that it can be a chore just to get up off the ground when you are physically wasted without food or sleep, and yet Stroud not only perseveres, he manages to record it all on tape--which I know from experience, makes everything take at least twice as long.

      Survivorman bears some resemblance to our own Art of Nothing Wilderness Survival Video Series, in that Stroud goes to a different place each time and uses different skills to meet the same basic needs for shelter, fire, water, and food. Survivorman has less emphasis on teaching skills, but there is definitely something to learn in every movie. We look forward to every new episode that comes out. Survivorman Season One includes two DVD discs with a total of nine episodes, plus a special Behind the Scenes look at Survivorman. More than seven hours of video altogether. 2005.

Survivorman Season One: 2-Disc DVD Set    $22.00    Quantity:

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Season Two
No Food. No Shelter. No Fresh Water. No Camera Crew.
Two Discs with Six Episodes, plus The Making of Survivorman.

      Each episode finds filmmaker and naturalist Les Stroud in a remote wilderness location with little more than the clothes on his back. The Amazon Jungle, the wilds of Southern Africa, the rugged Alaskan coast and the middle of the South Pacific are but a few of the locations Les endures this season.

      Apart from rugged determination, camera equipment is the one thing he's not lacking. With his unique filming-rigs and an abundance of black humor he documents his seven-day ordeals on film as he struggles to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles within the amazing and beautiful natural world around him.

      It is easy to empathize with Stroud, who comes across as everyman and is constantly at the mercy of the elements. Whether battling the cold in Labrador, or keeping his core temperature down to ward off heatstroke in the frightening Kalahari Desert, the climate is always a challenge. Freezing nights in flimsy shelters are commonplace.

      Roasted scorpion-kabob, buffet of the sea, and the largest fried egg in the world are a few of the staples Les prepares this season of Survivorman. At one point he's reduced to stealing food from the dogs, but in the end, survival is survival.

      Les' ability to harness resources that the rest of us would casually overlook is one of the series' most fascinating aspects. He uses native and traditional methods to help him understand and take advantage of his surroundings. He uses part of a smoldering termite mound to help alleviate the foot fungus he's suffering from in the jungles of the Amazon; a battery to spark a fire; or how about a propeller axe?

      An award-winning filmmaker and accomplished naturalist, Les Stroud is perfectly suited to the unique challenges of this series. Blessed with an ecologist's sensitivity to the environment and with tongue planted firmly in cheek, he turns each week of solitude in the wild into an hour of unforgettable television.

      Season Two Episodes include: Ecuador, Kalahari, Labrador, African Plains, Alaska, South Pacific, The Making of Survivor.

Survivorman Season Two: 2-Disc DVD Set    $22.00    Quantity:

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Season Three
No Food. No Shelter. No Fresh Water. No Camera Crew.
Two Discs with Six Episodes, plus The Making of Survivorman.

      In the third and final season of Survivorman, filmmaker and naturalist Les Stroud continues his adventures in remote wilderness areas around the world - starving, freezing, and trying not to get killed by polar bears, mountain lions, snakes, spiders, or emus. In the Sierra Nevada, Stroud re-enacts a common backpacker's survival scenario. Exploring deep into the wilderness with lightweight camping gear for an overnight camping trip, Stroud gets lost, runs out of food, and spends a week staying alive until found by Search and Rescue teams a week later.

      Overall, Stroud goes into Season Three episodes with more gear than in previous episodes, sometimes bringing along cooking pots, matches and other fire-starters, tarps, and fishing tackle. In the Colorado Rockies Stroud rides in on pack horses and camps under a tarp. In the Temagami forest of northern Ontario, Stroud rides in on an ATV with a buddy and rifles... and is again "lost" until found by Search and Rescue. In the Arctic Tundra Stroud catches his biggest meal ever - four large Arctic charr, with the aid of modern gear. In the Australian Outback, Stroud feasts for a day on smaller game, witchetty grubs. In the jungles of Papua New Guinea, Stroud battle severe diarrhea and dehydration and gets high on beetle nuts. In each episode Stroud endures whatever wind, sun, or weather that nature dishes out on him.

      Season Three Episodes include: Sierra Nevada, Colorado, Arctic Tundra, Temagami Hunting, Australian Outback, Papua New Guinea Jungle.

Survivorman Season Three: 2-Disc DVD Set    $22.00    Quantity:

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-Les Stroud Debut CD-
Roots/Blues and Traditional Folk Acoustic Music
by Survivorman Les Stroud
Reviewed by Thomas J. Elpel

      Les Stroud's debut CD is astonishingly good--a collection of diverse roots/blues and traditional folk acoustic music. It is an eclectic mix of fourteen songs from various genra, including finger pickin' style blues, soulful fiddle playing, plus wonderful violin, bass, and cell arrangements--mostly oriented towards general audiences and nature lovers, plus a couple of children's songs. Songs include: Kelly, Delta Snow, Great Blue Sky, Blue Soul, Clouds, The Cockroach, Mojo, All Restless Souls, Snowshoes and Solitude, Blues Don't Bring Me Comfort, The 60's Are Dead, Don't Touch It, Ride On, Free to Be.

"Clouds" by Les Stroud

Les Stroud Debut CD    $18.00    Quantity:
All Three Seasons of Survivorman, plus Les Stroud CD (Save $8)    $76.00    Quantity:

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