Goldfathers Joins TV Trend but Doesn't Fit In Yet
National Geographic Channel's Goldfathers: Race for Gold (Friday, 8pm) has all the elements you'd expect in an on-the-job reality show about Alaska gold miners.
There's the scenery - amazing. There's the gold - there's a lot of it. Although, finding the hundreds of millions of dollars' worth that's just under foot is easier to dream about than to realize. And there are the characters, which is where Goldfathers threatens to fall off the rails.
That's not to say Goldfathers does fall off the rails. But it gets close.
Goldfathers is a perfectly OK show in the same family as Discovery Channel's Gold Rush (the best of the bunch) and its Bering Sea Gold. Families and hard-working (and hard smoking and probably hard drinking) guys live in isolation and endure freezing temperatures to make a living.
Sometimes, the payoff is huge. Usually, there's a lot of waiting, hoping and smoking.
Goldfathers revolves around three groups of gold miners. John Reeves is a grumpy, money-hungry guy with a lousy attitude. Forty years ago, he hitchhiked to Alaska with $12 in his pocket. Today, he's one of Alaska's biggest land owners.
Trouble is, he's grumpy and not very nice. So, so far, he drags Goldfathers down. That could change and probably will.
More interesting is Doug Baker and his family - nice, hardworking people. And, then, the least experienced of the bunch, Creighton Lapp and Chuck Tillian, who in the Goldfathers premiere, sit around in frustration as a seemingly minor mistake derails their mining operation.
Goldfathers has all the pieces in place to make for a good TV show. In it's premiere episode, it's not quite there. But, maybe like Creighton and Chuck, time will be on its side.