National Geographic Doomsday Preppers Pre-Screening Review

National Geographic’s new series, Doomsday Preppers, premiers with back-to-back episodes on Tuesday, February 7, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. National Geographic contacted me last week and said, “We want you to preview the show.” I said, “okay.” Then they overnight this action:

I open it and …

Nifty little “survival pack” marketing idea. I’d touch on the contents, but frankly, it’s more marketing than practical, so let’s skip that and cut to the show, which National Geographic describes as:

Doomsday Preppers explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations, and strategies, preppers will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties. And with our expert’s assessment, they will find out their chances of survival if their worst fears become a reality.

That sounds fairly accurate based on the three profiles I saw on the pre-screening DVD they sent. What did I think? Well … it’s made for television. Sounds obvious, but what I mean is, it’s … dramatized. You know the drill, they profile someone or some people, play dramatic music, accentuate dramatic points, and generally try to stir the pot a bit. I wonder what the non-prepper watching the show will think of it, because for me, it was hard to watch it without critiquing the folks and their preps as the show went on. So let’s do that, shall we?

Profile #1: A couple living 35 miles outside San Antonia in an elaborate shipping container … “house.” I watched these folks and I could only think – “Holy crap! Seriously!?” They have it all, little windmills, solar panels, pigs, goats, methane gas system and food – food upon food upon food. Oh, and they have old 2nd hand school buses specially configured to bug out. “Our animals are trained to bug out,” they say. They’re afraid of a polar shift, but let’s not go there.

Case in point on the over-dramatization of the show. The narrator says something like, “They’re concerned about their home’s ability to stop bullets so today they’re testing their home by firing a .22 caliber rifle at it, a common caliber they are likely to encounter in a catastrophe.” The people then spray paint a big black dot on the corner of a shipping container (where the steel looks thickest) and fire a few .22 rounds at it, saying, after inspection, “I feel better.” Ummmm …. seriously? Never mind that any house will stop a .22 or that they their “house” has windows!

Then the guy talks about his methane gas system, touting how the gas is odorless, that wood smoke can be smelled far away and that he doesn’t want to be the person being found by wood smoke WTSHTF. Never mind that they provide ALL kinds of aerial views of their shipping container compound that’s just 35 miles outside San Antonio. Anyone see a disconnect here?

Profile #2: A guy in Los Angeles that is afraid of an earthquake so his idea of preparing is learning foraging techniques and staying mobile with his survival backpack. He said he hasn’t found a survival or bug out pack that he’s liked so he’s made his own, and that each person’s pack should be customized to his/her needs. That makes sense. I mean, this guy’s pack has a bottle of salad dressing. Yes, SALAD DRESSING!

Then he says that he’s prepared for bartering, because people won’t have access to cash. What does he have for bartering? Homemade arrow tips. Yes, HOMEMADE ARROW TIPS! No arrow shafts, no bow – just homemade arrow tips. Buddy! Ever hear of .45 auto!?

One good idea that I got from him, yes, I did get one, is that he rightfully claims that commercially purchased wire saws are crap. He instead made one himself out of a chainsaw blade. I thought that was pretty cool … though I wonder how it’d work.

Profile #3: Some “20-something party girl” living in Houston that is afraid of an oil crisis and everything running out. Her big plan is to load up a heavy backpack and bug out to … Mexico. Yes, MEXICO. Does she have friends or family there? Mmmmm – no! But c’mon, I hear the beaches are nice. She claims to work out 4 hours a day 6 days a week. She does look rugged, but … seriously? She’s cocky. Her SHTF storage supplies include, as she puts it, 120 condoms, which, as she puts it, should last a couple of days. See what I mean? She’s cocky (nyuck nyuck nyuck).

Why, after watching her clip, does National Geographic *bleep* out “sh*t” but not “wh*re” or “a$$”? Does not compute.

Will I watch the entire series? No. I don’t have cable.

All of this being said, the series should be interesting for any prepper. If nothing else it’ll be entertaining. Though the first folks profiled were WAY over the top, it was interesting to see them give away their location and all of the extensive preps on national television. Not something I’d do, but hey, whatever.

– Ranger Man

BTW: I did ask if I could mail the DVD to a random reader, but promptly got my hand e-slapped for even suggesting it. *shrug* I tried.