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Odd couple battle elements in "Dual Survival"

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - “Dual Survival,” a masterful if unimaginatively titled bit of programing premiering on Discovery Channel Friday, strands a pair of survival experts in challenging environments to show us how they do, or do not, rise to the occasion.

So far, so average. But Cody Lundin and Dave Canterbury have very different approaches to survival, and once they start butting heads, it gets hilarious pretty quickly.

Give Lundin most of the credit. Canterbury is the stereotype of the hardened survivalist: former Army sniper, lives with Mother Nature as his adversary. Lundin, however, wants to attune with Mother Nature and hasn’t worn shoes (or long pants) in 20 years. He hikes in boreal wilderness, on snow, on an island off Nova Scotia -- in socks. To Canterbury, Lundin’s ideas are “bush hippie crap.” Lundin, who thinks by going unshod he is getting his cells to evolve, notes, “My mitochondria can kick Dave’s mitochondria any day of the week.”

Great stuff, sprinkled among the sometimes useful details. Lundin does come up with a brilliant “greenhouse” improvised shelter, but Canterbury’s deadfall traps are a big zero. (Has anyone ever caught anything using a deadfall on these shows?) Even the narrator gets to poke a little fun, noting more than once that someone has broken a “cardinal rule” of survival.

Try and look beyond the overweening soundtrack telegraphing “danger” every two minutes, and ignore the extended recaps bookending each commercial break -- they’re designed for those with short-term memory loss. Come for the porcupine clubbing, stay for the Dharma and Greg bickering. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll be glad you’re home as you do.