ParksByNature may be an outdoor lifestyle brand, and you know how we feel about being outside during all sorts of weather, but sometimes (during a polar vortex, at three o’clock in the morning, etc., etc.) even we have to stay indoors. And if you’re not in the mood to throw an outdoor party indoors (although we’re not sure why not), then consider indulging in America’s favorite pastime. That’s right—we’re talking television.
And if we’re going to talk television, we’re going to do it right. Forget the obvious shows (at least for this post) like Survivorman and Man vs. Wild. (We still love you, Les Stroud and Bear Grylls!) We’re thinking more along the lines of shows that are more loosely related to the great outdoors and all things Pocket Ranger®-esque. Our list only goes to show how important the outdoors is to our culture—whether you realized it on a hike or by watching one of these programs. So get ready to read about our favorite outdoor TV shows!
1. Hey Dude
This was an old-school Nickelodeon show that ran from 1989 to 1991. A few familiar faces starred: Christine Taylor (appeared in Arrested Development, a bunch of movies, and is Ben Stiller’s wife) played Melody, while David Lascher (played Josh in the Clueless TV series and another character named Josh in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) portrayed Ted.
The premise? Ben Ernst leaves his accounting job in New York behind and buys the Bar None Dude Ranch near Tuscon, Arizona. The show follows the lives of Ben, his son Buddy, ranch hand Lucy, and the teenaged summer employees (including Melody and Ted).
We’re sure many an outdoors enthusiast got her start from watching Hey Dude. Teenagers living on a dude ranch! Wide open spaces! They all horseback ride and swim! There are cowboys! The teenagers lead overnight camping trips! They tell ghost stories! Bar None plays another ranch in a baseball game! There is Native American culture (and archeological discoveries)! Pretty much all things state park-related!
And if the Bar None was a state park, we know they’d be using Pocket Ranger® to search By Activity for horseback riding, camping, and swimming.
Oh, and it has a killer theme song. See here. The caption will now make sense to you.
2. Captain Planet and the Planeteers
We think you’re lying if you tell us that you’ve never found yourself walking along, crossing a street, and suddenly singing: “Captain Planet/He’s a hero/Gonna take pollution down to zero”. Besides for its super catchy theme song, it was a form of “edutainment” (you know, education and entertainment) to get kids thinking about protecting the environment.
(We know you know it.)
Five kids from all over the world were chosen to be planeteers and given the power of one of the elements (earth, fire, wind, water) and heart, in the form of rings. When their powers combined, Captain Planet appeared, to help them fight ecovillians and such.
Clearly, the environmental conservation factor is applicable here. Each planeteer has some sort of relationship with nature, which is why they’d be perfect Pocket Ranger® users. Linka’s a birdwatcher—we know she’d want to download one of our Fish & Wildlife Watching apps, and zero in on the wildlife watching section of Trophy Case™. Gi loves the ocean and the creatures that live there, so she’d be another wildlife watcher. The same probably goes for Ma-Ti, as his pet monkey Suchi is quite special to him.3. The Wild Thornberrys
Keeping with the theme of kids’ shows (and cartoons, considering #2 on this list), we’re including The Wild Thornberrys. This show followed the adventures of the Thornberry family, nature and wildlife documentary makers who traveled all over in the Commvee, their two-story mobile home.
The main character is Eliza, who’s the youngest daughter in this mish-mosh family: there’s father Nigel, the expert zoologist, survivalist, and naturalist; mother Marianne, who does the camerawork and editing for their show; Debbie, the angsty teenage daughter who just wants to be normal and go the mall; Donnie, a wild, feral boy who was raised by gorillas and now lives with the Thornberrys; and Darwin, a chimpanzee who wears clothes and is very civilized (he speaks in a British accent!), but only Eliza really knows the depths of his sophistication, because—get this!—Eliza can talk to animals! (It was no big deal, really, she just saved a trapped wild animal that turned out to be a SHAMAN trapped in an ANIMAL’S body.) That’s pretty much why the show exists, as we follow her adventures in nature, helping animals, talking to animals, learning about animals, etc., etc.Anyway, we definitely think the Thornberrys would use the Pocket Ranger® apps for wildlife watching. Don’t you?
4. Parks and Recreation
Number 4 means we’ve graduated from the kids’ shows and are moving into some prime time territory. Parks and Recreation is a critically-acclaimed comedy about Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), the Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department in the town of Pawnee. Sure, it’s not a state park system, but they’re dealing with the bureaucratic business of creating and maintaining parks and such, so we think it’s pretty darn close.
Yes, the focus is on the relationships, and yes, since Leslie’s goal is to become the president, she moves on in her political career, serving on City Council. But the show is called Parks and Recreation, people! And they go on camping trips. And hold park festivals! And stuff.Anyway, we would totally work with Leslie to create a Pawnee Parks App. Too bad it’s a fictional town.
What did you think of our choices? Are you sad we didn’t include Salute Your Shorts? Do you want to see a post about reality nature programs, like Survivor and Man Vs. Wild and Survivorman? Brilliant idea: do you think we should start creating apps for fictional places?! Weigh in!