Location is everything in this atypical reality show about six English couples competing for the deeds to a remote Alaskan property.
Netflix is increasingly becoming the place for atypical reality shows; with multiple versions of The Circle, major hits like Love is Blind and the new Too Hot to Handle, surprising curiosities like Blown Away and Restaurants on the Edge, and now the impressively unusual Win the Wilderness, the Big N has you covered if you want to watch (ostensibly) real people be thrust into oddball and highly filmable scenarios.
Playing like a hybrid of those shows about self-sufficient rural homes and those about drinking your own urine to survive in a desert, this is a winningly novel fusion of ideas. The premise is that six English couples – the show was initially a BBC production – all compete to win the deeds of an off-the-grid property in the Alaskan wilderness. The place is in the middle of nowhere and has been built and nurtured by Duane and Rena Ose, who, as they get a bit longer in the tooth, are looking for a new couple to take over the property.
But handling such a property is a big responsibility, and requires some skills that average Englanders don’t possess. Win the Wilderness is designed to test their survival skills but also their business savvy, pitting them against each other first in the Lost Lake activity center and then in the realm of money-making ideas that’ll support the remote homestead. As with all reality shows, the challenges escalate, the rivalries intensify, and it’s easy to become invested.
Beyond the built-in dramatic appeal of the reality-TV setup, what most appeals about Win the Wilderness is its unique premise and fusion of elements. In such a crowded market, there’s every chance that the sexy relationship shows will rule forever. But among those fighting for space in the “Because you watched this…” recommendations, novelty is everything, and Win the Wilderness has enough of that to attract some curious eyeballs on the lookout for a new place to stay.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.