Alaskan Bush People is back after months of discussion and controversy. The Discovery Channel kicked off the popular reality TV series’ fourth official season on May 6. While Alaskan Bush People quickly addressed the reality of the Browns’ criminal conviction worries, there is at least one mystery left to be solved.
Ever since People first gave us our glimpse of Twila Wilson, the so-called “secret” daughter, fans were hoping for a better look at Billy Brown’s eldest child. However, despite heavy hints, it’s clear Alaskan Bush People won’t be touching that storyline until at least a few weeks from now.
While it’s disappointing not to get answers about the Twila situation immediately, I’m beginning to understand why Alaskan Bush People producers might be eager to save this particular story arc until later.
Subjectively speaking, things are getting a bit stale. I understand why that may sound cruel. Much of the narrative driving Alaskan Bush People these days hinges on the Wolf Pack’s never-ending bad luck. But then, what does that say about The Discovery Channel?
Isn’t it kind of exploitative to use one family’s continuous misfortunes to put a fresh spin on an otherwise redundant show?
Thanks to the promotional glimpse of the upcoming season, I understand that the Browns are facing:
- Problems with construction in Browntown.
- Issues surrounding injuries that happen at the worst possible time.
- Trouble on the water as the family’s hauling business runs into snags.
- A quest for the Brown sons to find girlfriends and wives despite women being scarce in Alaska.
Alaskan Bush People was all “construction drama” during its first two seasons. Injuries and illness were repeated concerns during the first three seasons. Even with the stakes raised with the attempt to haul a Suzuki in early Season 4, this Alaskan Bush People storyline will likely be resolved quickly, with nothing new or exciting to add to the show overall.
The fact that the men in the Brown family are single despite their local celebrity status should raise eyebrows. Still, their dating shenanigans promise to be the more entertaining story arc this season, even if it’s not exactly a new topic.
That aside, after four seasons it looks like the repetitive aspects of Alaskan Bush People (no matter how charming ) could ultimately threaten ratings down the road.
These gripes (minor, I promise) were at the back of my mind when I mentally revisited my article asking if Alaskan Bush People “jumped the infamous ratings shark.” In that piece, I questioned why it was deemed necessary for Billy Brown to reunite on-air with his seemingly long-lost eldest daughter, Twila. I compared it to a “Cousin Oliver Syndrome” situation, wondering if the injection of a new kid into the equation was meant to give the series a potential ratings boost.
It felt like introducing Wilson this season (be it for an episode or two or as a permanent cast member) was purely a ratings ploy. If that weren’t bad enough, I almost suspect the Discovery Channel is playing up the Alaskan dividend scandal for television.
Billy and Joshua “Bam Bam” Brown, as reported by the Alaska Dispatch News, went to Juneau in early April to serve out a 30-day sentence. The guilty plea came after the Browns were determined to have collected a portion of Alaskan oil revenue funds despite not being recognized as Alaskans.
It was a charge that Billy said “broke his heart.” Rather than fight through years of legal drama, Billy and Joshua shouldered the weight of the criminal charges. The family now hopes to put the entire ugly situation behind them.
It’s good to hear about this legal drama from the point of view of the Browns. At the same time, it’s a bit worrying that Alaskan Bush People is yet another reality TV show using crime and scandal to bolster ratings.
While the Alaskan Bush People stars may be able to close the book on a horrible criminal scandal, it remains to be seen if there’s anything on the horizon that will justify multiple new seasons. As the show wears on, it’s possible audience members could move on to the next trend in reality TV.
Still, the uniqueness and charm of the Alaskan Bush People might allow the show to stay on the air for at least another season. Look for Season 5 to be the indicator of whether or not Alaskan Bush People has what it takes to hang around much longer.
Do you think Alaskan Bush People is at risk for getting repetitive? What can the series do to maintain viewer interest? Share your thoughts and feedback below!
[Image Courtesy of the Discovery Channel]