TV Shows as Research

I watch a few TV shows on a regular basis. Now, it’s obvious that I could watch a TV show for an understanding of plot, or character motivation, or anything of that nature. What’s less obvious is that I could watch a TV show for other kinds of research, but I do. Specifically the shows Alone and Survivorman are very, very relevant to a lot of what I write.

A huge amount of what I’m interested in with post apocalyptic fiction is the survival aspects, how a human being can make do with minimal resources. Not only that, I experiment with these things as well, learning survival techniques in real life. That goes into my stories… but here’s the thing: that research is augmented by those reality shows, one of which is objectively awful.

Now, I used to also watch naked and afraid, but until they come up with a way to remove the production crew that’s not a real survival show, so I stopped (yes, largely because of Honora Bowen). Only real survival shows for me. Now, of course, there’s a lot of misdirection in both Survivorman and Alone, but at least there isn’t a production crew following them. The techniques for doing things like building shelters and making fire are much closer to what you would see in a real post apocalyptic situation as well. They aren’t strictly primativist, using some minimal technology, such as might still be available post apocalypse.

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