Alone season 1 aired from June 18, 2015, to August 5, 2015. The History Channel show which was aired on the corresponding channel on DSTV had 11 episodes for its first season.
Alone season 1 was, of course, the introduction to the series and it delivered as its winner Alan Kay, who lost over 60 pounds during the course of the season. The series follows the self-documented daily struggles of 10 individuals as they survive in the wilderness for as long as possible.
In a format somehow reminiscent of the Hunger games minus the extreme implications for losers (dying) and all the political undercurrents, the participants are isolated from each other and all other humans and the one who remains the longest wins a grand prize of $500,000.
Alan Foy who won Alone season 1 basically survived on a diet of limpets and seaweed along with mussels, crab, fish, and slugs. Some other contestants from Alone season 1 include Lucas Miller who apparently enjoyed his time on the show and was selected based on his work as a wilderness therapist. He described his most difficult experience on the show as making honest confessions to the camera.
There was also Sam Larson who described his time on the show as “playing in the woods”. He is said to have set a goal for himself to last 50 days and after he reached his goal, a large storm hit the island, which Larson described as being larger than any he had seen and prompted his decision to leave the island. Sam Larson said that the loneliness and solitude took the most time to adjust to and that his preparation for the show mostly consisted of mental preparation.
For Alone season 1, 2 and 4, the location was the northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia but the third season took place near Nahuel Huapi National Park in Patagonia.
Prior to the finale of season 1 on August 19, 2015, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a second season, which would begin production in the fall of 2015 on Vancouver Island, Canada. Season 2 premiered on April 21, 2016, season 3 was filmed in the second quarter of 2016 in Patagonia, and premiered on December 8.
A day prior to the season 3 premiere, History announced that casting had begun for season 4. In a deviation from the previous three seasons, season 4 has 7 paired teams competing rather than 10 separate individuals.
In January 2017, a Danish version of the series premiered with the name “Alone in the Wilderness” (Danish: Alene i vildmarken) on DR3. It featured ten contestants and was filmed in northern Norway.
Seasons 1-3 Format
Ten individuals, designated as contestants, were dropped off in remote areas of Northern Vancouver Island (seasons 1 and 2) and Patagonia (season 3), with enough distance put between them to ensure that they will not come in contact with one another.
The contestants are each allowed to select 10 items of survival gear from a pre-approved list of 40 and are issued a kit of standard equipment, clothing, and first aid/emergency supplies. The goal is to live in the wild as long as possible and so the contestants must find food, build shelters, and fend off predators while enduring extreme isolation and psychological distress.
Contestants are also issued a set of cameras with which they can document their daily experiences and emotions. Anyone who wishes to withdraw from the competition, what is called ‘tapping out’, can signal a rescue crew using a provided satellite telephone.
Medical professionals conduct periodic health checks on the contestants and may, at their discretion, disqualify and evacuate anyone they feel is unable to continue participating safely.
The last man standing walks away with the $500,000 cash prize and so the contestants are warned that the show can drag on for up to a year.
Season 4 Format
For season 4, fourteen contestants rather than 10 are dropped off in remote areas of Northern Vancouver Island. The contestants are dropped off in seven family-member pairs and the two members of each team choose 10 items of survival gear to be equally divided between them.
The team will choose one member to be taken to a campsite; the other begins approximately 10 mi (16.09 km) away and must hike to the site, using only a compass and bearing to find the way.
Any of the team members can tap out whenever they want but in doing so, both the person who tapped out and the team member would be removed from the competition. The last remaining team wins the $500,000 prize.
The first season of Alone received positive reviews and by season three, the reviews had turned outstanding, earning History a respectable 2.5 million total viewers which gave the show the cred of being in the top three new nonfictional cable series of 2015.