Solo: Lost at Sea follows a man as he attempts to kayak from Australia to New Zealand

Monday at 10 p.m. ET, the National Geographic Channel debuts Solo: Lost at Sea, a one-hour documentary that follows Andrew McAuley’s attempt to spend about a month kayaking 1,000 miles from Tasmania to New Zealand through the Milford Sound in early 2007. As the narrator says early on, it “is the story of one man’s obsession with adventure, and the true cost of that obsession.”

Like Animal Planet’s fascinating series Grizzly Man Diaries, the documentary includes footage from the actual kayak narrated by McAuley, as he filmed his voyage. This seems like a growing trend: People who intentionally film themselves doing apparently crazy things because they want to tell their stories later, even if those stories have unintended outcomes. Crews also followed his family and support team on land, and the media covered him, too, so there’s real-time reaction to his voyage from his wife, Vicki.

The on-kayak footage of McAuley sobbing while paddling away from the beach, where his son and Vicki yell goodbye, is devastating. So, basically, is the entire hour, regardless of whether or not you know if he makes it or not. “I’m really worried that I’m not going to see my wife again, or my little boy, and I’m very scared,” he cries. “I’m wondering why I’m doing this, I really am. And I don’t have an answer.”

The documentary doesn’t really have one, either, and despite–or perhaps because of–that, it’s definitely worth watching.

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.