In this era of reality TV where people are expected to survive somewhere, we have grown used to the illusion of solitude and isolation. The conditions that these people have chosen to live are usually not glamorous. The contestants definitely have to do without comfort, food and the support and contact of family and friends. However, they are not really alone. There's always other people around—be it other contestants, producers, or doctors—and safety is the number one concern. That is not the case with Alone on the History Channel. Now, well into its fifth season, this addictive, ground-breaking series drops 10 men and women into their own spots in absolute human isolation and this time it is in the frigid land of Mongolia.
There are plenty of potentially dangerous wild animals—bears, snakes, as well as incredibly destructive mice—with only 10 hand-picked survival items from a pre-approved list, minimal standard supplies and personal items, no camera crews and no extra help. They have to procure their own food, shelter and safety precautions, all the while filming themselves.
The way someone wins the $500,000 prize is by outlasting everyone else—and they do this completely alone. If they want out, they have to push the emergency call button on the satellite phone, and once pushed, help may be on their way immediately, but it takes more than a few minutes to get to them. So, if a bear is attacking their shelter, and they tap out, the bear may have time to maul them before help actually arrives. I wonder what the insurance rates and liability clause look like for a show like this. The first season’s winner Alan Kay, a corrections officer/survivalist from Georgia, with a speaking voice as enchanting as that of Morgan Freeman, stayed for 56 days, lost 60 lbs and seems like he could have lasted another couple of months, if he had to.
Just the thought of Alone, the psychology behind it and its contestants are simultaneously intriguing and unnerving, and much of it is the stuff of nightmares, but it is so good that you just can’t turn away—even if you are an indoor person.
This is our Top 10 list of reasons why you should continue watching Alone, even though it may give you nightmares: