You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

I Shouldn’t Be Alive

Provocative title should engender some curiosity toward this Discovery series, the channel's latest stab at finding ways to make dehydration and hypothermia hip for the kids. Using a mix of poorly acted re-creations and first-person accounts by survivors, the premiere yields a moment or two of crude drama simply based on the dire scenario.

Cast:
Narrator: Qarie Marshall.

Provocative title should engender some curiosity (and at least a few critical cheap shots) toward this Discovery series, the channel’s latest stab at finding ways to make dehydration and hypothermia hip for the kids. Using a mix of poorly acted re-creations and first-person accounts by survivors, the premiere yields a moment or two of crude drama simply based on the dire scenario. Even with the whole indomitable-human-spirit thing, however, it’s hard to foresee this 10-part series enjoying much of a following.

The premiere deals with a 1982 incident involving a 58-foot yacht that sank in a heavy storm during a trip from Annapolis, Md., to Florida. The five crew members onboard made it into a rubber dingy and were faced with the challenge of enduring for days with no food or water in shark-infested seas.

Only two survived the ordeal, and both participate in recounting their story, which survivor Deborah Scaling Kiley also has documented in a book, “Untamed Seas.” “It was as if God was spitting on us, laughing at our situation,” she says at one point, when rain briefly falls on the parched quintet and just as quickly stops.

As has become standard with these productions, the narrative accounts are illustrated by re-enactments as well as computer imagery regarding the science of what transpired, and while the latter was incomplete in the preview, it’s the former that virtually sinks the show. At one point, in fact, it becomes clear that if the sharks don’t get the bad-luck crew, the overacting probably will.

This isn’t to say what these folks experienced isn’t harrowing, but these hybrids mixing dramatic and documentary techniques only enjoy a sense of authenticity if both halves work, which isn’t the case at least in the maiden voyage (rather sensationally titled “Shark Survivor”). Future installments include the tale of Yossi Ghinsberg, who parlayed his experience being stranded in the Amazon into a career as a motivational speaker.

It’s easy to sympathize with Discovery’s plight, seeking as it is to attract younger demos to material that has historically skewed to an older audience. Being edgier than just another “Shark Week” is obviously one way to court that MTV crowd, but aside from serving up a reminder to appreciate that roof overhead and microwaveable dinner, this waterlogged opener doesn’t provide much to merit staying afloat.

I Shouldn't Be Alive

Discovery Channel, Fri. Oct. 28, 9 p.m.

Production: Produced by Darlow Smithson Prods. Executive producers, John Smithson, Adelene Alani, Jack Smith; series producers, Alex Marengo, Ben Bowie; U.S. version producer, David Wheeler; line producer, Holly Wintgens; producer-director-writer, Ian Barnes; narration writer, Jaime Smith.

Crew: Camera, Jeremy Hewson; editors, Mark Davies, Ben Lester, Martin Roche; music, Dave Gale, Andy Bush, Dave Hewson; casting, Sarah Trevis, Tammy Kempinski. Running time: 60 MIN.

Cast: Narrator: Qarie Marshall.

More TV

  • Glenn Close Trump Fatal Attraction

    Amazon Sets Nov. 10 Debut for Glenn Close Pilot 'Sea Oak' and Two Other Comedies

    Provocative title should engender some curiosity (and at least a few critical cheap shots) toward this Discovery series, the channel’s latest stab at finding ways to make dehydration and hypothermia hip for the kids. Using a mix of poorly acted re-creations and first-person accounts by survivors, the premiere yields a moment or two of crude […]

  • 'Beat Bugs' Sets New Netflix Special

    'Beat Bugs' Sets New Netflix Special (EXCLUSIVE)

    Provocative title should engender some curiosity (and at least a few critical cheap shots) toward this Discovery series, the channel’s latest stab at finding ways to make dehydration and hypothermia hip for the kids. Using a mix of poorly acted re-creations and first-person accounts by survivors, the premiere yields a moment or two of crude […]

  • New Day CNN

    CNN Fights 'Fake News' Claims With New 'Facts First' Campaign (EXCLUSIVE)

    Provocative title should engender some curiosity (and at least a few critical cheap shots) toward this Discovery series, the channel’s latest stab at finding ways to make dehydration and hypothermia hip for the kids. Using a mix of poorly acted re-creations and first-person accounts by survivors, the premiere yields a moment or two of crude […]

  • BYU Broadcasting to Streamline TV and

    BYU Broadcasting to Streamline TV and Radio Operations, Boost BYUtv Distribution

    Provocative title should engender some curiosity (and at least a few critical cheap shots) toward this Discovery series, the channel’s latest stab at finding ways to make dehydration and hypothermia hip for the kids. Using a mix of poorly acted re-creations and first-person accounts by survivors, the premiere yields a moment or two of crude […]

  • U.K. Documentary To Venture Inside the

    U.K. Documentary To Venture Inside the U.S. Embassy

    Provocative title should engender some curiosity (and at least a few critical cheap shots) toward this Discovery series, the channel’s latest stab at finding ways to make dehydration and hypothermia hip for the kids. Using a mix of poorly acted re-creations and first-person accounts by survivors, the premiere yields a moment or two of crude […]

  • Discop Africa TV Market Kicks off

    Discop Africa TV Market Kicks off with All Eyes on African Biz Boom

    Provocative title should engender some curiosity (and at least a few critical cheap shots) toward this Discovery series, the channel’s latest stab at finding ways to make dehydration and hypothermia hip for the kids. Using a mix of poorly acted re-creations and first-person accounts by survivors, the premiere yields a moment or two of crude […]

  • The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode

    'Walking Dead' Recap: Season 8 Premiere Brings War to Negan's Doorstep (SPOILERS)

    Provocative title should engender some curiosity (and at least a few critical cheap shots) toward this Discovery series, the channel’s latest stab at finding ways to make dehydration and hypothermia hip for the kids. Using a mix of poorly acted re-creations and first-person accounts by survivors, the premiere yields a moment or two of crude […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content