September 29, 2011

Article at Comcast & Xfinity

The Great Outdoors for Insiders

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Sure, getting outside for some fresh air is nice and all, but what about all the television and movies you're missing? 

If you're the sort who appreciates a nice weekend in nature but can't help being intimidated by the size of the DVR backlog you'll return to, don't worry — we've got you covered.

While the difficulty of getting off the grid these days might be a negative to some, there's no shame in seeing the appeal of an outdoor excursion in your smartphone service area. And now that tablet computers have made it easy to pack some high-def entertainment for your camping trip, it will take more than a little rain to ruin your outdoor excursion.

With that in mind, we've put together a list of a few television series available to Xfinity subscribers and On Demand movies that you might want to take along on your next trek outside the city limits. With many camp sites offering wi-fi service and smartphones or tablet computers that can store and play back video at the same quality as your television at home, it's only getting easier to make your time “roughing it” a little smoother.

'Survivorman' and/or 'Man vs. Wild'

Both series feature guys who intentionally strand themselves out in the middle of nowhere, then show us how to use what's available in nature (and in standard hiking equipment) to survive in the wild. While it's not likely that you'll find yourselves in any of these dire circumstances — especially if your vacation stays within your mobile network's service area — these shows serve two purposes: First, they're entertaining and educational; and second, they're also a great reminder why venturing too far into the wild might not be such a good idea. Because let's face it — getting away from it all doesn't mean you should have to eat insects to survive.

'A River Runs Through It'

If you're planning to do any fishing on your trip, this 1992 film is must-see material before, during, and — heck, why not — after your excursion. Based on Norman Maclean's semi-autobiographical novel about growing up in western Montana before the Great Depression, the film is both a historical period piece and an ode to the art of fly fishing. In simple terms, 'A River Runs Through It' does for fishing what 'The Natural' did for baseball. Filled with beautiful landscape cinematography and poignant analysis of what makes fishing (specifically, fly fishing) both a wonderful metaphor for life and escape from it, 'A River Runs Through It' is something everyone who daydreams about spending a day casting a line into the water should see.

'Dual Survival'

Much like 'Survivorman' and 'Man vs. Wild,' 'Dual Survival' is a show about surviving the wild using only what you find around you — but there's a twist. The series features not one but two main characters stranded in a wide range of environments. One is a rugged, military-trained survivalist, and the other is a ponytailed, barefoot naturalist with a very different approach to surviving their predicament. It may sound a little corny, but the series offers a distinctly different angle on how we can use elements of nature, and since the predicaments the pair find themselves in are rarely as extreme as 'Survivorman' or 'Man vs. Wild,' you're likely to learn a thing or two from each episode. Whether your preference is to conquer nature or to leave as small a mark on it as possible, 'Dual Survival' is a nice way to learn more about what the natural world makes available to you when you're surrounded by it. 

'Wet Hot American Summer'

Okay, so what if you're not heading off to a secluded campsite in the middle of nowhere, and getting together with friends for a bit of summer-camp fun? Well, this R-rated comedy from the cast and creators of the sketch comedy series 'The State' has become the go-to movie for anyone who spent the occasional summer at a youth camp — whether as a guest or counselor — and grew up watching older summer-camp classics like 'Meatballs.' Keep in mind that 'Wet Hot American Summer' is definitely not family-friendly material, but if you're looking for something to watch on a rainy night when you're stuck inside the cabin with your friends, you can't go wrong with this modern favorite.


While this long-running reality competition series has become less about survival and more about social strategy over the years, there's one very big reason to watch it before or during your time in the great outdoors: the challenges. Have more people than beds in the cabin? Why not stage a 'Survivor'-style challenge to determine who gets voted onto the couch? Don't have enough room in the boat for everyone, or you're trying to decide whose turn it is to get the firewood? Sounds like challenge time to us! There's nothing quite like a bit of competition to spice up an outdoor adventure, so take some cues from 'Survivor' when it comes time to decide who gets a hot shower and who will have to be content with a dip in the lake. Now that's a contest!