Man Woman Wild
Man Woman Wild takes the proven formula made famous by Bear Grylls, where you drop a survival specialist into a remote area and follow him around with a camera as he explains various survival techniques. Bear’s Man Vs Wild is entertaining and believable, mainly because he interacts with his cameraman all the time rather than pretending he’s not there.
Man Woman Wild takes this concept and throws in a novelty factor. Bear’s role is replaced by Mykel Hawke is a former Special Forces survival expert, and the novelty factor is that he is dropped into remote locations with his wife Ruth, a TV journalist. They then have to survive for four days, making there was to a point of rescue.
In the first episode they set the whole season up with the idea that they are completely transparent and honest about the help they have at hand, when they call in the medical team to help a very dehydrated Ruth. But then for the rest of the season they act as if the only cameras are the ones they are carrying, when it’s so very obvious that there is a third person with the main camera.
Mykel Hawke may well be a very knowledgeable survival expert, but he makes some very stupid mistakes, and really doesn’t have the magic spark that Bear has. And Ruth is pretty much just an annoyance, proving for a great deal of the time that women are incapable of surviving outdoors.
When you add to this the blazingly obvious fact that in some episodes they are not in a remote uninhabited place, because it’s easy to see that they are following a well used path, the show almost becomes a mockery.
However, as the season goes on, something happens. The novelty factor becomes the show’s saving grace. We see Ruth coming to grips with the whole idea of having to leave her comfort zone from time to time – though she still comes across as a helpless wench far to much – and we start to see how important it can be having a friend along for the ride when you’re trying hard just to survive. It makes part of the show easier to relate to, especially when some of the banter between Mykel and Ruth appears genuine.
It’s a bit of a rocky road, and definitely plays second fiddle to Man VS Wild, but Man Woman Wild is still worth checking out and sticking through to the end of the season.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read