Pros: Bear Grylls charm; interactive elements; short duration and good dynamics of the episodes Cons: Many of the script moves seem frankly far-fetched; the series is aimed primarily at children’s audiences You vs Wild / “You vs. Wildlife”
Genre interactive series
Created by Bear Grills
Hosted by Bear Grylls
Year of release 2019
By and large, You vs Wild is a typical Bear Grylls show. If you have seen his previous television programs, then you roughly know what awaits you in this series. Bear Grylls lands in some inhospitable area and shows by personal example what solutions will help you survive in the wild. You vs Wild is a direct successor to the Man vs. series. Wild/”Survive at All Costs”, 7 seasons, including 75 episodes, aired on Discovery Channel from 2006-2012. Then Grylls had a falling out with Discovery and his shows appeared on other channels, and now on Netflix.
The first season of You vs Wild consists of eight episodes and is most reminiscent of… FMV quests of the 80-90s of the XX century. All episodes, some of which consist of two parts, are designed as typical gaming adventures. A doctor carrying a life-saving vaccine has gone missing in the jungle, we must find him. A rescue dog is lost in the mountains, we are rushing to help. A plane carrying medical supplies crashed in the desert, we must get to it. Bear Grylls lands in the wilderness and hits the road. On the way to his goal, he talks about the secrets of survival in this particular area, then reaches a certain point where he asks the audience what to do next. Cut through the jungle or follow the river? Should you go down the rope or walk along the slope? Use spoiled meat to build a trap or select maggots from it and build a primitive fishing rod? Hide in a cave or build a snow igloo? Should I eat termites or that delicious fatty grub? The choice is always binary and when buttons and a timer appear on the screen, the camera shows the surroundings or paths that are open to Bear in both cases.
Bear Grylls will choose the path that you indicate, and if it leads to failure, in this case calling the rescuers, then you will be asked to return to the fork and make a different decision or start the entire episode from the beginning. Each episode has 5-6 forks, while the successful completion of the mission can be reached in 15-20 minutes, and in general each episode contains about 40-60 minutes of content. As is usually the case in interactive films, there is no possibility of fast scrolling; in addition, unlike Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, there are some problems with caching; immediately after selecting an option, the picture quality deteriorates significantly for a couple of seconds.
You vs Wild is a very simple series, aimed primarily at schoolchildren. There are no advanced survival tips here, in most cases Bear Grylls focuses on common sense and caution, however, this is also important. On the other hand, when targeting children, Grylls, on principle, does not wear a hat either in the mountains during snowfall or in the desert in the complete absence of shade, which looks downright stupid, given the likelihood of frostbite or sunburn and sets a simply disgusting example for children.
Another problem of the series is the obvious artificiality and staged nature of many scenes. In cases where the helicopter can land on the shore, Grylls chooses to jump into the icy water. If you can safely walk around the frozen lake, the presenter goes straight ahead, demonstrating a dangerous and safe way to move on the ice. When going to the desert, he takes with him only one flask of water, etc. It is clear that all this is necessary in order to show different scenarios and different survival techniques, but often it looks extremely stupid.
If you close your eyes to such inconsistencies, then as a test platform for an interactive series, Bear Grylls’ idea is not even bad. It is unlikely that such a game series will captivate adults who have already seen many shows by the survivalist presenter, but children should like You vs Wild. If you go through all the options for the development of events, the series can captivate them for several days.
A funny, but too simple interactive show with the charming Bear Grylls