The Discovery Channel has added two new travel shows to its lineup featuring naked people. They are Naked Castaway, and Naked and Afraid. Both shows put their survival skills to task, though one show is of one man, and the other is a man and a woman. In both, however, they are all naked. These shows are different from Discovery Channel’s usual staunch programming, and from all of the buzz regarding these shows it looks like they are both going to be hits.
Naked Castaway features Ed Stafford who is a former British Army Captain. He is dropped on a deserted island with literally nothing but a camera. He has no food, no matches, no water, and no clothes. He has to figure out how to survive for 60 days. The first episode just aired on July 7th, 2013, where Ed has his first task of landing on the island and finding fresh water, food, building a fire, and finding shelter.
On Naked and Afraid, two strangers, and man and a woman, are dropped in the jungle where they meet for the first time. Totally nude, they have to survive together for 21 days and make it to their pick up point. They do sometimes make Adam and Eve type clothing from leaves or other materials they find in the jungle, but most often they just stay naked. Their private parts are blurred through editing, and after a while you do not pay attention to the fact that they are naked. Having aired two shows thus far, it is apparent that this show is as much about psychology as it is survival skills. Putting two strangers together in this situation where they must depend on each other for this length of time is interesting. They have to overcome illness, hunger, and very different personalities to survive. This does not always work out well. It seems they carefully considered who to put together to make sure that they were very different. On this program they are followed by a camera crew, but they are told that they cannot intervene or help unless it is a medical emergency. In the first episode they do have to intervene because the woman gets food poisoning from eating a turtle and becomes violently ill, and the man breaks three toes.
These shows are very unique as they are not just more survivalist shows. They also delve into the psyche of the participants. They put themselves through all of this, but there is no prize for surviving. They are just doing it for the adventure.