Random Weirdness for the week of March 7, 2017


Maybe it’s because things are shaping up as a rerun of last year (devastating avalanche, dozens of people hastily forced to abandon their homes for good, Wiggo’s latest tourism scheme, etc.), but the BBC is bailing on a previously announced second season of “Svalbard; Life on the Edge.”

Show execs visiting late late year suggested the sophomore season was looking at scaling things back by half – four months of filming instead of eight and six main “characters” instead of 12 – but a planned January arrival was delayed to March and has now been put off indefinitely. “We are in talks with other networks and have our fingers crossed that the series will continue somehow,” wrote Paul Braund, a producer with Hello-Halo TV, which filmed the first season. “If another channel picks up the series they may want to go in a different direction with casting – there has been talk of finding other American contributors who may want to be involved…I may start looking into people from the U.S. who are planning to move to Svalbard this year as that could help us pitch the show to another channel.” Since we’ve frequently made fun of the show’s stereotypes, here’s an obvious one for that concept: Natasha, a liberal snowflake fleeing Wiggy Trump, experiences the cold reality of moving to a small town with open carry, no welfare and Christian-only worship services…

But all is not lost in Svalbard-related reality TV. One of two finalists in NRK’s “Anno,” where 14 people tried to eliminate each other by returning to the duals and other challenges of 16th-century Norway is Simen Havig-Gjelseth, 45, whose claims to fame include having a polar bear destroy his kayak and ransack his food during a two-person attempt to paddle around Spitsbergen in 1999. Unable to call for help because the satellite company providing service at the time was in bankruptcy, he and his companion were rescued a week later when a Coast Guard helicopter passed by chance over them. But it appears Havig-Gjelseth and his companion never lost their cool. “We made a backgammon game, and then played 146 rounds,” he told Se og Hør …  Finally, in a pathetic attempt to tie it to the assorted nonsense above, some assistance for Svalbard’s polar bears was provided by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium a couple weeks ago as it celebrated International Polar Bear Day with a bunch of online chat sessions, presentations and such while seeking donations. The funds are going toward monitoring of the animals’ denning and hunting habits. But of course the suggestion in the new Real America that Bears Lives Matter is going to trigger outrage: “No one seems to care about the seals being ripped to shreds when they come up for air,” one chatter who left what appears to be his real name wrote. “Once again we are only concerned about the ‘white majority’ and their platform (the one they catch seals from). Enough is enough, seal lives matter!!!”