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August 31, 2015

Top Five Death-Wish Shows on the Discovery Channel

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 10th 2010 9:00AM
Deadliest Catch, crab fishingDiscovery Channel unveiled its lineup for the 2010-11 season this week, and it looks like more stellar programming for the real-life stories network. You can read more about it here, but two that caught my eye are 'Engineering the Impossible,' where a team of specialists search for clues about how some of the world's most fantastic structures were built; and 'The Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero.' a documentary executive produced by Steven Spielberg.

This made me think about some of my favorite shows on the Discovery Channel, and I realized that they usually involve people in ridiculously disgusting or deadly situations. I think of these as the "real" reality shows, rather than the manufactured reality shows like 'Survivor' and 'The Amazing Race.'

Ok, we'll take Bear Grylls out of the equation, because, clearly, there's no need for him to be dropped into the wilderness and have to drink his own pee. But the others on my list are just awesome people doing death-wish jobs no one else wants to do. Follow me after the jump to see who made my top five list.

1. 'Deadliest Catch.' You know those scrumptious Alaskan King Crabs you eat when you want something really decadent? Their journey from the sea to your plate makes for one of the deadliest jobs on the planet. This series documents how the fishermen in the Bering Sea make it all happen, from dangerous storms to treacherous waters to the tensions among the fishermen themselves. I've actually had offers to tag along on these big-sea adventures as a journalist, but I'm way too chicken.

2. 'Storm Chasers.'
There's something totally bizarre about people who run INTO the storm while everyone else is running in the opposite direction. Aside from the obvious death-wish persona of these folks, I love the names of some of their vehicles, like the SRV Dominator, the Tornado Intercept Vehicle, and the Team Twistex. As for whether they HAVE to do this job? Maybe not, but I'm sure their adventures are bringing back valuable weather information to keep us all safer in the long run.

3. 'Man vs. Wild.'
I doubt seriously that I'd last long if an apocalypse forced me into the wilderness to fend for myself. But Bear Grylls gets dropped willingly into the wild and somehow manages to come out of every adventure alive. So far. I'm still waiting for the day when they'll find his body ravaged by grizzly bears or dehydrated by the sweltering sun of the desert. And I'd starve before I'd eat a frighteningly large beetle larvae.

4. 'American Loggers.'
If you've ever manned a chain saw, then you know the wood-cutting business can be deadly. Multiply that by ten thousand, and you've got 'American Loggers.' Pelletier, Inc. is a family timber business revolving around seven brothers and their sons in the North Maine Woods. This hearty crew cuts roads through mud and snow, harvests timber in one of the most primeval areas in the country, operates fearsome machines, and drags all that wood to trucks which then take it to mills across the country. It's basically man against nature, where even the tiniest error in judgment can mean injury or death. And it's no secret that nature's got the edge.

5. 'Dirty Jobs.' The jobs that everyone else goes "ewwww!" about, Mike Rowe sinks his teeth into with gusto. Well, maybe not always with gusto, but enough to give us a taste of what it's like. And the fact that I'm using teeth and taste in this blurb is just disgusting, because we're talking about pig farmers, worm poop ranchers, bologna makers, maggot farmers, and every other sort of creepy-crawly job. If none of this seems all that bad, maybe you'd like to crawl through a tight space and clean out some sewage. Yes, I consider that a death wish job, and so do the guys who do it. Watch the video here.

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I have to agree with the first posts. Man v Wild is a total joke and laugh fest. Erica- it's all fake, elephant poo is almost bone dry. What Bear squeezed was not poo and where I live lots of people jump into freezing water every winter. They are called Polar Bear clubs and they do it for fun or to raise money for charity. This year there was an 82 year old man that did it so Bear doing it really isn't that impressive. I'd bet a years salary that the safety precautions Bear takes would put to shame the ones the Mythbusters do. Did you see the episode where they almost burned down their building testing that rocket? The only difference is Mythbusters show us the precautions they take whereas Bear hides them (the infamous life vest under the sweat shirt for example). Yeah, scratch out Man (pretends to be) Versus Wild and put down Mythbusters.

April 11 2010 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Erica H.

oh, and man vs. wild totally deserves to be on the list. regardless of if he's dropped out of a plane, or its "action"... he still squeeze elephant poop and drank the uhhh.. juice from it.. not mention jumped into ice cold water naked.. you even heard the camera man freaking out bc of how cold it was. that has death wish allll over it. i still think this man is crazy! and i am not sure if Mythbusters should be on a list of death wishers. they take extreme cautious measures of safety... no death wish there!

April 11 2010 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Erica H.

I found some preview info on the deadliest catch season 6!!! Check it out. I can't wait til tuesday 9pm..


I don't know if I would be able to do it either, I mean going on the ship.. even from a journalistic preview. I'd go back to smoking and be in the captains area... wayyyy too scared to go on the deck. but, i do wonder bc of the pay, how many peeps apply to be a green horne. its gotta be a lot right?????

April 11 2010 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I want to add my voice to the growing throng of "Man vs Wild" naysayers. For my money, "Survivorman" was a far superior program and I've rewatched every episode at least twice. Les Stroud is a true survivalist and while I realize that making a show such as his must be remarkably difficult in every conceivable way, I wish he were on every week with new episodes. I always found him very interesting.

April 10 2010 at 7:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jane Boursaw

You guys are right - I totally missed the boat on not including Mythbusters. Maybe I should do a Top 5 Mythbusters experiments post.

April 10 2010 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Couldn't agree with ya'll more regarding Man vs Wild.
And Mythbusters.
Wish they'd included "Swamp Loggers " in the list . While American Loggers is a good show, Swamp Logging has a dangerous side all it's own.

April 10 2010 at 4:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree about Man vs. Wild. It's completely fake. Bear stays at a hotel every night.

You should have included Mythbusters instead. How can you leave off a show that opens every episode with "don't try this at home"?

And BTW, wouldn't it be fun to watch the cast of one of those fake "reality" shows like Real Housewives or Jersey Shore get jobs as greenhorns on a crab boat?

April 10 2010 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Man versus Wild does not belong on this list. Bear doesn't get "dropped" into anywhere; he performs stunts while parked alongside of a road under the supervision of a dozen man strong safety and support crew. The entire show is set up and staged. When he came to South Dakota they filmed the entire Black Hills and "Great Plains" portions in Custer State Park. He was literally within a mile or two of a road the entire time and was never anywhere near the backcountry. There are behind the scenes videos on Discovery.com; here's one- http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/man-vs-wild-behind-the-scenes-hanging-in-panama.html The director yelling "ACTION" pretty much dispels the notion that Bear travels through the wilderness unaided. Even the animals he kills are brought along by the crew.

April 10 2010 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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