"It's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)," sang R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, and it's a proclamation that must resonate with the people profiled in this series. That's because they are all preparing for doomsday, whether it's caused by a natural disaster, a financial collapse or a nuclear winter, and their plan is to outlast and outlive any apocalyptic scenario. The series goes inside America's "prepping" subculture and introduces otherwise ordinary folks who are stockpiling food, water, weapons and whatever else they think is necessary in the event basic services should falter and society turns chaotic and violent. Also, each prepper's plan is reviewed by the consulting firm Practical Preppers, which analyzes its potential effectiveness in case the prepper's worst fears become reality.
Money and goods mean nothing to the people in "Live Free or Die." The series depicts a trend called "rewilding" -- the undomestication of humans -- and follows those who've rejected a mainstream existence to live off the land, in simple homes without electricity or running water. Being self-sufficient is a constant challenge, as obstacles like brutal weather and depleted food stocks require quick, innovative solutions. Modern pioneers include Colbert, a former financial adviser now living in a Georgia swamp; Gabriel, whose California lifestyle alternates between the mountains and the sea; and Tony and Amelia, who turned a hillside in the Blue Ridge Mountains into a garden.
Mick Dodge is one with the woods, having left modern conveniences behind 25 years ago to live among the trees, caves and animals in Washington state's Hoh Rain Forest. It's not an easy life by any means -- he sleeps in tree stumps and has no easy access to food -- but each day presents a different adventure, and as the always-barefoot Dodge says, "All I have to do is follow my feet." He's walking in the footsteps of four generations of Dodge men who have called the Olympic Peninsula their home, and because the intensely private former Marine allowed National Geographic access to his world, this time viewers are welcomed to witness the primal life of "The Forrest Gump of Middle Earth."
When bears, wolves and foxes are your only neighbors, life can be pretty lonely. Add minus-60-degree days and a constant battle for the most basic necessities, and you have the daily challenges of people who live in remote corners of Alaska. This series takes viewers deep into an Alaskan winter to meet tough, resilient residents as they try to stay one step ahead of storms and man-eating beasts to survive the season. The closest neighbor to Sue Aikens is more than 300 miles away. Eric Salitan subsists solely on what he hunts and forages. Chip and Agnes Hailstone catch fish for currency in bartering for supplies, and Andy and Kate Bassich use their pack of sled dogs for transportation. Also highlighted is a time of year not always part of what viewers see in Alaska: spring! Ice is breaking, animals are waking, and residents face new tests before deep cold returns.
Fishing for bluefin tuna is a way of life for many residents of Gloucester, Mass. "Wicked Tuna" takes viewers into the unrelenting North Atlantic waters infamously spotlighted by the novel-turned-feature film "The Perfect Storm," to follow captains who are relied upon by their families, their shipmates, and by Gloucester itself, to haul in boatloads of the large but elusive bluefin. The pressure to deliver is unforgiving -- the fishing season is short and tuna populations are dwindling -- but one "monstah" catch can reel in just as large of a payday.