Breaking down the commercial formulas that make fall's new adventure–TV shows seem very familiar
America’s Toughest Jobs
NBC, MONDAYS, 8 P.M. EASTERN, PREMIERES AUGUST 25
Thirteen desk jockeys ditch their offices to compete in more dangerous settings, from oil refineries in Texas to Nielsen–ratings–approved commercial fishing boats in Alaska. Judging their performance each week: real–life tough–jobbers, from oilmen to fishermen.
MOJO HD, THURSDAYS, 9 P.M. EASTERN, PREMIERES OCTOBER 2
In 2007, 47 airmen began the U.S. Air Force’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) program, which teaches them to stay alive if shot down over mountains, desert, or Arctic terrain. It’s so tough that only half the men make it through. This “docu–reality” series lets us watch them suffer.
Into the Unknown with Josh Bernstein
DISCOVERY CHANNEL, MONDAYS, 10 P.M. EASTERN, PREMIERES
New threads, new network, same compelling schtick: A hat–free Bernstein travels the world, investigating age–old mysteries (Noah? ark?) and cultural curiosities (mummification in Papua New Guinea).
ANIMAL PLANET, PREMIERES IN NOVEMBER
Sea Shepherd founder and eco–vigilante Paul Watson let Animal Planet film crews aboard the Steve Irwin last winter as the ship, loaded with water cannons and sailors trained in ship–ramming techniques, hunted for Japanese whalers in icy Antarctic waters.
CBS, THURSDAYS, 10 P.M. EASTERN, PREMIERES OCTOBER 9
From hit–making producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean), this high–tech drama follows fictional biophysicist Jacob Hood as he swoops in, again and again, to save the world from extreme–science–based disasters (think out–of–control cloning and killer viruses).