The lives and deaths of Buckwild’s Shain Gandee, Storm Chasers’ Tim Samaras

Storm Chasers star Tim Samaras and Buckwild star Shain Gandee both died this year: Tim was chasing a massive tornado in Oklahoma and died along with his son and Carl Young; Shain died earlier this spring while mudding with his uncle and a friend. Neither was being filmed at the time: Shain was on a break from from the second season of his MTV series, and the Discovery series was cancelled last year.

Two new pieces of long-form journalism report on their lives and deaths, including the storm chasers’ minutes, which were captured on tape by another storm chaser who escaped. Both deal with loss for their stars: for Samaras, it was a “significant source of funding for TWISTEX” that went away when Discovery cancelled the series; for Gandee, it was a loss of his privacy as a result of his sudden celebrity.

Both pieces also defy summary, especially Vulture’s look at Shain’s life, which is a smart look at how reality TV and fame have evolved. They’re definite must-reads:

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.