Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dual Survival Season 4 Wrap Up and Final Thoughts

So, last night was the season finale of Dual Survival Season 4. It has been a long journey for the show, with many ups and downs. In this post I just want to give a brief recap of the show so far and give you some of my thoughts on the way this last season finished.

Season 1 of Dual Survival began long time ago in a land far away with the two original hosts, Cody Lundin and Dave Canterbury.


I followed Dave from his YouTube channel and remember when he has trying to get on the show. As such, I was very interested to see it. The show started out great. While it was obviously staged and had a solid hint of producer created drama, Cody and Dave seemed to get along, and the show was enjoyable to watch, with the added benefit of picking up a trick or two here and there.

The pair was back for Season 2, but things started to unravel. Clearly Cody had lost respect for Dave’s skills, and took every opportunity to point out that Dave’s wilderness skills were lacking. To make things worse, it was discovered that Dave Canterbury had lied on his resume, particularly about his military career. When word got out, Discovery cut their losses and fired Dave at the end of Season 2.

These days Dave Canterbury is completely unrecognizable from the person we saw on Season 1 of the show. Currently he is sporting long, flowing hair, and wears hand made clothing and gear made form natural materials. I suppose Cody imprinted on him quite a bit. The two seem separated only by a pair of shoes.

For Season 3 Cody Lundin returned with a new partner, Joe Teti.


The first few episodes of Season 3 were okay, with the pair somewhat getting along, although it quickly became clear that Joe Teti had no idea what he was doing in the wilderness. It wasn’t long before every other word out of Joe’s mouth was “when I was in Special Forces”, and everything became a threat to be neutralized. The producers however had a plan. Instead of focusing on survival skills, they amped up the drama. The show became just one step removed from a soap opera. You couldn’t get through more than two minutes of the show without something staged and overly dramatic happening.

Most of the original fans of the show were sure that this would be the end. The producers however knew better. In fact, the staged drama drove the Season 3 ratings of the show to an all time high. As they say, give the people what they want.

Season 4 returned with the same two host, Cody and Joe, and the exact same formula for entertainment: don’t waste too much time on showing skills, go straight for the drama.

The pursuit for fake drama however had the unanticipated effect of getting on Cody’s nerves. After what seemed to be quite a bit of back and forth fighting between Cody and the producers, he was fired mid season.

The firing of Cody upset many of the fans. It was clear to everyone who has ever been in the woods that the wrong person was fired. To make things worse, Discovery made the huge error of creating an episode where they pretty much dragged Cody through the mud, That caused even further backlash. Discovery had to spend day after day deleting posts from their Facebook page written by upset viewers. Negative comments outnumbered positive ones by about twenty to one, even after all of the deleted comments.

The show however continued, and a new host was paired with Joe Teti, Matt Graham.


The season continued just as before. Joe continued not knowing anything about the woods, but functioned well in his role as drama creator for the scripted fights scheduled by the producers.

The backlash against Discovery got even worse. Not only were people upset that Cody was fired while Joe remained on the show, but people seemed fed up with the fake drama and lack of information.

Surprisingly, Discovery seems to have listened. The last two episodes of Season 4 were shocking devoid of drama. The two hosts got along, and actually had time to show some survival skills. Joe was appeared highly coached and heavily sedated. Both Matt and Joe appeared to function well together, and the producers had decided to significantly cut back on the scripted drama.

While watching the season finale last night, it actually reminded me of Season 1 of the show, where the hosts worked well together, and the show was fun to watch, and in places even educational.

I really hope the show continues in the same line. I’m sad that Cody is gone, but Matt is a good replacement. I just wish Discovery would fire Joe and replace him with John Hudson, another host of the show Dude You’re Screwed, on which Matt Graham previously appeared. He has the military background, but also has very solid wilderness skills. I would love to see him paired up with Matt. It’s unlikely, but one can hope.

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