Todd Hoffman, Jack Hoffman

Reality Alaska Style: Our Top 10 Favorite Shows from the Frozen North in 2014

There are a couple of trends in television right now that do not seem to be on their way out anytime soon. The first is, of course, reality television. For all of the complaining people do about it, the viewer demand for it is high, so it certainly will not be going anywhere in 2015. And, related to reality television:  Alaska.

Alaska is, as many people view it, the final frontier in the United States. And, it is a mystery that many viewers would like to explore. Most will never find themselves hiking to the outhouse or defending themselves from moose, but that doesn’t mean reality television cannot take them there—and in 2014, it did. These were our Top 10 Alaska Reality Shows of 2014:

  1. GOLD RUSH (Discovery Channel):  Like him or not, Todd Hoffman is king of Alaska reality television. Some fans love to watch him struggle for gold with his team, others—most—just love to hate him. But, whether you like Todd or not, there is no denying the hold this show has over fans. And, okay, we concede: This show has been OUT of Alaska as much as IN Alaska (right now, all of the miners are in the Klondike). But, as fans since Season One, we’ll always see GOLD RUSH as an Alaska show overall.
  2. DEADLIEST CATCH (Discovery Channel):  Crab fishing is one of the deadliest occupations in the world, and fans of this show watch week after week, breath held, to see if these fishermen will make their quotas and get home safely. The show celebrated its 10th season in 2014!
  3. ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER (Discovery Channel):  The Kilcher family lives and works on a homestead in Alaska that has now been home to four generations of Kilchers, following the birth of baby Findlay, introduced to viewers in 2014.
  4. ESCAPING ALASKA (TLC):  The show’s premise is not difficult to figure out from the title of the show:  Five young people from Alaska decide to leave their homes and try something different in San Diego, California.
  5. YUKON MEN (Discovery Channel): If you ever thought you might want to move completely off the grid, you may just change your mind when you watch the residents of Tanana, AK, struggle through the winters.
  6. BERING SEA GOLD (Discovery Channel):  These gold dredgers fight the Bering Sea each summer before the ice freezes—then go UNDER THE ICE when it does. Sometimes there is a lot more drama than gold, however.
  7. ALASKA MONSTERS (Destination America):  Are there monsters in Alaska? Well, if there are, we have not seen them yet, but these guys have a lot of fun trying to find them. And, fans who take it in the right perspective—this is a reality TV show about finding monsters, let’s keep in mind—have a lot of fun watching.
  8. WILD WEST ALASKA (Animal Planet):  Interesting, if a bit sporadic. This gun show cannot seem to make up its mind on whether it wants to focus its business in Alaska, or make a move to Las Vegas.
  9. RAILROAD ALASKA (Destination America):  Some people rely on planes to get around in Alaska. Some have snowmobiles. This show features the stories of those who rely on the Alaskan Railroad for transportation.
  10. EDGE OF ALASKA (Destination America):  We were introduced to the residents of McCarthy, AK this season–talk about out on the edge of the world! Since a reader reminded us that ICE ROAD TRUCKERS (History Channel) actually was filmed entirely in Canada this year, we made a change to reflect the next show on our list.

In 2015, old favorites will return, while new shows will begin. In the near future, ULTIMATE SURVIVAL ALASKA begins on National Geographic on January 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT; ALASKAN BUSH PEOPLE returns on Discovery Channel on January 2 at 10 p.m. ET/PT; and all-new series, ALASKA: BATTLE ON THE BAY premieres on Animal Planet on January 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.  It just does not seem that the viewer hunger for more Alaskan lifestyle is waning—and networks are happy to supply the demand.

And, you can read more about all of our Top 10 Alaska Reality Shows right here on TVRuckus!

Image:  Courtesy of Discovery Channel, Used with Permission

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10 thoughts on “Reality Alaska Style: Our Top 10 Favorite Shows from the Frozen North in 2014

    • Our bad on Ice Road Truckers; forgot it went to Canada this year; thanks for the reminder. And, we already gave our position on Gold Rush; which other show did you have questions about? Yukon Men is in Tanana, AK, so that would not be it?

  1. I live on a remote island in southeast Alaska, about 60 miles from Craig, on P.O.W. Island. We are very isolated, boat or airplane access only, no grid, fuel is brought to the island in skiffs, fishing vessels only, a big risk, especially in winter. While money is tight for most, I doubt the TV shows would get a warm welcome. We like our quiet way of life and not having the world eyeballing our every move. A reality show would pitt neighbors against neighbors and long after the stupid show is long gone, folks would still act differently towards each other.

    If the producers actually filmed our lives as they truly are, they would be boring for most lower 48 armchair viewers addicted to fake drama. We fish and hunt for 90% of our food, we cut firewood and saw lumber on our mills, we go to church on Sunday, we have one family of complete jerks that hate the community and want everyone else to leave, and most of all we love life in the wild and would not trade it for money. We obey the laws, we look out for each other, we help those in need and do not do it for compensation. We hope we are never discovered. Someday it will probably change, but there is no bridge that lazy people can cross to change our life too fast.
    Thank God for that. Let the rest of the world implode, we can handle our own lives.

  2. To Mike,
    Everything in your comment just makes me believe you are living “THE” life! Your right, I am one of those lazy people. I have been working in a factory for the last 30 yrs. My wife suffers from M.S. I needed the health insurance to take care of her and raise my son and daughter. BUT, then I watch all of these shows, of all these amazing people who have chosen an amazing life! And I get lost in them. It is incredible! Though you may not wish or desire it, “Thank You!”
    Mr. Kelly Cook

    P.S. May the Lord bless you and yours!

  3. Although Gold Rush is entertaining….it was such a bummer to find out that the show is horribly staged. Ill always watch it though. Big Fan.

  4. It’s a get away for me .l know that I wlii never get to go to alaska .I fine their way of life very interesting. For people who don’t like it don’t watch

  5. I don’t watch the reality shows but I think Mike would have just as much trouble fitting into my shoes as I’d have in his. Next time you pick up…well, just about anything, Mike, think about where it came from.

  6. I’ve been to all 48 lower states and alot of foreign countries but Alaska still interests me alot.I love all the reality shows about the outdoors and survival shows.I think you can learn a whole lot from them.who knows you may need the info in the future.

  7. I couldn’t agree more with Mike. Then again, no surprise I’m an Alaska resident year-round and adventure throughout the state, in all seasons, doing much of the “same things” as many of these “reality TV” shows. But what they portray is fake, fraudulent, staged, acted and hyped to the extent it’s not even real in the finer small details. I mine for gold, hunt, fish, mountaineer, traverse glaciers, step foot in remote areas that you’ve never heard of and would die in, been charged by bears and moose, real life-death survival experiences, etc. If you were to come here and mimic the crap shown on TV you’d not survive for long. Every year there are at least a half dozen people who go missing or die here as a result of assuming x thing about Alaska, and the nonsense shown on the TV shows “about Alaska” plays a role … our lives are not much different from yours in the lower 48, we need oxygen to breathe and clean water and food. Everything else, however, is night-and-day different. We like it that way. Mike lives off the grid — I don’t. I am off grid only when in the wilderness, which is about 65% of the year, and not often enough. Off grid living is more than just about a lifestyle choice, it’s a mindset. You either have it or you don’t. And it cannot be forced nor faked. These “Alaska” people featured on these shows are as Alaskan as a $12 bill is legal tender.

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