Edge of Alaska

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Edge of Alaska TV Poster Image
Frontier reality gets gritty, violent.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

There's an emphasis on individual freedoms and the right to protect one's land and family using any means necessary. The idea that modern life will eventually reach this town is seen mostly as a bad thing.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some residents resist change while others do not. Many residents have no problem resorting to violence to resolve some of their issues. 


McCarthy is known for lawlessness and a violent past, including a massacre in the 1980s. Unspoken rules allow for people to use violence to protect their land and their families. Guns, rifles, axes, knives, and other weapons are used; bloody knife wounds are visible. The shooting and butchering of animals also is shown. The unforgiving environment leads to frequent (and potentially deadly) accidents in the wilderness. There's arguing among residents, but most threats of violence are aimed at strangers. One cast member likes to shoot his computer for fun. 


Contains brief references to prostitution. 


Words such as "hell," "ass," "pissed," and "bitch" audible. Stronger words bleeped. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking and drinking (shots, beer) visible. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Edge of Alaska highlights some of the more dangerous and violent aspects of Alaskan frontier life, including hunting, shooting, and coping with life-threatening weather and terrain. Stories about past violent events, and attempts to protect land and families using guns, knives, and other weapons. There's some strong vocabulary ("hell," "piss," "bitch"; curses bleeped), arguing between residents, cigarette smoking, and drinking. Offers information about the history of the region, as well as some of the area's traditions and unspoken rules, including respecting each other's way of life. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTrev339 October 3, 2015

Gotta be fake

I don't understand, if the 1 guy is so against progress and new people coming to HIS town, why would he or any of the other detractors ever agree to doing... Continue reading
Adult Written bytonif December 5, 2014

Men that Isolate Their Families

I think this show dispects the worst side of homesteaders and people living off the grid. Most of the individuals on the show was just plain manical. The acti... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 28, 2014

A bit graphic,

But that's hunting for you. This show is amazing. I watched it at my friends house, and I didn't know it would be so, well, awesome.

What's the story?

EDGE OF ALASKA is a reality series about some of the residents of the remote southeast Alaskan town of McCarthy. The forgotten mining town, which is completely cut off from the law during the long, harsh winters, is home to 42 residents who willingly brave the isolation, wild terrain, unforgiving winters, and lack of modern conveniences to enjoy a life of freedom. But while locals such as Mark Wacht, Jeremy Keller, and old-timer Tim Mischel want to preserve and protect their way of life, local businessman and unofficial town mayor Neil Darish wants to bring the modern world to the frontier. As they go through their days and negotiate their rules, residents share some of the town's troubling history, personal stories, and folklore. 

Is it any good?

Edge of Alaska contains all the classic components of the American western, including the mavericks and pioneers who have staked claims throughout the unsettled and lawless land and the greedy entrepreneur who wants to change everything to make a buck. But while it showcases how the traditional frontier is colliding with the modern world, it does so by using all the expected reality-show devices, including dramatic music and near-theatrical performances by some of the cast members. 

Despite the over-the-top moments, the show offers some interesting insight into what life was like during the gold rush and the mining boom and the long-lasting impact it has had on the area. The history and folklore of the region, which includes some disturbingly violent moments and eerie ghost stories, also reveals a lot about the region's cultural heritage. It's pretty rough around the edges, but there certainly are things that can be learned. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the challenges people face when choosing to live in remote regions of the world. How do people live without modern conveniences, law enforcement, or medical facilities close by? What are some of the benefits that come with modernizing these regions? Drawbacks? Do you think this reality series does a good job of discussing both? 

TV details

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