Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Reality TV will make you feel less Alone

Photo: Alone/History Channel

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, December 29. All times are Eastern.

Top picks

Chopped (Food Network, 9 p.m.): Admittedly, there’s not a ton on TV in this post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s lull. But three reality series at least offer a variety of options to fit all tastes. First up, there’s a new episode of the Food Network staple Chopped. The episode is called “Wild Times,” and while we’re guessing it has to do with wild mushrooms or something, it’s fun to image an episode in which the Chopped chefs have to make food for a frat party and/or the opening night of The Wild Party on Broadway.


Alone (History Channel, 9 p.m.): Noel Murray once called Alone “TV’s harshest, most beautiful reality competition,” and this TV lull is just the time to check it out. The setup is simple: The show sends 10 survivalists into the woods with no camera crews or backup teams, and the person who stays out there the longest wins $500,000. But actually winning the competition is no small feat; the season one winner lived alone in the wilderness for 56 days, while the season two winner survived alone for 66 days. This latest season is set in the Patagonia region of South America and features contestants who range in age from 22 to 53. In addition to surviving with minimal gear (just 10 carefully chosen items), the contestants also have to film themselves for the show, all while dealing with the impact of extreme isolation. Here’s a glimpse of how Alone is made:

Project Runway: Junior (Lifetime, 9 p.m.): One of the only other series airing new episodes this week is Project Runway: Junior. And although they’re both reality shows, it’s pretty much the polar opposite of Alone. The teen-centric version of Project Runway is all about celebrating and nurturing creative kids. And while there’s no doubt the competition is cutthroat, there’s probably a little bit less of a chance that one of the contestants is going to lose a limb to frostbite.

Premieres and finales

Since there are no premieres or finales today (we’re just as upset about that as you are!), we’ll point you toward some of our year-end coverage you might’ve missed. Check out our Best Of section for the full round-up.


Streaming pick

Star Trek: Voyager, “One” (Netflix): While Alone grapples with isolation in a wilderness setting, this Voyager episode grapples with it in a sci-fi one. When Voyager passes through a nebula containing dangerous subatomic radiation, the crew must be put in stasis, leaving an immune Seven Of Nine to maintain the ship by herself. The former Borg drone pushes herself to her limits as she’s left alone for pretty much the first time in her life. And that high-pressure set up allows Star Trek’s unappreciated MVP Jeri Ryan to shine.


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