National Geographic Channel’s new series Doomsday Castle kicks off tonight at 10:00 PM (ET) . It is a spin-off of the channel’s highest-rated series, Doomsday Preppers, which begins its 3rd season at 9:00 PM.
There are going to be a lot of reviews of the show and the cast’s performance on this episode in particular, and a lot of bad-mouthing of the idea of a castle in the 21st century. It’s an easy slam-dunk for any critic or mocker to make, and I’ll be watching the reviews with some bemusement, because they’ll be missing the point entirely.
Silly English knnnnnnnn-ighuts, Doomsday Castle isn’t about building a castle. It’s about a man attempting to cement together the remains of two families, and leave a legacy he can be proud of, so that he can leave this earth as the kind of father he never had.
Brent Sr., the patriach of the admittedly dysfunctional clan, sat beside me during lunch during the press junket to the castle. I’m a military strategy, tactics, and history geek (yes, that kind of annoying civilian), and so I asked him why he sunk roughly a million dollars to build a castle, of all things, on a remote mountainside.
After all, he already had a hidden bunker buried in the earth under what is now the castle’s floor. He could have easily built your average mountain vacation house to hide it, or built a home from insulated concrete forms (ICF) that would be as durable as his concrete filled block castle, but not as expensive or time-consuming to make. Why a castle?
His words, as accurately as I can recall them, were, “I couldn’t get my kids to come up here just to build a house. I could get them here to help me build a castle.”
This is a family with a lot of problems, more than one arrest (I’m sure the gossip rags have the stories cued up and ready to run if the show proves to be a hit), and it can be gloriously rough around the edges. All those rough edges aside, they’re trying to mend, and trying to find common ground.
I’m willing to be that if this show makes it big, it because it isn’t really a show about a castle. The castle is a MacGuffin. This could be, or at least should be, a show about redemption and second chances. We’ll see how well they do as the season progresses.