The last couple of years, Alaska has become a household name. Starting with TV shows like Deadliest Catch to the failed Vice Presidential bid of Governor Sarah Palin, everyone is curious about Alaska. It is no surprise then that more and more shows are popping up on the good old TV, displaying the last frontier and all its dangers. So, when I heard that the Alaska State Troopers were making their contribution to the Alaska mania, I was pretty excited.
Surprisingly, Alaska State Troopers on NGC is a cop show unlike any other cop show and whether that’s good or bad is up to the viewer. Someone from Alaska will most likely come away with a different impression of Alaska than their grandma down in Florida.
At first, I was a bit embarrassed. The first part of the show takes us along with the Troopers as they have to deal with drunks, fights, people spitting blood and such. Being understaffed obviously doesn’t help. I was thinking that “gosh, Alaskans look like a bunch of drunks.”
Later on, a woman turns up on a porch completely wasted and is taken to the hospital, all while calling the Trooper who responded to the call “her friend.” Another lady is pulled over for an equipment violation, who turns out to be on probation for something involving drugs. The canine unit, which happened to pull her over, takes a peek, indicating on a pack of cigarettes. Fortunately for the driver, no drugs are found.
Later on, we witness a dead moose in a lake, illegal trapping and a few other things. Mixed in with all of this are the monologues by the officers, as seen on many other cop shows. There’s also a bit of showing off with the snowmobile if you ask me, although I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s more of a production stunt. The law riding wild on the side of a mountain looks better on TV.
The one thing that comes up several times during the show is staffing. One of the challenges for the AST is staffing. Very often they’re spread out over large areas with very little support that at times can put them in sticky situations, situations that at times can make it very dangerous for them. It’s not like Cops where you call for backup and you have five other cars there within minutes. Alaska Troopers must often act independently and alone and it makes it a very dangerous job. They definitely need more staff.
AST isn’t like Cops or Police Women of Broward County. It isn’t all action every second of the show. On most shows, something exciting happens all the time. That’s what keeps you glued to the TV. In fact, there’s a lot of build-up at times that results in nothing exciting. Take the dead moose on the lake, for example. We see the pilot go check it out but then nothing much more happens. The lady on probation us pulled over but no drugs are found. The most exciting part of the show must have been the snowmobile accident that required a helicopter to pick up the injured person. Taking close to three hours, you can see the agony of the guy on the stretcher and you sympathize…and wonder why in the world would you do such a thing.
Being an Alaskan, I’ll watch all the coming episodes as well. Although AST is a bit slower compared to other shows, it does present a unique picture of the challenges of law enforcement in Alaska. It may not be all guts and glory, it may at times be a matter of staying alive because you’re the only Trooper around. Let’s just hope for the sake of all other viewers that the pace picks up a bit in the next few episodes.