05 March 2012

A first look at "Doomsday Preppers: Nine Meals Away From Anarchy"

Mike Mester's son lines up his target.
(Photo Credit: Sharp Entertainment / Cory Wascinsk)
Updated 3:45 PM:
I'm guessing that many of our readers have seen Nat Geo's Doomsday Preppers before. Me? I don't watch much TV, but I have seen a couple of episodes. I've also seen a few online clips from the series. I find it interesting and engaging, but not "must-see TV" for me (but no shows really are).

Still, Doomsday Preppers is mentioned a fair amount on the Twitter hashtag #PrepperTalk (and of course on #Preppers too, since that's the tag promoted by Nat Geo). Because it's discussed so frequently, I thought it'd be a good idea to give the show another go when I was given the opportunity to preview/review this Tuesday's show.

Editor's note: First, I have to say that the edit of the show that I watched was different from what a few of my fellow bloggers have mentioned. It appears that two of the preppers were the same, but the third one is different. The people in the version I watched matched the description on the Nat Geo website, but that has apparently changed. As a result, I've revised my preview/review below this afternoon (3/5/2012):

This episode, Nine Meals Away From Anarchy, showcases these three preppers:
  • Mike Mester: a suburban contractor who's also preparing for a global economic collapse
  • Preston White: a computer programmer who's preparing for radioactive fallout from the Fukushima reactor meltdowns
  • Riley Cook: Alas, this prepper was not in the version of the show that I watched, so I have no information here
    From other posts I've seen, I gather that the preppers will be shown in the order listed above. However, that doesn't sync with what I saw, so I'll be discussing them as I saw them.

    As I mentioned in the original version of this post, the first prepper I saw was a bit off-putting to me. Nonetheless, I couldn't judge the show by just one prepper, so I continued watching.

    Next up (for me) was Preston White. From what I understand, each prepper has to pick one scenario against which they're prepping. Preston's focus was on increasing fallout from the meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. However, his primary defenses against said radiation are an enormous seed collection... and a tent. Call me silly, but that seems woefully inadequate against radiation and fallout. I kept waiting for him to start talking about his "real" preparations, but things just got more "eccentric" from there.

    At this point, I was a little bummed. Sure, both of the first two preppers (the ones in the version I watched) had some good aspects, but they both seemed to be featured as much for their oddity as anything. Had I not been on "assignment," so to speak, I would've have been far more reluctant to watch the remaining prepper. Thankfully, my patience was rewarded in the last segment of the version I saw.

    Mike Mester seems a pretty typical guy: moderately successful with a family, a couple of dogs, a nice house, and his own business. However, underneath that exterior is a real prepper — one who has his entire family on board with their preparedness plans. Mike exhibits many of the qualities I believe make a good prepper: he's low-key with his prepping, but he takes it seriously and plans thoroughly. He stores what he uses, and uses what he stores. Most of all, Mike and his family use their prepping (and self-reliance) skills, but they don't seem to let prepping take over their lives.

    Yes — finally — vindication! Someone who shows that you can be a prepper and not come across as someone who's a crackpot, or obsessed, or paranoid. In short, the show wrapped up with someone who can be an inspiration to others, and not just "entertainment."

    I'm grateful that Nat Geo included Mike Mester. As I mentioned, I saw the preppers in a different order than what should be shown on Tuesday. I think putting Mike up front is a good choice. Not only does that make me more likely to watch that entire episode, but it'd make it more likely that I'll watch Doomsday Preppers again in the future. I also believe that it may just make a few more viewers consider how they could improve their own preparedness. I can only hope Nat Geo features more such preppers in future shows.

    Unfortunately, I can't give you any preview or feedback on Riley Cook, since I didn't see that segment — it'll be a surprise to me on Tuesday, just like many of you reading this!  ツ

    After you've seen the show, let me know: do you agree or disagree? Why, or why not? Drop me a line in the comment section below, or follow @SelfReliantInfo on Twitter and we can discuss it there.

    Doomsday Preppers: Nine Meals Away From Anarchy airs on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 9 PM (Eastern and Pacific times).

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