Doomsday Castle

On TV: Doomsday Castle ‘Water From a Stone’ Review

Earlier this week, I found some time to watch the third episode of the new National Geographic Channel TV series, Doomsday Castle. “Water From a Stone” first aired on Tuesday, August 27.

In the prior episode, “A Stone From the Sling,” the family focused on accessing a sustainable food supply and on defending the road leading up to the castle via a medieval siege weapon. This time around? Brent Sr. said:

Today I’ve prepared an exercise for my kids so they can experience a real life situation. They’re going to be attacked by an unknown enemy. Their mission is to defend themselves and to defend this castle.

Basically, they worked on patrolling and defending from within the castle, learning how to use the protection it provides to their advantage.

The episode started off with the family- minus their father- patrolling the castle grounds with paintball equipment. Ghillie suit-clad Brent Sr., along with another individual, ambushed the “patrol” and cut the kids down one-by-one. Dad confided:

My kids failed miserably. I’m not going to be around forever. I need to know that they’ll be able to protect themselves.

Enter Mike Moore, a retired Army Ranger First Sergeant. Brent Sr. said:

All of our prepping will have been wasted if marauders can come and take over this castle. I have brought in Sergeant Mike to teach battle and weapons tactics so my kids can better defend the castle.

Michael and Linsdey were shown training with “Sergeant Mike,” while Brent Sr., Brent II, Ashley, and Dawn-Marie looked for a source of fresh water on the property, the other focus of this episode. Brent Sr. shared:

We definitely have plenty of water here. Only one problem. We have to figure out how to get it up 600 feet to the castle. And we’ve got to make sure it’s pure.

Lindsey’s and Michael’s training didn’t go so smooth. The middle daughter self-admittedly floundered while providing cover fire for Michael as the two attacked Sergeant Mike in the castle. Michael confided:

I can’t defend this castle all by myself. But at the same time, it’s not like I can really depend on my brother or my sisters in an end of days attack situation. Survival. This is life and death, and they need to realize that.

Brent Sr. brought in Scott Hunt, a fellow prepper and water expert, to help tackle the water problem. Hunt, who featured in the Doomsday Preppers pilot (reviewed here) and assesses preparations of other “doomsday preppers” on the popular show via his company, Practical Preppers, helped the family construct a solar power gravity collection system for the family. This system “consists of an earthen dam at the head of a mountain spring that collects water and feeds a series of filters that clean out dirt and bacteria. The water is driven through the system by a pump that is powered by solar panels situated on the castle perimeter.”

As Scott and a number of family members pieced together the new water system, tempers flared as Dawn-Marie and Ashley insisted on fabricating a zipline to haul down the gravel and clay for the project rather than carrying the material down the hill. While the concept may have been good, implementing it took too long. Brent Sr. revealed:

I was so frustrated with these kids. Not only are we losing daylight, but I’ve reached my absolute limit.

Frustration followed the family home that day, leading Brent II to draw up a “family constitution,” rules of conduct family members would agree to abide by, and which Dawn-Marie initially didn’t sign.

The next day, Sergeant Mike trained Brent II and Dawn-Marie on weapons, while Brent Sr. took Michael and Lindsey along with him to work with Scott on the new water system. After adjusting a solar panel, water started flowing way up at the castle. Brent Sr. explained:

When the End Time comes, our solar pump system will produce hundreds of gallons of clean water every day.

Nicely done Scott.


“Doomsday Water”
YouTube Video

The episode ended with a simulated night assault on the castle using paintball guns again. Being informed of the attack beforehand, the family was assigned the task of defending the castle. Twin Michael didn’t like Brent II being appointed team leader beforehand for that night’s exercise, and after the family failed to hold the castle, the two got into a shoving match, with Brent Sr. having to step in and keep them apart.

Some thoughts about “Water From a Stone”:

I thought the use of paintball guns for weapons training was a good idea, considering the castle sits on all that land and a lot of that instruction can take place outdoors. Still, I wonder how easy it is to get yellow paint off castle stone. Brent Sr. said in the episode:

Paintball might seem like a game, but it’s really an effective way to learn tactical techniques, teamwork, and strategy.

I like the fact that outside experts were brought in to help with the family’s weapons training and water system. While there’s a lot to be said for taking care of such things in-house, as a viewer, I was interested in seeing how the “pros” tackled such challenges. Take Scott Hunt’s solar power gravity collection system for the water on the castle property. Would the family have come up with the same solution without outside help?

While “Water From a Stone” provided viewers some food for thought, the “reality” TV aspect was ratcheted up quite a bit in this episode- to my disappointment.

I’m curious- do any readers who watch the show actually like the drama?

Anyway, as Brent Sr. acknowledged at the end of “Water From a Stone,” the family continues to make progress on the castle, which is good.

For more information about Doomsday Castle, visit the National Geographic Channel website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: Doomsday Castle ‘A Stone From the Sling’ Review

I was impressed by the premiere episode of the National Geographic Channel’s new TV series Doomsday Castle.

As such, I was very curious to see if episode 2, “A Stone From the Sling,” would be just as solid, or if there would be a noticeable drop-off in quality.

Airing last week, the episode focused on the problem of the castle inhabitants having a sustainable food supply once TSHTF. From the National Geographic Channel website:

With only MREs to eat, Brent Sr. challenges the kids to start looking for other food alternatives. Heading to a local chicken farm, Lindsey and Ashley attempt to catch their own chickens, a great renewable resource providing eggs almost daily. But tempers flare as they start working on building a chicken coop to house the newest members of the family. Meanwhile, Brent Sr. and Dawn Marie build a catapult to be able to defend the castle from intruders.

My thoughts about “A Stone From the Sling”:

The show began with Brent Sr. busting out a bunch of MREs (meals, ready-to-eat) for the kids. It’s revealed dad has only enough of them to last one year.

Brent Sr. said:

I guess my children don’t realize- I’m not going to feed them anything but MREs until they can come up with a food supply that they can provide.

They realized it soon enough. Michael and Brent II went hunting- but not before Michael instructed Brent II on how to use a crossbow. Ashley and Lindsey went to acquire egg-laying chickens and fabricate a coop. Dawn-Marie joined Brent Sr. is constructing a trebuchet to defend against attackers using the road leading to the castle.

Trebuchet?

A kind of catapult that uses a counterweight to harness its energy, according to the show.

While Michael instructed Brent II on using a crossbow, I found what the twin said about the device most interesting. Michael explained:

Most hunters use guns. But when you’re prepping, it’s dangerous to depend on anything that’s mass-produced, like bullets. A crossbow would be a great weapon to hunt with, because one bolt can be reused for years. It’s highly accurate, and extremely quiet. Which means we can hunt around these woods without giving the position away of the castle.

I can see preppers/survivalists finding significant utility (food procurement/self-defense) in the crossbow.

After some practice, the two sons decided they’d hunt for wild boar. Brent II convinced Michael that, based on the Vietnam War-related movies he’s seen, they should try building a camouflaged pit with sharpened stakes in it and food on top of it to bait and hopefully catch their intended prey.

Ashley and Lindsey got some chickens, but while constructing the chicken coop, tensions flared over Ashley’s idea for collecting the future eggs. Lindsey eventually stormed off.

Welcome to “reality” TV.

Brent Sr. and Dawn-Marie figured out that it took only 17 seconds for a speeding vehicle to get from the lower gate to the castle drawbridge. Before beginning work on the catapult-like trebuchet, the two identified an intruder “kill zone” and proceeded to test a blockade to pen-in potential aggressors using toppled trees detonated by explosives. Dad said:

That was the perfect test. When I detonated the device, the tree came crashing down, and stopped Dawn-Marie dead in her tracks.

“Dead in her tracks.” That’s for sure, from what viewers were shown.

Alas, at the end of the day, there was no boar meat or eggs to be had by the family- just more MREs.

(Editor’s note: I don’t know about you, but I like MREs. Although, I have heard horror stories from one ex-Marine/now a civilian police officer of how they can make you constipated if you eat enough of them and only them.)

Later on in the episode, it was revealed that Ashley’s egg collection system, while not perfect, actually worked.

The two feuding sisters were shown coating eggs with mineral oil. According to the show, this preserved the eggs for up to a year.

Not only was Ashley “vindicated” in the second episode, but so was Brent II. A wild boar actually fell into the pit (although it looks as if it climbed out, eventually succumbing to a deadly combination of a crossbow bolt/handgun bullets).

The oldest son remarked:

That size of that boar really showed everybody. You know what? Maybe I’m not the biggest pansy, pussy they think I am.

Remember what I blogged back on August 15? I wrote:

The jury’s still out on Brent II and Ashley though. Brent The Younger’s got this sinister Jeff Goldblum thing going on (should be cast as his younger brother in an upcoming film), and then there’s Ashley, who came away looking somewhat like a prima donna in the first episode. Still, both of them could be revelations down the stretch.

Based on what I saw in episode 2, there’s hope for those two.

The last part of the show really focused on the construction of the trebuchet. While it looked to be completed and fully-functional, a number of test fires proved otherwise. It was only until Dawn-Marie suggested a tweak- twig, actually- that the simulated destructive payloads started flying with altitude and distance. Brent Sr. remarked:

The catapult is like any other weapon. It has to be calibrated. We’ll have settings marked on the arm so we know exactly how far to pull it back. We’ll know exactly how to hit the kill zone over and over and over.

At the end of “A Stone From the Sling,” the present “laird” of the castle shared some more observations with viewers. Brent Sr. pointed out:

We’ve got our first start on food. The next thing is making sure we have an unlimited supply and no dependency on anyone but ourselves.

And each day, castle is going to get stronger and stronger.

And it’s going to be impenetrable by the time we’re all done.

As a family, we’re two vital steps closer to being ready for the end times. We have food coming in, and we have a way to keep the invaders out. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. We don’t have a reliable water supply. We don’t have any combat training. We don’t even have a roof over our head. I hope these kids are enjoying tonight. Because tomorrow, it’s right back to work.

A good episode with plenty of interesting information that was shared. The drama (headbutting between Ashley and Lindsey, Dawn-Marie’s close call with a falling tree, Brent II’s fixation with proving himself to Sr. and the rest of the clan) was escalated up a notch, but it wasn’t a turn-off (literally and figuratively) for me. I’ll keep watching and reviewing new episodes as they’re aired- at least for now.

For more information about Doomsday Castle, visit the National Geographic Channel website here.


“Doomsday Trebuchet”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: Doomsday Castle

Tuesday night, the premiere episode of the new National Geographic Channel television series Doomsday Castle aired. Despite thinking I wouldn’t be able to watch “Before The Flood” until a later date, I did manage to view it.

This is actually the second time I’ve talked about Doomsday Castle on the blog. From July 26:

I first got wind of Doomsday Castle back in the spring. From the Nat Geo Channel website:

Castles were the ultimate homes for the original preppers – kings and noblemen, who were under constant threat from neighboring enemies. But for American prepper Brent, a castle is the perfect defense for the doomsday scenario he fears will set the world back to the Dark Ages – an electromagnetic burst that causes massive power grid failure. Brent, with the help of his children, is on a quest to finish his towering castle that is isolated deep in the Carolina mountains. But the apocalypse he fears might shy in comparison to the clash of characters of his five children as they try to live and work together to prepare for the worst. If doomsday comes, will this family survive to rule the mountains, or will it self-destruct before the castle is ever completed?

Prepper Brent. Several children. A castle in the Carolina mountains. Any of this sound familiar to fans/followers of the Doomsday Preppers TV series? Brent, his family, and his castle starred in season 2 of the popular show in the episode entitled “No Such Thing As a Fair Fight.” From the Nat Geo Doomsday Preppers web page:

Businessman by day, prepper by night. Brent lives in fear of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that will make the world go dark, leaving his family of 12 with nothing. To prep for life after the EMP, Brent has constructed a medieval-style castle that will serve as the ultimate bug-out fortress.

On August 13 at 10 PM Eastern Time, “Before The Flood” debuts. According to the show’s webpage:

Brent Sr., a retired infantry officer, recruits his children to help him finish building his doomsday castle, a completely self-sufficient fortress of refuge for the end of days. His children are shocked at the conditions of the bunker, and Brent II even calls it a “hoarder’s paradise.” The first tasks are building a drawbridge for the front door and cleaning out the bunker, where the family will live during construction.


“Doomsday Castle: Welcome to the Castle”
National Geographic Channel Video

You might be wondering what I thought of the premier episode of Doomsday Castle.

Well, back in the early 1980s, I came across a book by award-winning author and illustrator David Macaulay entitled Castle, which was a “step-by-step planning and construction of both castle and town.” I remember there being a television special based on the book as well. Not really being into the medieval before those encounters, I became somewhat fascinated by the topic thereafter.

So I shouldn’t have been too surprised when I actually came away from watching “Before The Flood” rather upbeat about the production going forward.

I’m not really sure why I should be. It contained a bit of that so-called “reality” show drama that others seem to like but I can do without (although to be fair, it’s more family dysfunctionality-based, which I’m guessing is reality for a lot of people- including myself). And preppers/survivalists hoping to learn a bunch of new stuff from the show were probably disappointed from that debut episode (the rat trap was rather something though).

But that castle.

Man oh man. I can’t begin to tell you how interested I am in seeing how Brent and his family build out that monstrous structure over time. I have a feeling if there’s any learning to be done, it will be related primarily to the construction of that castle. As much as I’m interested in that material, it would be nice if a lot more preparedness material was covered down the road however.

As for Brent and his family- Brent II, Ashley, Lindsey, Dawn-Marie, and Michael-I like them. Brent Sr. has a handsome family, and most of them seem like they can bring a good deal to the table in this project.

The jury’s still out on Brent II and Ashley though. Brent The Younger’s got this sinister Jeff Goldblum thing going on (should be cast as his younger brother in an upcoming film), and then there’s Ashley, who came away looking somewhat like a prima donna in the first episode. Still, both of them could be revelations down the stretch.

In my opinion, if Doomsday Castle keeps the “reality” show drama to a minimum and amps up the educational content, I think National Geographic Channel could have another hit TV series on its hands.

Otherwise, retaining viewers could be feudal.

I know. Corny as hell.

It’s 12:23 Thursday morning. Time to go to sleep.

For more information about Doomsday Castle, you can visit the National Geographic Channel’s web page for the new series here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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National Geographic Channel Presents Doomsday Castle, American Blackout

In the coming weeks, the folks who brought you Doomsday Preppers- the National Geographic Channel- will be rolling out two new survival/prepper-themed TV shows.

First, there’s Doomsday Castle.

I first got wind of Doomsday Castle back in the spring. From the Nat Geo Channel website:

Castles were the ultimate homes for the original preppers – kings and noblemen, who were under constant threat from neighboring enemies. But for American prepper Brent, a castle is the perfect defense for the doomsday scenario he fears will set the world back to the Dark Ages – an electromagnetic burst that causes massive power grid failure. Brent, with the help of his children, is on a quest to finish his towering castle that is isolated deep in the Carolina mountains. But the apocalypse he fears might shy in comparison to the clash of characters of his five children as they try to live and work together to prepare for the worst. If doomsday comes, will this family survive to rule the mountains, or will it self-destruct before the castle is ever completed?


“Doomsday Castle”
YouTube Video

Prepper Brent. Several children. A castle in the Carolina mountains. Any of this sound familiar to fans/followers of the Doomsday Preppers TV series? Brent, his family, and his castle starred in season 2 of the popular show in the episode entitled “No Such Thing As a Fair Fight.” From the Nat Geo Doomsday Preppers web page:

Businessman by day, prepper by night. Brent lives in fear of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that will make the world go dark, leaving his family of 12 with nothing. To prep for life after the EMP, Brent has constructed a medieval-style castle that will serve as the ultimate bug-out fortress.

On August 13 at 10 PM Eastern Time, “Before The Flood” debuts. According to the show’s webpage:

Brent Sr., a retired infantry officer, recruits his children to help him finish building his doomsday castle, a completely self-sufficient fortress of refuge for the end of days. His children are shocked at the conditions of the bunker, and Brent II even calls it a “hoarder’s paradise.” The first tasks are building a drawbridge for the front door and cleaning out the bunker, where the family will live during construction.

Followed by “A Stone From the Sling” on August 20:

With only MREs to eat, Brent Sr. challenges the kids to start looking for other food alternatives. Heading to a local chicken farm, Lindsey and Ashley attempt to catch their own chickens — a great renewable resource providing eggs almost daily. But tempers flare as they start working on building a chicken coop to house the newest members of the family. Meanwhile, Brent Sr. and Dawn Marie build a catapult to be able to defend the castle from intruders.

Next up is American Blackout. There’s not much material out there on the Internet about the two-hour docu-drama that scheduled to air later in the fall. But AJ Marechal wrote on the Variety website back on March 24:

The Nat Geo team is particularly excited about “American Blackout,” a recently greenlit two-hour special that Lyle describes as “like ‘Cloverfield,’ with a touch of ‘Blair Witch’ and ‘War of the Worlds.'”

From Raw TV Limited, “Blackout” imagines the first two weeks immediately following a catastrophic blackout and how preppers would react to the disaster. Complementing themes seen in “Doomsday Preppers,” [National Geographic Channels president Howard T.] Owens says the special will “be filmed as a full-throttle disaster movie.”

Very cool. I look forward to viewing both new projects from the National Geographic Channel… if my girlfriend and I have our satellite TV reinstalled by then.

For more on Doomsday Castle, you can visit the show’s page on the Nat Geo site here.

Have a great weekend.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Marcehal, AJ. “Upfront: Nat Geo Hopes to Build on Strong 2012.” Variety. 24 Mar. 2013. (http://variety.com/2013/tv/news/upfront-nat-geo-nat-geo-wild-evolution-continues-as-ratings-boom-1200327910/). 26 July 2013.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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