Nobody likes the idea of being stuck in a jungle, desert, or island. But the sheer joy of surviving adverse situations and hostile conditions and returning to the comfort of our homes is something we all can identify with. Survival movies and TV Shows do that to us. They take us through painful ordeals in the struggle for survival in the difficult situation of the protagonist. But even during times of despair and helplessness, our will to survive keeps us going. When streaming platforms define our movie-watching patterns a great deal, the best place to search for your survival series of the moment is Netflix.
10. Sweet Home (2020-)
‘Sweet Home‘ earns its reputation as a standout survival show due to its masterful execution by creator Lee Eung-bok. The series artfully blends a gripping survival plot with a supernatural twist as the residents of a besieged apartment complex fight nightmarish creatures while grappling with their fears and insecurities. The monsters are not just external threats but metaphors for the characters’ internal struggles, adding depth to the story. This unique approach, coupled with well-developed characters and the constant tension of survival, keeps viewers thoroughly engaged. ‘Sweet Home’ is a rare gem in the genre, showcasing the intricacies of human survival in the face of both external and internal demons. You may watch the show here.
9. Alice in Borderland (2020-)
‘Alice in Borderland‘ is a sci-fi thriller drama Japanese TV series adapted from the manga of the same name by Haro Aso and created by Shinsuke Sato. The story follows Arisu (Kento Yamazaki) and his friends, who find themselves in an empty Tokyo, trapped in a parallel world where they must compete in deadly games to survive. In this desolate city, they face various challenges and life-threatening tasks to stay alive, reminiscent of the sinister Wonderland from Lewis Carroll’s tale. The show brilliantly explores human psychology, survival instincts, and moral dilemmas, making it an intense and thought-provoking survival series. You can watch it here.
8. Outlast (2023-)
‘Outlast,’ a survival reality competition series led by showrunner Mike Odair, features 16 contestants divided into four teams and dropped into the challenging terrain of the Alaskan wilderness. Tasked with surviving off the land using minimal supplies, these participants, often dubbed ‘lone wolf’ survivalists, are compelled to collaborate within their teams and disallowed from solitary gameplay. Contestants can exit the game by firing a flare gun, and the ultimate prize of one million dollars awaits the last remaining team, making their journey in the wilderness a high-stakes battle of teamwork and endurance. You may watch ‘Outlast’ here.
7. Alone (2015-)
‘Alone’ is an intense survival competition series that chronicles the daily trials of ten individuals as they embark on a challenging journey to survive solo in the untamed wilderness. Armed with a limited set of survival gear, participants are left to fend for themselves, with only occasional medical check-ins breaking their isolation. They have the option to voluntarily exit the competition, known as ‘tapping out,’ or may be withdrawn due to health concerns during check-ins. The ultimate victor, the one who endures the longest, secures a substantial grand prize of $500,000 (USD). The show encapsulates the unforgiving spirit of nature and the indomitable will of its contestants. You can stream it here.
6. The Stranded (2019)
Starring Papangkorn Lerkchaleampote, Chutavuth Pattarakampol, and Chaleeda Gilbert, ‘The Stranded’ is a Thai fantasy drama series directed by Sophon Sakdaphisit. The show revolves around a group of school-going teenagers who are studying at one of the most elite private institutions in the country. Once they get trapped on an island after an ominous tsunami, life soon spirals out of control. Disconnected from their loved ones and with no help from the outside world, the teenagers eventually come to the conclusion that they have to fend for themselves or face the worst possible consequences. Can some privileged young adults find the means to keep themselves going in such testing conditions? You will have to watch the show to find out. You may do so here.
5. Win the Wilderness: Alaska (2020)
Produced by Twofour, ‘Win the Wilderness: Alaska’ is a British television competition series that is judged by Duane and Rena Ose. The show pits six couples against one another in a series of challenges that will test their survival capabilities in the wilderness. The tasks range from simple physical tests to hunting animals. The couple who outperforms others and survives till the very last stands a chance of winning an extraordinary home in the Alaskan wilderness. The Ose couple who judge the show are also the owners of the property and have lived in it for decades. So, they are the right people to judge the pick the couple that has it in them to live in the wilderness fearlessly. You may stream the series here.
4. The I-Land (2019)
Created by Anthony Salter, ‘The I-Land’ is a science-fiction thriller series that features Natalie Martinez, Kate Bosworth, Ronald Peet, and Kyle Schmid. The show revolves around ten amnesiac strangers who find themselves on an isolated island. All they have to identify themselves is the name tags on their clothes. Realizing that survival is tough, they all band together, but soon, conflicts arise between them. When one of them is murdered, the situation escalates as the struggle for survival intensifies. You can watch ‘The I-Land’ here.
3. Survivor (2000-)
‘Survivor,’ the iconic reality show created by Charlie Parsons, challenges contestants to endure extreme conditions and strategic gameplay on remote islands. Divided into tribes, participants face physical challenges, form alliances, and vote out competitors, aiming to outwit, outplay, and outlast their way to the grand prize. Since its debut in 2000, Jeff Probst has hosted the show, becoming synonymous with its success. Contestants navigate alliances and unpredictable twists, testing their survival skills and social acumen. With its gripping plot and intense competition, ‘Survivor’ remains a television phenomenon, captivating audiences worldwide for over two decades. Feel free to check out the show here.
2. You vs. Wild (2019)
Created by Rob Buchta, Bear Grylls, and Delbert Shoopman, ‘You vs. Wild’ is a survival series that takes viewers to some of the most picturesque and remotest destinations around the world. The interactive show demands active participation from the viewers and follows Bear Grylls as he takes on daunting tasks that include rescue operations in the forest, Swiss Alps, and other harsh environments. The viewers must put all of their survival knowledge to the test as the famous adventurer makes them decide his every step. The action-packed drama that unfolds on the ‘You vs. Wild,’ along with its interactive nature, makes the Bear Grylls-starrer one of the best survival shows on the streaming giant. You may watch it here.
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1. Squid Game (2021-)
Starring Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, HoYeon Jung, and O Yeong-su, ‘Squid Game‘ is a South Korean survival drama television series created, written, and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk. The story revolves around 456 ordinary people from South Korea who have failed to achieve success in life for their own unique reasons. One day, they are all abducted and later dropped on a mysterious island where they stand the chance of winning $38 million if they participate in a survival game. With crippling debts, the participants don’t have much choice, and they accept the challenge by putting their lives and well-being on the line for a lifetime of comfort. You can watch the series here.
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