Worst-Case Scenario -- TV Review



Bear Grylls, keeping hospitals and stuntmen in business since 2006.

That's when "Man vs. Wild" debuted on Discovery and sent the one-time British Special Forces op and adventurer into difficult terrain to show audiences how they could build a raft/traverse a chasm/shimmy up a tree using shoelaces.

Now, Grylls brings his MacGyver-meets-survivalist skills back to the network with the half-hour series "Worst Case Scenario," based on the best-selling books.

In typical Grylls fashion, it's highly stylized into fast cuts, multicameras and careful editing over which he narrates two (per episode) worst-case scenarios while on-camera participates in their resolution.

It's a perfect next step for Grylls, who caught flak when "Man" was criticized for staging scenes. Here, it's all staged: Grylls stumbles on a small disaster and jumps right in to show how the viewer can save him or herself -- and, if possible, the other poor unfortunates.

Each scenario then ends with a summary of major points to remember, and (at least in the pilot episode) the final moments of the show are devoted to a "making of" segment. Words of wisdom to an injured cameraman from Grylls, "Bones heal, and chicks dig scars."

Naturally, most of us are hardly going to attend to every detail the way Grylls does, and he risks parody when, for example, he suggests that after one has kicked in the window of a smoking vehicle in which one is trapped that one should use their shirt to clear away jagged glass before exiting. Thanks, Martha Stewart -- I'll risk a few cuts and avoid the imminent explosion.

Still, "Scenario" is a fast-moving, informative piece of television. It might be something seen before on shows like "Dateline," but here there's a free-floating improvisation to the staged scenes that audiences will find nail-biting and entertaining.

Plus, here it's done with a British accent. Of course, the one piece of equipment we'd all like to have on hand in a Worst Case Scenario is Grylls, but until cloning is legalized, this show will do nicely.

Airdate: 10-10:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 5 (Discovery)
Production: Pilgrim Films & Television
Host: Bear Grylls
Executive producers: Craig Piligian, Eddie Barbini
Supervising producer: Steve LuKanic
Director of photography: Douglas Glover
Production designer: M. Scott Moses