Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review: Alaska: The Last Frontier

Get Past the "Why" and Alaska Becomes an Engaging Show
TVFirstLook

You can't help but be nagged by a couple of questions when watching Alaska: The Last Frontier (Discovery Channel, 10pm): Is there a Walmart behind the cameraman? And, Why in God's name...?



Alaska starts off slow, to introduce the Kilcher family. They're a multigenerational family living on the Southern coast of Alaska, apparently, in a very isolated section of the state. The family, for the most part, lives off the land and is far removed from people.


Those nagging questions pop up because, despite being isolated, the Kilchers (and their neighbors) seem to have everything most Americans have (decent clothes, appliances and, this didn't come from Walmart, an education).

The other nagging question: Why, why, why? is all about, Why live in a place where your survival depends on whether or not you have a successful hunt? And, why live in a place where a doctor is too far away to put your shoulder back in its socket?

Still, despite all that - and it takes about 15 minutes to get past those "whys?," Alaska eventually sinks in. It's helped loads by the beauty of Alaska - the show is visually fun to watch.

Then, ultimately, the Kilchers themselves slowly reveal their personalities. Although one of the wives looks like she'd rather be anywhere but Alaska, most of the family (Atz, Atz Lee, Otto, Elvin but not daughter Jewel, the singer) seemingly love their lives - the hardships of farming and hunting and, well, killing the family pet (despite its good taste).

As it turns out, the Kilchers (and Alaska: The Last Frontier) are engaging and leave you wanting to know more, though it seems likely those "whys" may never be fully explained.

50 comments:

  1. wow! im the wife you dont think wants to be in AK. im just sarcastic. 30 seconds of camera time and i get written about like that.!Oh well! My hair does look terrible. i was wearing a hat and took it off for a short interview.

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    1. I recognized hat hair when i see it :) never fear not everyone thinks that of you

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    2. GOOD FOR YOU I'M SICK OF FAKE WOMEN.

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    3. Watching it now!! Can I come stay for a winter with you??? :) lol My son went for a year and a half and loved it! Also have a childhood friend who lives in Nome and has been there for over 15 years.

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    4. She's my favorite! Love her sarcasm & love the show!

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    5. The fact that she couldn't brush her hair for the camera really annoyed me. It was almost as annoying as portraying a family that lives 10 miles away from Safeway as in danger of starving to death if they don't hunt.

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    6. Jane ... Don't Change Anything ...! You're Great The Way You Are ... A Bit Sarcastic ... A Tad Bit Of A Wuss ... ( Don't Blame You ) ... Hard Working ...! We Call That Moxy Around These Parts & That's A Compliment ... Peace & Love Dolls. ..

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    7. d nott
      Change The Darn Channel & Find Something Worthwhile To *itch About ... See That's The Problem With Some Materialustic ... Superficial People ... They Just Don't Know How To Be Genuine ... & Who Gives A *hit If They Own A Safeway ... Obviously They Still Hunt & Fish ...

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  2. Thanks for reading our site. Didn't mean to insult, but our review is based on what's on the screen. Looking forward to watching more episodes.

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  3. I am so in looove with the show already! To sarcastic wifey, I didn't think you wanted to be anywhere else :) I wouldn't!

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  4. I much prefer seeing the Kilchers representing Alaska than its ex-governor (whose name I shall not say on a respectable website!!)

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  5. My husband and I love the show ,and now we have our daughter hooked too. We are looking forward to more episodes.
    Thanks Kilcher family.
    The MacDonalds

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  6. any women who talk shit about palin do for only one reason....cause she is one hot older women and there is a ton of jealousy around.

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    1. Palin qualifications: "Has gun, will shoot. Has boat, will fish". I have a Mercedes and make $180,000 A Year. Trust us when we say It's Not Jealousy. You're just being a cheap date.

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    2. Eve looks like her cousin in law jewel, very attractive! And the show rules, it'd be great to have jewel make an appearance!! Good show

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    3. Palin also has a college education and brains.

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    4. Palin is as dumb as a box of rocks.She thought Africa was a country.

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  7. The show seems to portray the Kilchers in an unfair light. They own half the mountain and seem to have everything they need and want without full-time jobs? Sounds and looks like they are the upper class of Homer AK? I guess true reality isn't as interesting? Just Sayin...

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    1. Umm usually people that homestead work harder and longer than people with regular jobs. Doesn't look like they are upper class to me. I can't imagine their lives are too easy doing what they do.

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    2. I imagine most of their wealth is tied up in the value of the land. While they may be "wealthy" they are not living in big fancy houses. If you don't have huge house payments, utilities, grocery store food you could afford some equipment to make life easier. If you notice most of it is not new equipment either!

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    3. Vicki K,

      What is your definition of an "Regular Job"? I think most people in this country have regular jobs. The last time I checked most "homesteaders" don't own 800+ acres and dont have a wealthy singer daughter/niece named Jewel to fund their adventures. Nice thought though. I don't need to see how the Kilchers do anything because I live it...

      Thanks

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    4. Anonymous. You sound bitter. it says they accumlated the 600+ acres throughout they're time there. They are three generations and counting living like that! What does Jewel being famous have to do with anything? She's been famous for what? 10-15 years? So what happened before that? Very strange to have such a negative reaction to their show.

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    5. Anonymous. You sound bitter. it says they accumlated the 600+ acres throughout they're time there. They are three generations and counting living like that! What does Jewel being famous have to do with anything? She's been famous for what? 10-15 years? So what happened before that? Very strange to have such a negative reaction to their show.

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  8. you have a mercedes and make a buck eighty a year...big fucking deal.....you missed the point. YOure jealous cause Palin is ONE HOT MILF....and you are a fat, triple chinned, ugly, mustached, big assed, saggy titted, pimple faced, twat stankin LONELY pig.........who drives a mercedes (big fucking deal) and make a buck eighty a year...also, big fd.....guys don't give a shit what women make.....a broad who makes big bucks AIN'T ANY MORE ATTRACTIVE to men.......loving money is a BITCH TRAIT.....SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.....Palin STILL is A TRILLION GAZILLION TIMES MORE ATTRACTIVE THAN YOU......a fat bitch who can pay for her own liposuction....thats all you are

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    1. Wow, dude take your medication....

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    2. Someone has serious mommy issues..

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    3. Dude Roll A Blunt & Take Some You Time ...

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  9. I sometimes wonder if this is another one of those staged "reality" shows. One episode really bothered me. The hubby has to go off moose hunting when he and his wife are out in the field catching and smoking salmon. He leaves her with a single action 44 magnum for bear protection. It is a gun she has obviously never fired before, so under the stress of a bear attack she is expected to be calm, collected and aim carefully but quickly?! Why on earth would they not carry a 12 gauge with slugs or something far more adequate for brown bear protection...My impression is that there are plenty of Marlin 45-70 rifles in Alaska - so why not? Something is fishy here. If you want the reduced weight of a pistol - why not a 454 casull super Redhawk or a Ruger Alaskan - any big bore DOUBLE action?? Does not compute.

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  10. I don't see the point in this show other than just entertainment. Fake!,Fake,Fake!

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  11. When will it be shown again? It is my favorite.

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    1. Discovery Channel tells us that Alaska: The Last Frontier will definitely return sometime this year. But,as of today, they do not have a return date.

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  12. The people on that show openly slaughter baby deer. if your a logical person/mountain man, I need not say anything more

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  13. I love the show, but I'm an old lady! My dad hunted and farmed and I understand the balance between loving animals and natural things, and knowing we need to eat. The Bible instructs man to "subdue the earth" and that we are the master of other created beings. I love the way Eve feels for the animals but realizes some have to be slaughtered. She's my kind of woman - 2 generations removed.

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    1. Another old lady who loves this show! Wondering why people get so upset about killing wild animals to eat? Guess they are more special than cows, sheep, pigs, etc. . LOL! As far as those who think the show is fake. . . well, it certainly cannot be anymore fake than The Bachelor/Bachelorette/etc. . . . and unlike those shows, it is totally entertaining!

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    2. Discovery has a nack for introducing very convincing reality shows. The ones that make if slowly turn into scripted shows. Gold Rush, The Dedliest Catch, etc. Please explain to me how, in this "reality" show, a couple travels 30 miles, one way, to catch a few fish in the middle of the winter,riskink ther life, when the cost for gas alone would be more than $20.00. You can order staple foods like oatmeat, that will last many months, without the risk.

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    3. I live 20 miles away from Homer, and the Kilcher Homestead is 10 miles away from Homer just off the main road. Homer has a Safeway, a McDonalds, a Subway, a Starbucks, plus many other locally owned restaurants and grocery stores. The whole driving to Caribou Lake to get a few fish was totally stupid and I doubt they would ever do that if the camera wasn't on them. I also doubt they stayed in a tent, Caribou Lake has several cabins on the shore for the public to stay in. Eiven has admitted on his Facebook page to being hooked up to grid power with solar panels as back ups. I'm sure they strive to live the homestead lifestyle. I am not sure of the exact particulars of their life, but they are definitely NOT remote and in danger of starving if they don't fish or hunt. I'm sure they prefer to eat wild game and fish, but they aren't going to starve 10 miles from a Big Mac.
      I think the show is intriguing, I just wish it was more real. But I guess if it was more reality based, no one would watch it.
      As an example, our house is 100% off the electrical grid, we have solar panels and a back up generator. Right now, I am online and my son is watching netflix on our hdtv and blu ray player. I have made the joke that if they wanted to make a documentary about our off grid lifestyle, they couldn't show the inside of our house and see our hdtv and blu ray player, or the satellite for our high speed internet on our roof. lol

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  14. I like the show but have to laugh at it sometimes.They act like they will die if they don't catch enough game.Look at Google Earth.They are 10 miles from town!!!A couple more observations are 1:How much money did it cost them to take a barge out to hunt deer?2:Why did one of the sons take his wife to bear country with limited ammo and no experience,practicing firing a 44 only to go out and hunt moose which were probably scared away?I don't think they are very smart.The scenery is beautiful but not enough to be gluttons for punishment.I watch this show because it's funny

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  15. Does anyone think AZT Lee hits the bong instead of doing what he is suppose to be doing. Just saying

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    1. & What's Wrong With That ...? God Put It On Earth ... For You & For Me ... Take Advantage Man ... Wow That Would Be Great ...!

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    2. Adding That One To My Bucket List ...!

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  16. Does anyone think AZT Lee hits the bong instead of doing what he is suppose to be doing. Just saying

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  17. More fake scripted reality TV. So many obvious scripted parts to this show.

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    1. , but I loved it when Otto said "a work-aholick's dream come true! as he & others were making the wilderness fence. I laughed so hard.
      I also love the bit where Atz senior says 'he's learning the ropes' about Stomp - the frolicky colt, and then the magnificent long-shot of the frisky litlle fella racing pell-mell stage left to stage right, off screen at both ends. I play that when I have the blues.
      The cameramen were incredible.

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  18. I made the mistake of watching that show and am very surprised that there isn't a public outcry from citizens of the Homer area on how fake that show is. I live probably around 30 or so miles from the Kilcher Homestead. They live 10 miles out of Homer one way and we live about 20 miles away the other. I am sure they want to live the homestead lifestyle and do a lot of what is portrayed, but living 10 or so miles away from Safeway means they won't starve to death if they don't go hunting. I'm sure they prefer wild game and fish, but it isn't a matter of life and death. I had to chuckle when they were saying they don't have electricity from the power company when I clearly saw meter panels and power lines in the back ground in some of the scenes and they were cooking on electric stoves. I don't know how much of that show is faked. I don't know the Kilchers that well, especially the ones on the show. But they all have businesses in town and are actually quite wealthy.
    It's an intriguing show, but not very real. Oh, winters aren't 8 months long, more like 6, even though they feel like an eternity.

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    1. I Suspected It Was To Good To Be True ... & To Think I Wanted To Send Blankets & Warm Clothing To Them ... Especially Since Eve Had Her Baby ...! & I Love That Sassy Brunett ... But Seems Like Eve Works Harder ... Peace & Love To All ...!

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    2. To D nott and all of the other haters:
      The Kilcher clan don't shop for food at your designated store of choice because they don't want to. I'm sure soap, toilettries, oil & gasoline, and Atz' parafin (a petroleum product [like Chapstick] - that's why the moose scat lit up like a gas spill) and other stuff is bought - but they come up with paper dollars by teaching, leading, growing... to buy stuff they don't shoot or raise.
      Anyway - I'm sure the 'writers' and Directors made the talent do crap for the cameras.... you have to make choices. I myself forwarded through almost all of the vignettes with Atz senior
      I don't see what Jewel's millions(?) have to do with the homesteader's lifestyles.
      As for Safeway money, Otto hasd a barge 'rental' business, Eivin leads mounateering-like trips, Eve sells produce, Atz Sr (a Vietnam Vet) weaves baskets and plays music at small venues (he has two CDs out). Why good G-d - all the hate?!!!

      If you lived 10 miles from a sewage plant, would that be a good thing?

      They never said they were off the grid - one reporter in Homer said they did - so I wrote and set them straight.

      Otto himself says he sells beef.

      To the other ill-informed bitchers - homesteaded land (or land grant) means the government gave it to you - with a caveat that you have to 'improve' it. Besides - when Yule arrived, Alaska wasn't even a state.

      D nott - when was the last time you saw raspberry mead on a Safeway shelf?!

      Hate shrinks your brain. FACT.

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  19. Jane has not permitted her children to be filmed for the show, I understand they go to school in Homer. I assume they have good jobs since they have very expensive farm equipment. Jane was, or still is, employed by the fish processing plant in Homer.

    There is a major highway past their "homestead" where they have rural mail delivery. Homer has all the "extras" they need, gas, groceries, churches, four schools, employment, medical clinic/hospital, all less than ten miles away. I would certainly eat meat or chickens I raised myself, but when you have grocery stores in Homer, you would not starve.

    A fun show, but not realistic as to the truth about how they live their lives.

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  20. Maybe the just have a resolve not to eat meat from a grocery store. They want to know where their meat is coming from. I think it's funny how ppl are getting so angry because there is fast food and grocery stores near by so what not everyone wants fast processed foods.

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  21. Where do they get the money for fuel, tractors, snowmobiles, guns, ammo, clothes, or maybe they hunt for money trees.

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