Reality Check: ‘Troopers' wins an unlikely fan, ‘American River Renegades' premieres

Emily Fehrenbacher

Some weird real-life news this week: 49-year-old Brian John Fahey, who has multiple felony warrants, turned himself in to state troopers after watching "Alaska State Troopers." The National Geographic program made the man realize troopers are people too, just like the rest of us, so he decided to trust the police.

Last Friday night he approached two troopers in the parking lot of their Anchorage headquarters and turned himself in. Part of me can't help but wonder if he was just trying to get on TV. Regardless, his bail is set at $20,000. I hope he doesn't watch "Orange is the New Black" and decide to ... No spoilers in this column. Don't worry.

This week it was announced "Alaska State Troopers" is being canceled. To quote the troopers, "It was just time to focus on the job of providing public safety without any added outside distractions." With the show airing, their work did itself for them, and now they are quitting... Makes no sense.

In a world a little farther removed from reality, "American River Renegades" had its official premiere, after the fake one back in May. We're two episodes in and still only have about 10 minutes of Alaska on the show.

"Renegades" is on Animal Planet (the most random of all cable channels) and it's about four men living on rivers in Louisiana, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Alaska. It features a deep-voiced Southern narrator, so you feel like you should be sitting on a porch sipping a mint julep (well, more like chugging moonshine) while you watch the show.

Quick aside: reality TV narrators are amazing at coming up with ridiculous lines. I think the formula is idiom + reality/pun=great line. Here are some samples from episode two of "Renegades": "The new hog trap paid off and they are bringing home the bacon"; "Shooting fish in a barrel has turned into shooting fish in a muddy debris-filled swimming pool"; "There's only two options: find the fish or find a new job."

My guess is that every single episode of this show will basically be the same. There will be frog catching and getting stuck in the swamp in Louisiana. In Wisconsin, the weather will threaten commercial fishing and threaten to close down the fish and cheese shop. A family in South Carolina will kill a minimum of one hog to fill their freezer, and the children will step up and learn a valuable life lesson from their quirky but capable father. And the race against winter will influence everything that happens on the Koyukuk River in Alaska.

PJ Simon and his friend Doug spend this episode cutting down trees for firewood, building a raft and then floating the wood back to Allakaket. Nothing crazy happened, just a hard day's work.

Let's end this thing with some gossip. My future favorite TV show, "A Good Man is Hard to Find," has apparently been sniffing around Talkeetna for some single, hardworking men to feature. This is the program that will introduce single ladies from the city to rugged wilderness men with the hopes that they find true love and adapt to a new lifestyle. Translation: the city ladies will wear heels while going on hikes and get squeamish around fish guts, but at the end of the day they'll drink some bubbly wine and be in temporary drama-filled TV love. The show is being cast by Metal Flowers Media, which produced "American Idol," "America's Got Talent" and "Farmer Wants a Wife," so how could this show not be amazing?

• Emily Fehrenbacher lives in Anchorage, where she reviews Alaska reality TV.


Emily Fehrenbacher
Reality Check