Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls is back for another season on the Discovery Channel, taking viewers along on scenic, dangerous escapades. In the season opening, Mr. Grylls and his cameraman are dropped on an Alaskan glacier in an attempt to make it to the ocean. Throughout the show, one is constantly thinking, "how can this be happening,” an element that keeps viewers coming back each season.
Within the opening shot, Mr. Grylls races across an unstable glacier and he turns back to his cameraman, encouraging him to cross. The cameraman crosses without plunging into the icy water, another dangerous feat that shocks the mind. The men on this show treat life-threatening scenarios like one treats crossing New York City streets: the situation could possibly kill you, but more likely, you’ll end up in a hospital. Except from the looks of Mr. Grylls’ surroundings, a hospital does not appear on the horizon.
The season opener provides an excellent visual guide to transitions in Alaskan terrain. As Mr. Grylls progresses down the glacier and runs across snow, he suddenly enters a dense forest, eventually arriving on vicious coastlines. The show does not provide a time line of events, which is a detriment. A constant question running through the show is how long did it take to go from point A to point B? It doesn't need to be an extended show, but some time frame would be beneficial.
One of the most interesting perspectives on the show is the cameraman's. Whenever Mr. Grylls accomplishes a daring feat, the cameraman takes on the role of assuring us that yes, this is happening. Between shots down a ravine, waves crashing into cliffs, the cameraman provides the nearest voice of reason, and makes the eventual decision to be bold. The cameraman takes you where you would never want to be: outside, no modern conveniences, the overwhelming smell of death.
While trying to cross a log that is several feet above a rushing stream, the log collapses into the water and Mr. Grylls manages to grab the ledge for safety. It’s moments like this in the show that make it compelling: they hint at the danger, but you never really know if it will happen or not until the horrible does occur.