I started watching Life Below Zero a few years back, then lost interest for some reason. Not exactly sure why.
But, when I caught Glenn Villeneuve on the Joe Rogan Podcast the other day it peaked my interest again. I’m glad it did. Needless to say, I’ve been binge watching episodes for the last week.
(You can read all of my TV Show reviews here.)
So, let’s dig in. There’s a lot to cover with this series….
My Favorites From the Show
Glenn Villeneuve: I think, by far, Glenn is my all time favorite person on this show. I think because he most closely resembles what I would like to do on the Eden property (well, with some big exceptions). I like that he doesn’t use power tools, no electricity, and he’s miles from the nearest person.
Unfortunately, I lost some interest in his story when I discovered he’s pulling an Alaskan Bush People trick and doesn’t actually live out in the Brooks Range full time. He’s a real estate guy (which, I assume, means he’s loaded), and has another place in Fairbanks.
You know what Anthony Hopkins always says, right? Never feel sorry for a man who owns a plane?
But, despite this (and it appears before he was fired from the show, they were coming clean about his family staying with him up there, etc), I have to say, he’s pretty interesting.
I especially liked the episode of the paraglider. I wish they would have put more of that in other episodes.
But, it appears as if Hollywood is as stupid as ever, and they kicked Glenn to the curb. You can get the background on that from the podcast below.
Sue Aikens: Sue is making some changes. For whatever reason, she’s decided that Kavik is not a sound retirement choice and found herself with a newly acquired cabin down south a bit.
It will be interesting to see if she shifts away from Kavik altogether. There might be things happening behind the scenes that we don’t know about yet.
Which is fine. Kavik is kind of run its course. There’s not much left to the story up there, really.
Chip and Agnes Hailstone: I don’t know about these two (or all their kids). Not sure how much of this is real and how much is staged. I also wonder how the show has affected their pocket books.
I was fascinated to discover the Inupiaq to be matrilineal, though I can’t find anything definitive written on it online. I thought for sure I heard Chip say that in his wife’s culture the women run everything. I could be wrong.
Jessie Holmes: By far my favorite since Glenn was kicked to the curb. I especially liked the build up and final episode of him racing in the Iditarod Race, and coming in 7th when he just wanted to come in at 20 or above.
That same episode he was pulling is four-wheeler out of the ice. Sounds like my extended family.
Andy Bassich: I don’t know what to say about Andy. I did not like him in the past, but since I started watching again (and his girlfriend is no longer in the picture) he’s grown on me. I’m thinking it’s his relationship with his dogs that really did it for me. Not to mention his contraptions. I also can’t get over how much stuff he has. It looks like a village and he’s just one guy! Batteries, solar panels, wind mills, green house, garden, hunting, dog sledding, training, running round in the river, on and on and on.
Ricko DeWilde: This is the newest character to don the show. At first, I did not like him at all and would fast forward through his scenes. But, then he, too, started to grow on me.
Not sure what it was. He does seem very attached to his deceased parents and they keep talking about how he has to do all these things in the winter to take care and provide for his family, but, so far, everywhere he goes, he lives alone. Maybe they’re referring to extended family.
(Update: Saw a new episode since I wrote this. His 13 year old daughter flew in from “the city” so he could teach her how to hunt. So, apparently he’s on split alley with the significant other, or maybe they were never married. Either way, he’s bound to have child support to pay, which means he’s got to have a job somewhere off the show. I’m pretty sure the state will not take ptarmigan as a child support payment.)
What I Don’t Like About the Show
Treatment of Dogs: I do have a question that keeps running through my mind every time I watch this show. Those poor dogs. It’s -40 below and they’re out there exposed. What’s that all about? Is that to condition them for the weather when they’re racing, having to sleep outdoors in those kinds of temperatures?
Dogs really don’t like to be cold. You would think they would do better to build a building. Some sort of kennel. But, maybe not. Maybe their blood runs hot and those little boxes are toasty warm.
But then life on the end of a chain? I just can’t fathom that as being all too humane. Then again, I have no idea what I’m talking about.
Killing of Animals: I do cringe every single time they shoot a moose or caribou or bear. Anything really. It is so uncomfortable for me that I seriously wonder if I’ll be able to even fish at Eden. I’ve already ruled out hunting or trapping and have decided I want to have a predominately plant based diet if at all possible (very skeptical on that – more like hot dog and pizza and chip diet). But, I imagine that’s what’s fundamentally wrong with western society. We’re too soft. Too disconnected from our food. But, hey, soon I’ll have 5G on my smartphone and that’s really all that matters!
Suspicious Scripting: Some of the things they say on the show, especially Chip and his family, make me really suspicious that most everything they do is staged, rehearsed and scripted. Maybe not.
After the Alaskan Bush People fiasco, and then to learn that Glenn has dismantled his camp altogether, just makes me wonder how legit any of it really is.
Politics & Hollywood are Stupid: Why would you get rid of Glenn? Stupid. Just completely and utterly stupid. Give him a camera man and an editor and turn him loose in the woods. Have at it. Whatever he comes back with, I will watch it.
Makes Me Think Eden is Possible
I like watching this show because it gives me a bit of hope for my own project: the Eden Property.
I mean, the coldest it gets here is 25 degrees in the dead of winter. It maybe snows a few inches once every few years.
The big concern for my property is rain and wind and then tree fall (and cougars, but I’ve never actually seen a cougar on the coast before – other than on my trail cam).
I will say, I have no idea how these people actually live up in Alaska. Between the bears trying to eat you and the moose trying to run you over, the gas hovering at $6 / gallon (along with most other store bought food) and temps hanging around -40 below, that is a recipe for misery, as far as I’m concerned.
But, with the right preparation, I guess you can get used to living anywhere.
This show definitely doesn’t inspire me to sell everything and move to Alaska. I hate the cold. Hate the snow. Don’t like mosquitoes. And one predator hunting me is enough, thank you.
Until my next review…..
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Excerpt from Sacred the Circle:
There was a knock at the door.
Campbell got up from the chair and crossed the small distance so he could open it.
A young man stood in the doorway, probably in his early twenties.
Campbell could tell he looked a little disheveled.
He had deep rings around his eyes, as if he hadn’t been sleeping much, and he kept checking the hallway in both directions, as if half expecting someone to be stalking him.
“Hey,” Campbell said.
The kid was stumbling over his own words.
Campbell leaned out into the hallway, checking to make sure there was no one else listening.
This guy wasn’t the only one who was becoming paranoid.
There were two students hanging out at the foyer, near the stairs, but the rest of the floor was clear.
“I’m sorry,” the kid said. “Must be the wrong place. I’m mistaken.”
He started to leave.
“Wait,” Campbell said, putting a hand out. “Hold on a second.”
The kid paused.
“What’s your name?”
He fidgeted with his collar.
“I know it sounds crazy, but – ”
“You’re not crazy, Lloyd,” Campbell said, grinning.
“Did you – ? ”
The kid paused, as if unsure if he should continue.
He looked back toward the stairs, then at Campbell.
“Did you know I was coming?” he finally asked. “I mean, that’s not possible, but, were you expecting me?”
Campbell chuckled to himself.
“What’s so funny?” Lloyd asked.
“Well – ”
Campbell pushed the door open all the way so Lloyd could see inside his dorm room.
The entire room was full of them, students, non-students, ranging from what looked like eighteen to even a few middle-aged men, scattered about the room, sitting wherever they could find a comfortable spot.
Lloyd’s mouth dropped open.
“I wasn’t really expecting them, either,” Campbell said. “So, I hope you don’t hold it against me when I tell you, I had no idea you’d be showing up here. Do you care to join us, anyway?”
Buy my book Sacred the Circle to find out what these men are hearing from the supernatural realm. Will they answer the questions tugging at them? What are the visions saying? Who are the Multitude? Why are all these men being brought together? By whom? And why, above all else, are they being convicted….to pray?
But, trust me when I say, you’ll be white knuckling this one with the turn of every single page!