Life Below Zero

Common Sense Media says

Rugged Alaskan lifestyle reality with hunting and language.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series highlights what it takes to survive in the Alaskan back country, as well as what motivates people to do it. Hard work, resilience, and respecting nature are all themes here.

Positive role models

The people who live in these areas are tough, resilient, and independent, and are very proud of their ability to build a life for themselves in the region. They respect the natural environment around them.


Rifles and other weapons are used to hunt. Very bloody scenes of hunters gutting animals. Injuries due to animal attacks and the icy drowning of family members and other tragic events are discussed.

Not applicable

Words like "hell," "damn," and "bastard" audible; curses like "s--t" and "f--k" are bleeped.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Cigarette and cigar smoking is visible.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Life Below Zero is a reality show set in rural Alaska and features some gritty hunting scenes (including bloody images of fish and mammals getting gutted and skinned), as well as some strong language ("hell," "damn,"  "bastard," "bleeped" curse words), and cigarette and cigar smoking. Outside of this, it conveys positive messages about the personal satisfaction that comes with being self-sufficient, and the importance of respecting the environment.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

LIFE BELOW ZERO is a reality series that features six people who have chosen to live their lives in the remotest areas around the Arctic Circle region of Alaska. It stars Chip Hailstone, who lives with his wife Agnes, an Inupiat Eskimo and their children in Noovik; Erik Salitan, a registered wilderness guide from Wiseman; and Sue Aikens, the sole resident of the Kavik River Camp. It also features Andy and Kate Bassich, who live in the Yukon territory. In a region where death is a big part of life, and where residents must constantly be looking for food, fending off predatory animals, and enduring hostile elements, these folks work hard to build a self-sufficient lifestyle that they want to enjoy living.

Is it any good?


Life below Zero offers an interesting look at the lives of people who have chosen to live away from the modern world in order to build a life in and around the Alaskan wilderness. It shows how things like money, electricity, and neighbors are commodities that some folks willingly do without in order live in this rugged habitat. For some, this life is also a way to return to indigenous traditions.

Interviews with these Alaskans underscore how potentially dangerous this life can be, especially when confronted with food shortages, wild animals, and unexpected mishaps while working on day-to-day tasks. They also note how resilient they have to be in order to live -- and thrive -- in this kind of environment. Their lives will certainly seem to unique to many, but they show viewers how some are willing to risk the dangers of the Alaskan back country in exchange for a life full of peace and natural wonder.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why people make the decision to live away from modern society. What are some of the media stereotypes about people who choose to live this way? Does this reality show challenge these generalizations?

  • Why do you think these folks agreed to be featured in this series? Is it to call attention to their way of life? Or is it for other reasons?

TV details

Cast:Chip Hailstone, Erik Salitan, Sue Aikens
Network:National Geographic Channel
Genre:Reality TV
Topics:Science and nature
TV rating:NR
Available on:Streaming

This review of Life Below Zero was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byFree Spirit July 21, 2013

An Education on Life

This show teaches you the value of life, whats it takes to work hard to survived, to appreciate what you have. The people there rely on their instincts, god and mother nature. When was the last time you thank a cow or a chicken for giving up its life for you to survive. I feel the show gives you a reality check on what we take for granted.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent Written bybuttercupsprad July 18, 2013


An amazing story of families surviving off the land in the freezing cold. I have been stuck on this marathon ALL day today.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Parent Written by305cindy July 9, 2013

One of my favorite shows

I love the show , shows us a totally different part of the world


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