It takes a ton of guts to make it in Alaska. In this land of bitter cold, extreme landscape, and vast distances, the simplest activities taking out the trash, commuting to work, or catching a fish carry the potential for peril. Join host Geo Beach as he meets the gritty individuals who shoulder the state's riskiest jobs: heli-loggers who fly to inaccessible regions to haul timber, gold miners who blast through rock in brutal temperatures, and railroaders facing avalanches and earthquakes on lines that cross some of the most treacherous terrain in the world. Produced by HISTORY, this 4-DVD set ventures into the far north where truckers brave hundreds of miles of deadly roads to transport oil, and wolves plague family pets even in the city. Every episode explores the dogged determination of the folks who live and thrive in this harsh land, forcing you to ask, would I have what it takes to tough it out in Alaska?
Yet another reality show documenting extreme men pulling off extreme feats, Tougher In Alaska
simulates its predecessors, Ice Road Truckers
, Deadliest Catch
, and Ax Men
, but its recipe for combining trucking, fishing, and chopping makes for better variety and viewing. Season One includes four discs with four episodes each in an extreme metal DVD box, in case grizzlies try to attack it. The first show, "Gold Mining," which shows three mining teams squeezing gold out of an already tapped landscape, establishes a narrative pattern in which a triad of situations are braided together to create an overall picture of indestructible and crafty men fighting the elements. Episode two, "Salmon Fishing," focuses less on blasting pristine landscape and more on men who make a living plundering the sea for coveted Sockeye. "Extreme Winter" shows winter life in Fairbanks: cars swerving off icy roads into ditches, fires erupting from chimneys clogged with soot from wood-burning stoves, and in its finest moments, stars a gun-obsessed freak hell bent on hunting the wolves who ate his dog. Tougher In Alaska
, in other words, was not made with the idealistic environmentalist in mind. The narrator, Geo Beach, places melodramatic emphasis on everything to up the extremity, which is at times plain ridiculous and at times poignant. In "Extreme Isolation," he does indeed educate about the extreme transportation needed to maneuver through southern Alaskas panhandle, as he pitches an outdoor tent amongst others on a frosty ferry ride. With Beachs mentions of his previous experience as a fisherman and more, it is clear that he is the real deal, not some extreme poser. This, at least, justifies his bravado. It takes a special narrator to run with the big dogs, and to be able to translate that into palatable entertainment. --Trinie Dalton