A rather grimly-titled adventure series from the Discovery Channel, "I Shouldn't Be Alive" recreates (with interviews with the real people in-between the recreated scenes) the stories of various adventurers who have ventured into dangerous or rugged places and gotten into trouble, but have managed to find their way to safety through quick thinking and survival skills. So, essentially, a series that essentially a mix of "Touching the Void" (which is a film that I'd absolutely recommend if you haven't seen it) and "The Edge", with some minor variations on the theme.
One thing you hear throughout many of these stories is "theory", as in, "It was a great idea...in theory." As in, "We decided to walk through the Amazon with little food and we thought, in theory, we could just live off the land." Uh huh. Each episode focuses on one particular story, with the first episode focusing on a trio of friends who decided to head into the Amazon, only to have one of them find himself with a very serious foot condition from walking in the wet jungle for a week.
Believing that they wanted to still see a village that they thought they could find, the two friends go on, leaving the injured friend with their guide, who would try to find the nearest village. The guide, however, provides a stern warning before the separation, and, as we find out, he was right. Really right. Really, really right. It all ends with a very unexpected conclusion.
Another episode sees a couple of jocks looking to meet women in a hot tub-heavy resort. They think that they can kayak from nearby Seattle to the island where the resort is located. The two take off late in the late evening into a channel where even experts have difficulty during the day. The two are deeply competitive, and it soon dawns on one of them that the other was faking his knowledge of kayaking. Washed up on the shore of a nearby island, their supplies are soaked and the weather soon turns against them. When they try to return to the water, the unexperienced friend soon gets into trouble and finds himself stranded at sea.
"Shipwrecked" sees two cousins facing just that. The two set off into the Sea of Cortez on a boat smaller than needed, deciding that they should leave some supplies. Still, the boat remains overloaded, and when an unexpected storm hits, they don't realize that one of the pontoons on their boat has developed a crack and is taking on water. Meanwhile, a set of sharks under the water are going about their business, but also don't look particularly friendly. The boat quickly and suddenly falls apart...and then they lose their only source of water. The tense stories in the series often follow this sort of pattern of dread: "It got bad, then it got worse, then it got much worse." Speaking of "much worse": they find themselves shipwrecked on one of the most uninhabitable islands in the world - no shade, all rock and over a hundred degrees in the sun. Oh, and they realize it's a national holiday in nearby Mexico, so no fishing boats will come for them.
"Crash in a Volcano" follows a Hollywood camera crew as they fly over a volcano on Hawaii with one of the most experience helicopter pilots in the business. They head over the volcano and film, then decide to do another take. That's when they suddenly lose power and fall into the (quite active) volcano. They barely miss falling into lava, but their problems still remain, as they find themselves surrounded by the fumes of the volcano, which are making them ill. With the noise and fog of the volcano, they become separated and each makes their own attempt to try to flee to safety.
"Lost at Sea" sees a pair of friends invite their fathers for a fishing trip to attempt to repair their rocky relationships with their parents. When the group takes off in a small plane from Arizona and head out towards Baja, California. While one of the young men who's piloting the plane takes the plane through a powerful storm, once they get by the turbulence, one of the engines simply quits, requiring the plane to be taken down into the water - and, as a result, back into the storm. In the water, the plane sinks within moments and the group has little in the way of gear. Oh yeah, and huge bolts of lightning are hitting the water nearby. One of the sons realizes that he must swim for help, hoping that the direction he's swimming is towards shore.
Overall, I really didn't know what to expect from the series, but was very surprised by "I Shouldn't Be Alive". Every episode of the series provides an absolutely riveting true-life adventure tale, beautifully filmed/recreated and powerfully retold by the actual survivors in interview footage throughout the episodes.
This set contains the complete series.
1 Shark Survivor 10/28/2005
2 Lost in the Snow 11/4/2005
3 Escape From the Amazon 11/11/2005
4 Swept Away 11/18/2005
5 Kidnap In the Killing Fields 11/25/2005
6 Jaws of Death 12/2/2005
7 Trapped Under A Boulder 3/10/2006
8 Ice Cave Survivor 3/17/2006
9 Shipwrecked 3/24/2006
10 Alaskan Avalanche 3/31/2006
11 Lost at Sea 6/9/2006
12 Crash in a Volcano 6/16/2006
13 Lost in the African Bush 6/23/2006
14 Nightmare Canyon 11/10/2006
15 Frozen at 20,000 Feet 11/17/2006
16 Trapped Under the Ice 11/24/2006
17 Into the heart of darkness 12/1/2006
18 Blood in the water 12/8/2006
19 Dive Into Danger
20 A Walk in Hell
VIDEO: "I Shouldn't Be Alive" is presented by Image Entertainment in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a sleek, crisp presentation from the studio. Sharpness and detail are marvelous, and the show's sharp, bold cinematography is crisply, clearly presented throughout. While some slight artifacting was occasionally spotted, the picture generally appeared clean and clear. Colors looked natural and accurately presented, with no smearing or other concerns.
SOUND: The show is presented with crisp, clear stereo audio. Sound effects and dialogue seemed well-recorded and clean.
EXTRAS: Promos for other DC titles.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I really didn't know what to expect from the series, but was very surprised by "I Shouldn't Be Alive". Every episode of the series provides an absolutely riveting true-life adventure tale, beautifully filmed/recreated and powerfully retold by the actual survivors in interview footage throughout the episodes. This is a really exciting, often moving series about the human spirit. It definitely gets an enthusiastic recommendation from me.