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Reality Check: 'Edge of Alaska' gets into the Mother Lode mine

  • Author: Emily Fehrenbacher
    | Reality Check
  • Updated: July 1, 2016
  • Published September 30, 2015

You know how sometimes you are the last person to hear about something, when logically you should be the first person to hear about it?

For example, a seventh-grade girl is the last person to hear that her best friend and her crush are dating. Or pretend you are the only idiot courageous enough to write a weekly column on an oddly specific topic, like current Alaska reality television programs. And for some reason, when there is a new Alaska reality TV show, no one tells you about it.

Well, apparently there is a show on National Geographic Channel called "Port Protection" that started airing in July and I found out about it 36 minutes before my deadline, thanks to the Google.

Furthermore, this is not a show about protecting ports, but Port Protection is an actual city in Alaska. I've learned so much in 36 minutes.

According to Nat Geo, "Port Protection is home to the few who have left behind normal society and chosen a different life in a remote Alaskan community, where survival of the individuals and community cannot sustain without the other. The stakes are high. The land is rugged and unforgiving and the seas which surround Port Protection are cold and merciless."

This basically sounds like "Edge of Alaska" -- Southeast style, but without a villain or character-driven plot.

You can watch this new show on Sundays at 9 p.m. Alaska time on Nat Geo.

Speaking of "Edge of Alaska," the second-to-last episode aired on Friday and was titled "The End of the Frontier." Once again, I feel like the producers/editors are being drama queens.

It was a pretty typical episode with some stuff about how bears ruin everything, but mostly a guy's greenhouse. Then some of the cast goes bear hunting. And there is a whole lotta theater about a concrete truck and bulldozer being in town.

The only interesting part was when my homeboy Mark and TV-villain Neil were wandering around the old Mother Lode mine looking for an elevator shaft, in order to unlock the riches that turning the mine into a new tourist attraction would bring.

The mine looked sketchy as hell, to the point where their safety guy decided to take off. (I imagine that the TV crews have their own safety people as backup, so they probably weren't in too much danger.)

Next week on the season finale, hopefully we'll find out what Neil's big secret is and why he would dare to bring a concrete truck into town. That's Friday at 9 p.m.

Finally, I tried to watch "Football Town: Barrow, Alaska" again but my TIVO messed up and recorded something else instead. So I ended up watching "Bering Sea Gold."

I found myself fast-forwarding through everything except the Zeke and Emily scenes. Ugh. As you may remember, these two are former friends/ lovers and current hipster-enemies-underwater-gold-miners who have been forced to work together, because the Department of Natural Resources didn't give Emily a permit.

They are just such a hot mess -- it's kind of like watching bad community theater written by that seventh-grade girl who didn't know her best friend was dating her crush.

Emily Fehrenbacher lives in Anchorage, where she reviews Alaska reality TV. You can reach her at or on Twitter @ETFBacher.

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