A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this behind-the-scenes reality series about the Alaska State Troopers features lots of incidents that involve drinking -- sometimes way too much drinking. There are wild, drunken parties and extremely drunk people causing trouble, getting into fights, driving, and engaging in other types of disruptive behavior. The troopers carry guns, as do some of the people they meet while on duty -- but in this case that's actually more a reflection of the state’s hunting culture than its level of crime; there's little shooting, and some of the most violent events turn out to be drills. Expect some minor injuries and bloodshed, occasional bleeped swearing, and several graphic shots of decaying moose carcasses in the wild.
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What's the story?
ALASKA STATE TROOPERS follows the well-known law-enforcement reality show model, sending camera crews to ride along with the police as they try to maintain order, this time in America’s northernmost state. The show sometimes seems to have a bit less violent crime than other, similar, shows set in the Lower 48, but there’s a lot more alcohol ... and more than a few moose.
Is it any good?
Shows in this genre sometimes seem to run together, with a standard mix of fights, drunks, drug arrests, and suspects resisting arrest. Yes, Alaska State Troopers has all of this, but the series still manages to differentiate itself. First, there’s plenty of snow; the winter cold is essentially an extra character in the state and is often a factor as the troopers respond to each incident. Then there are the guns. When cops in other states see a gun, they're instantly on alert; in Alaska, where hunting is a favorite pastime and guns are common, the troopers hardly bat an eye when questioning armed suspects.
Then there are the moose. Several scenes show the troopers investigating massive moose carcasses -- and expressing remorse that illegal hunters have left so much meat to rot. And, finally, there’s the liquor. Almost every call involves drinking, whether it’s a drunk driver, a drunken bar fight, a drunk friend causing a scene, or other alcohol-fueled mishaps. Alcohol is a common ingredient in most shows like this, but it seems to be much more of a factor in Alaska. Maybe it’s the editing, but it does help the show create its own identity in an increasingly crowded niche.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about alcohol's presence in the show. Why do you think so many of the featured incidents involve alcohol? Does this show make drinking seem fun and glamorous or stupid and dangerous? What about other TV shows?
Do you think maintaining law and order in such a harsh environment is harder than in other areas? How can environment affect behavior? Is there more crime, less, or just different types?
How does this show compare to other reality shows about law enforcement?