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.

With:
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

  • ROSEANNE - "Netflix & Pill" -

    'Roseanne': What's Next for ABC's Spinoff

    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 […]

  • D'Arcy Carden The Good Place

    Emmys: Will Critical Darlings Like 'The Good Place' and 'Killing Eve' Find a Foothold?

    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 […]

  • ROSEANNE - "Netflix & Pill" -

    The 'Roseanne' Spinoff Can't Escape Roseanne (Column)

    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 […]

  • Lagardere Studios' Imagissime Unveils New Documentaries

    Lagardere Studios' Imagissime Unveils New Slate of Documentaries (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 […]

  • Laura Ingraham

    Laura Ingraham Is Under Madison Ave.'s Microscope Again

    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 […]

  • One Day At A Time, Vida

    How 'Vida' and 'One Day at a Time' Make the Political Personal (Column)

    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