Episode Recap: Nik Wallenda's 'Danger By Design'

'Danger By Design' gives Science Channel viewers an inside look at the Wallenda family and Nik Wallenda in Sarasota.

America was definitely intrigued by , so would they be equally as interested in a series focusing on his other not-so-routine stunts?

A new series, Danger By Design on Discovery's Science Channel, takes viewers inside the workings of the Wallenda family here in Sarasota and as they travel the world to help Nik execute his next stunt. 

The series kicked off with a premiere and a second episode immediately following the premiere on Monday night and viewers get to see that underneath Nik's cool, collected personality that we see from afar on the wire, he is a serious businessman and has no room for mistakes from other people or himself.

(And if you think you've seen this before, you might have. The show aired before as Life on a Wire in 2010 on Discovery, but the rest of the series was delayed until after the Falls stunt, The Herald-Tribune reported.)

The premiere takes viewers to The Bahamas' Pleasure Island where The Atlantis resort towers over the island setting the scene for Nik's preparations to bicycle across the wire 267 feet in the air then walk the 2,000-plus foot wire.

It's interesting to see where Nik was at with this walk and preparations in August 2010 — two years before he would make the

"Amy I mentally prepared to go up on that wire?" he said to the camera. "I truly don't know if I am or not."

Later we see Nik preparing to handle winds by having an airboat brought to his yard to blow 60 mph winds and at one point by the suggestion of his father Terry Troffer, have the motor cut off to surprise Nik to simulate a wind gust. Nik learned he leaned too much into the wind after falling just a couple of feet onto his mats, but these small lessons have built into more complex tests that we saw while Nik rehearsed at the Falls, where not only he would practice with high powered fans, but also doused with water from fire trucks to create a mist simulating that of the falls. 

Dangers also shows the audience each role and history of the family.  

The one between Nik and his father Terry is portrayed as contentious when it comes to inventing practice runs, stunts and execution, but more out of Terry's concern for Nik's safety. 

"Just because it's been done for generations doesn't mean there's not something new that will make it easier," Nik said to the cameras. 

The show sets up a scene we'll see throughout the first two episodes and explains how Terry wasn't there rigging for Karl Wallenda on March 22, 1978, in Puerto Rico and was supposed to, and Terry takes that moment hard for not being there as Karl fell to his death when a gust of wind knocked him off.

Nik's honest about how that moment affects him and his family, serving as a reminder of the risk and motivation to overcome mental obstacles, and it came to a head when we see Terry bent over in the tropic heat, passing out from stress during set-up. 

Abruptly, Nik demands the cameras to stop filming as Terry is loaded onto a stretcher and taken to the hospital, prompting Nik's mother Delilah to step in and help supervise the rigging and anchoring of the line.

We see Nik in tears realizing what just happened and contemplating canceling the show and recalling the similar paths that this walk and Karl's walk have, but he presses on and grabs a Guinness world record for highest bicycle ride.

Sway poles and motorcycle 

So this episode is actually new and aired after the "premiere."

The show focuses on Nik performing with his wife Erinenda during two stunts and the communication that goes into a couple during the show. An extra clip not in the show above this article shows Nik vocalizing his dedication to doing something big for the hometown crowd, which is cool to see.

We see St. Armands from 75 feet in the air during a sway pole stunt where Nik and Erinenda perform acrobatic stunts before switching poles in the air, and how Erinenda also prepares their outfits by sewing in protective fabric to prevent third-degree burns when sliding down the poll during the dismount.

A cute couple moment is born out of that minor exchange when Nik asks Erinenda if she'll be sewing a patch for her chest.  

"I don't slide down like a maniac like you do," she said.


Later, the episode shifts to a show in Santa Cruz, California, where the two work together again when Nik rides a motorcycle and use his wife as a counter weight to help spin the motorcycle around the wire three times.

How do they do it? The show offers some cool animations explaining the logistics and you also have Uncle Mike along the way providing guidance to Nik and explanations where it seems like he could be a cool physics professor and a good replacement for Bill Nye The Science guy. 

The crew also travels to figure out how to prevent the gas tank from leaking upside down where specialists drill an extra hole in the cap and then create a line to feed overflow fuel directly to the carburetor to keep the engine going.

The show is not without its difficulties as Nik slips a tad while trying to stand on the motorcycle and wobbles a bit later, but as we know, the both survive and complete the show without injury.

We'll see if the show can continue to build momentum off the as the third episode airs at 9 p.m. June 25 on The Science Channel where we see The Wheel of Death in April 2011 at the Tropicana Casino, and if this show can continue to his planned walk across the Grand Canyon.

Would you have liked Danger By Design leading up to the Niagara Falls walk or after? Tell us in the comments.

Natalie June 30, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Hii :)


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