No matter how they spin it, reality TV production companies can’t pretend life in Alaska is easy. Yet there are two very different shows about living in the Alaskan wilderness, and viewers of both can’t help but compare them.
Viewers noticed that there are two “totally different family extremes” between Alaskan Bush People and Alaska: The Last Frontier. Both shows are produced by the Discovery Channel, and yet, as fans pointed out, they couldn’t be more different. Although viewers buzzed about how the shows are different, they admit that they’re always ready with a bowl of popcorn whenever either show is ready to air (or stream). But what is the difference, really, between Alaskan Bush People and Alaska: The Last Frontier?
How Alaskan Bush People And Alaska: The Last Frontier Are Similar
Obviously, viewers of both shows realize that they are set in the same US state of Alaska (for the most part, anyway). Life is tough in the Alaskan wilderness, and each show follows a different family that’s living a grueling life.
As all reality TV shows do, both series involve quite a bit of seemingly manufactured drama, though the nature of said drama is different in each series. And the differences don’t end there; viewers discussing the show on Reddit couldn’t figure out why the two shows involve such different dynamics.
Alaska: The Last Frontier Feels More Authentic, Say Viewers
It would make sense if the Discovery Channel produces both Alaska shows because it wants to pocket the cash that each series earns.
After all, people seem to love both shows; Alaska: The Last Frontier has had 11 seasons as of 2022, while Alaskan Bush People has had 14. And maybe purposely making the shows different is one way they’re able to capitalize on viewers’ love of bush life.
As Redditors suggest, ATLF “feels like” the family cares for their land, has regular duties, and overall “have things under control.” While on ABP, “there is some countdown to do something or else.”
Other fans agreed with that summary but dove a bit deeper with their interpretations.
One viewer pointed out that ATLF features both “generational wealth and a generational skill set,” plus they have a connection to more mainstream fame; singer Jewel is the daughter of Atz Senior, the patriarch of Alaska: The Last Frontier.
In contrast, viewers tend to agree, ABP “never dress for the weather, never prepared with food, never do anything with safety in mind.” In short, they note, common sense seems to be the difference between the two shows.
However, the key word there is seems.
Viewers Speculate That Both Shows Are Extremely Scripted
Redditors do admit that the great divide between the two shows might just be the way they’re scripted. They suggest that Discovery wants ABP to look a little rough around the edges, on purpose.
In contrast, most of the time, ATLF showcases the Kilcher family as being pretty smart and resourceful.
Yet fans do point out that sometimes, the Kilchers look fairly silly on screen too, which they interpret as Discovery’s producers injecting some awkwardness or creative editing.
Still, Redditors agreed that Alaskan Bush People is more mindless entertainment, while Alaska: The Last Frontier is a bit more serious and somehow classier. The fact that the Kilchers seem to accomplish so much while homesteading on their land suggests a stability that the wild and crazy Brown crew never seems to exhibit.
Yet there’s some family drama in the background of both shows. Singer Jewel has publicly discussed her dad’s former alcoholism and abuse toward her as a teen.
The two have mended their relationship these days (Jewel even performed the show’s theme song with her family), but it’s evident that things haven’t always been peachy for the Kilchers.
For the Browns on Alaskan Bush People, almost half the family has been to jail, and the show also earns views because of the family’s quirky behavior (like Gabe’s recent black eyeliner makeover).
The Brown family also isn’t originally from Alaska, with its matriarch and patriarch moving there when their kids were young and carving out a place for themselves.
But maybe it’s those tidbits of drama that get viewers tuning in to watch both shows. Even if nothing interesting happens on an episode, fans have plenty to talk about on Reddit and theorize over while they wait for the next season to drop.