Compared to newer, glitzier, and albeit crazier reality shows of today, 2002's unsuccessful nature-themed 'No Boundaries' is refreshingly different, even if there is some questions of authenticity with the cast choices (at least for me).
While I am aware I am watching this show in 2012, it was something I did out of complete boredom, and the year difference in when this show was produced shows many of the differences of a newer reality show compared to what they were, a freshly budding genre that had its ups-and-downs.
The music is surprisingly mellow, even GOOD. It's soft, well-composed, and peaceful, reflecting off of the sprawling Canadian landscape with its towering, emerald pines, cloud-capped mountains and shimmering expanses of cold, slate-gray lakes and rivers. This is such a welcome relief, since most reality show music is about the most annoying you can ever imagine - loud and exuberantly boisterous; it's like those phony laugh tracks meant to illicit laughter out of you but only end up becoming senseless, repetitive noise.
I question the authenticity on this solely based upon the general appearances of the contestants - they are all a bit TOO nice-looking. Maybe I am so accustomed to those funky little caricatures other shows pull up out of the cabbage patch (you know, those people with the one lopsided eye, the crooked, humped nose and the need to swirl their water three times before drinking?), seeing more natural human beings is confusing me. I want to believe they are real, but having never seen anyone anywhere close to being 'real', I can't tell the difference between the real and the fake. Whether or not they're paid 'actors' or actual human beings who volunteered to be on this show...it's such a nice change all around.
This is not really like any typical, mainstream nature-show, and I think that may be why it failed to create and keep an audience in the U.S. (it was moderately successful in Canada). You don't have all the fighting, the crazies, the caricatures, and the insanely unrealistic challenges that leave you both baffled and scared. The challenges are a bit more realistic - there's no dodging flying fire monkeys while running over cages of hungry raptors, you don't have to ride a triple-tusked elephant through a jungle over a precariously weather-damaged bridge that's hanging by one little rope fiber to the edge of a sharp cliff. They're actually doing things any normal person would do, like canoeing and rock-climbing.
If you enjoy something calmer, a bit more intelligent, and stunning, heartbreakingly beautiful scenery, you'll have a lot of fun watching this show. It isn't groundbreaking different, but it's unique because it doesn't have all the silly, laughable antics other reality shows have. Great for a quiet day alone.
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