Alaska Off-Road Warriors (2014 TV series) review…

Because ‘Staged Reality TV’ Never Gets Old for the Dumb at Heart… After the Break…

Alaska Off-Road Warriors (2014 TV series) review…

I don’t know why I bother reviewing “reality TV.” As with so many other genres nowadays, it has a “Devil May Care” attitude towards quality that makes such ventures virtually critique-proof. Just as Disney now panders shamelessly for those precious parental dollars from spoiled brats of young girls, Reality TV watched the movie “Idiocracy” and thought that the mock television show, “Ow! My Balls!” was too highbrow and wanted to show our potential futuristic morons just how lowbrow us present-day lugnuts could be.

“Alaska Off-Road Warriors” is a 2014 reality TV series on the History Channel (remember back when they used to only have shows about… You know… History?) about ten people (in five teams of two apiece) driving through the state of Alaska in modified sport-utility vehicles (“off-roaders”). I’m not ignorant towards the concept of off-roading, which involves modified vehicles that are designed for rugged off-road use. The “contest” part of this series involves a grand prize of $100,000 dollars to the team that gets to the final destination the fastest. This victory is determined by the cumulative time from a variety of shorter stages, with a rest period between each stage. Therefore, a team could botch one stage but, through being mostly competent in all of the other stages, could still win the whole contest.

You would think that if there was a reality television series on the History channel, that there might be some historical content in it. For instance, one stage might wind up at the entrance to the state’s first copper mine or they pass by the site of an airplane crash or they must drive across a significant airport or… Or something.

Or maybe each team is driving a vehicle from a different decade or a different type of off-roader or that one member of each team has a personal connection to Alaskan history (such as one of them is a direct descendant of an Alaskan governor or an explorer or a native)…

Nope.

“Alaska Off-Road Warriors” is merely your typical off-the-shelf reality TV fare and it’s so blatantly average that I feel as though I am watching some comedic mockumentary without being privy to the overarching punchline.

First, I know that the producers needed a punchy title to get the average viewers’ attention, but “warriors”? Really? How are they “warriors”? That word is not only inaccurate, it’s downright ridiculously over-the-top in the same way that those old Italian post-apocalyptic sci-fi films of the 1970s and 1980s would have some movie poster featuring an army of mutants but, in the movie’s climactic scene, you might see all of three such mutants on the same screen at the same time. How about “Alaska Off-Road Adventure”? “Alaska Off-Road Contest”? “Alaska Off-Road Challenge”? You know… Something that might be a bit more accurate and representative of what the series actually is.

The cast is typically diverse in terms of personality but not necessarily in race, gender or any other significant demographic. There is the token female and two older male contestants but, for the most part, it’s a typical white male party that’s divided into polarizing personality types. There’s the mullet-wearing good ol’ boy, there’s the military veteran, there’s a slightly upscale couple, there’s the backwoods team with dog mascot… There’s enough of a personality spread that most people will emotionally relate to someone on one of the teams and “root” for that team.

The “contest” represents as a sort of loose affair: There’s no host and the teams appear to regulate themselves. The stages are straight-forward although it would appear that the teams have a bit of leeway in their choice of routes to get to the final destination. It’s not like a road race where the route is strictly marked but I’m sure that there’s some off-camera directives keeping them on some sort of leash. The early stages have all had a few bottlenecks (usually some sort of off-roading challenge) that all of the contestants have had to drive through.

As a person who is not particularly enamored with the art of off-roading, there is some education value in learning the particulars concerning the various vehicles breaking down or having other mechanical mishaps. I found it a little odd that the Alaskan participants don’t look highly upon people who come from the lower contiguous 48 states. The series seems to gloss over this aspect of the personality dynamic and, while I was aware that there was an independence movement in Alaska, I didn’t realize that it ran so deep within the Alaskan off-roading community. For a state that is so dependent upon others for a lot of their goods and services, some of the contestants have a bit of gall to look down upon the hand that provides them… Oh, I don’t know… Everything other then oil and snow.

After two episodes, I can’t honestly write that I’m enamored to watch any further episodes. There’s nothing significantly educational about the series from a historical or off-roading perspective; From a competition standpoint, the “game” is fairly simple and straightforward without a lot of strategy (It’s not as though teams can avoid some bottlenecks but must then go through others) with, perhaps, the exception of the individual “bottleneck” challenges; From a personality standpoint, there isn’t anything here that you haven’t seen before in a bajillion other reality TV shows (the blow-hard guy, the clean-cut guy, the military guy, the millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor and Mary Ann…).

In the end, “Alaskan Off-Road Warriors” might be of interest to people in the off-roading community merely because it’s their hobby but there’s nothing significant about the series beyond that. You’d expect a little more from a channel called “The History Channel” (Where History Comes Alive!) but, in this day and age where the predecessors of “Ow! My Balls!” wins eyeballs, can you honestly expect anything less?

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4 Responses to “Alaska Off-Road Warriors (2014 TV series) review…”

  1. Ryft Says:

    It may be called the history channel but television shows in general are designed to both educate and entertain. On that note I have only to wonder where it is you find yourself to be qualified and or justified to critique every aspect of this show or any other. If you do not enjoy entertainment, don’t watch it and throw criticism toward something of which you appear to be entirely ignorant. Just my two bits

    • Lutonaut Says:

      Hi Ryft and thank you for reading my blog.

      We appear to agree to disagree and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I re-read my review and still agree with everything that I’ve written: It’s an average staged competitive reality TV series that has no real historical merit despite being on the “History Channel.” It’s got a misleading title (they aren’t warriors). Having written that, I look forward to reading your assessment of the television series “Alaska Off-Road Warriors” whenever you choose to write it. Until then, I’ve got nothing more to add to this conversation.

      Again, thank you for reading my blog.

  2. justin Says:

    It is making history .i think yr just mad because you can’t do it and yr not capable. Of course u have to go play the racial card and basically are saying the us offroaders r just washed up hics and rednecks. Go f yrself and get a life. How is it staged ? Also to do smething like this you have to be very mechanicaly in lined and know how at all times to keep yr vehicle under control. That cant be staged jackass. As siad above go criticise smethng u know about

    • Lutonaut Says:

      Hi justin and thank you for reading my blog.

      My response to Ryft applies to your comment as well.

      Again, thank you for reading my blog.

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