Tuesdays at 10PM National Geographic Channel
“Life Below Zero” is a candid reality show focusing on the lives of 6 people who live in remote parts of Alaska. One married couple lives near the arctic circle with 2 boatloads of dogs and One married couple lives near the arctic circle with 2 boat loads of kids. There is also a man named Glenn who is alone, totally isolated and lives completely off the land. Finally there is a middle aged woman, Sue Aikens who could be the whole show.
Glenn is a new cast member this season, replacing Erik Salitan from last season. They are similar in that they both are isolated from civilization and live exclusively off the land and hunt or gather everything they need. Everything! They are different in that Erik seems much more advanced in his ability to live off the land. Erik is also a successful businessman, traveling to the lower 48 every year to promote his Alaska wilderness guide business. Glenn lives in a uni bomber type shack and cleans his kills on what looks like his kitchen table. EWW. In fact everything about Glenn is Eww. Glenn should hire Erik as a hygiene guide. Glenn comes off to me as a little creepy and I’m somewhat surprised he was chosen for this show. Glenn does have some mad skills though which he demonstrates by showing us how to get the best meat from behind the eye ball of I forget what kind of animal. That’s good eatin’. OK Glenn if you say so.
Andy and Kate raise sled dogs and appear to be making a good living and are comfortable by Alaska wilderness standards. They raise, grow, make or kill most but not all of what they need to survive. They have a nice big house, solar panels, a steam bath and I believe I saw a satellite dish or two in the background in one scene. The dogs are very beautiful and quite amazing and Andy gets a lot of screen time with the little projects he is doing. He has quite a temper and when he needs his wife Kate to help him would appear to be treating her like shit but Kate “gets” him and they work well together. I think the main problem is Andy gets frustrated when Kate cannot read his mind and anticipate his needs. Sound familiar married people?
Chip and Agnes Hailstone live in Noorvik with their 7 children. Agnes is native Inupiaq and is way way cool, no pun intended. When they go hunting for big game Agnes always takes the shot. I hate when my wife drives so saying Chip’s got it together would be an understatement. They get almost all of their food from hunting which they do together and fishing which they bring the kids along for which is cuter than Andy and Kate’s dogs. Their 11 year old had part of her birthday party on camera. The cake was kind of gross but not as bad as Costco and the kid got some fishing net and a trap for small game which didn’t seem to piss her off though it seemed a little awkward. Like a Barbie would have awakened the Inupiaq Sun God? Have a heart Chip and Agnes.
Susan Aikens, who lives alone 197 miles north of the arctic circle is a total rock star. Sue is one of the more fascinating people on reality TV and will have a bust in the Rotunda of my Reality TV Hall of Fame. Sue is the owner of a camp for oil company people or anyone who wants to experience the Alaskan wilderness for whatever reason. She is one with the environment more so than anyone I have seen on any of these reality shows. She doesn’t overcome nature so much as she accepts nature and does whatever has to be done. She’s very articulate inspiring and motivational with a dry sense of humor and is non judgemental and non cynical.
Life Below Zero is four amazing stories about six amazing people and National Geographic should be proud of this outstanding and entertaining show.