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 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.
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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?
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