Each season, 10 individuals self-document their daily struggles to survive alone in the wilderness for as long as possible

By Aurelie Corinthios
September 21, 2020 05:07 PM
Products in this story are independently selected and featured editorially. If you make a purchase using these links we may earn commission.
Advertisement
Brendan George Ko

If you're looking for your next show to binge, you may want to consider Alone — but be warned, it's not for the faint of heart.

The survival show premiered on History in 2015, and it's been acquiring a new legion of fans since season 6 was added to Netflix's library this summer. During Sunday's virtual Emmy Awards pre-show on E!, it popped up in conversation twice: Nominees Rachel Brosnahan and Ted Danson both named the show when asked what they've been watching while cooped up at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Danson, 72, called it "kind of a brilliant pandemic show," and Brosnahan, 30, said it was both "insane" and "inspiring."

"I mean, it's incredible survivalists just making it out in the wild," she said. "It's completely insane, but inspiring to watch people have such a deep connection to the land. And I think at a time when we're all like, 'Should we move into the boonies and learn how to live that way,' it's been inspiring."

Brendan George Ko

So what's the premise of Alone? In a nutshell, it follows the self-documented daily struggles of 10 individuals as they compete to survive in the wilderness for as long as possible. Whoever lasts the longest goes home with $500,000. The selected contestants — all trained survival experts — are warned that the show could potentially last up to a year.

There are no competitions or tasks they have to accomplish — aside, of course, from staying alive. With the exception of periodic medical check-ins, the participants are isolated from each other and all other humans, responsible for their own food, shelter and health.

Each contestant is provided with a satellite phone that connects them with a rescue crew, which they can use to to withdraw themselves from the competition at any time, known as "tapping out." Throughout the season, medical professionals conduct regular health checks to ensure each survivalist's safety, and can disqualify and evacuate anyone at their discretion.

Brendan George Ko

The show has filmed in a few remote locations over the years. Seasons 1, 2 and 4 were filmed on Canada's Vancouver Island; season 3 was filmed in Patagonia; season 5 was filmed in northern Mongolia; and seasons 6 and 7 were filmed in the Great Slave Lake in northwestern Canada.

Wherever the location, the contestants are all dropped off on the same day, far enough apart to ensure that they won't come in contact with each other. Although terrains may differ slightly in each participant's location, the drop-off zones are assessed in advance to ensure an equitable distribution of resources is available to each player.

Each contestant is given a kit with standard gear, clothing and first aid supplies, and can additionally select 10 survival items from a pre-approved list of 40. They're also provided with a set of cameras to document their experience as they attempt to secure food, maintain a shelter and endure extreme isolation and psychological distress.

The winners of season 1-6 have lasted between 56 and 87 days. The most recent season 7 features a twist, as 10 new participants confront the most grueling challenge in the show's history: last 100 days in the Arctic to win $1,000,000.

Seasons 3-6 are streaming on Hulu, and season 6 is streaming on Netflix. History subscribers can also stream the entire series on History.com, and all seasons are available for purchase on Amazon Prime Video.