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Although the state's mention in the title was dropped after the first season, Alaska still plays a major role in Discovery Channel's top-rated show. It follows gold miners, inexperienced as some may be, hoping to strike it rich in the wilds of The Last Frontier and beyond. For their first effort, a crew led by Todd Hoffman and his father, Jack, sunk $250,000 into their dream and came away with just $20,000 worth of gold. The dismal summer was filled with injuries, malfunctioning equipment and constant fighting among the greenhorn miners, yet their serious case of gold fever trumps any talk of giving up and leads to new operating plans in order to salvage their dream. The series also keeps tabs on the efforts of brash youngster Parker Schnabel, veteran Dakota Fred and longtime Yukon resident Tony Beets to hit the mother lode at separate sites.
The breathtaking beauty of Alaska sometimes hides the fact its winters can be incredibly harsh, especially for those who live in the state's outlying areas. "Alaska: The Last Frontier" perfectly illustrates this reality, as the series profiles life for the Kilcher family in the isolated community of Homer. For four generations the Kilchers have lived off what their 600-acre homestead has provided, but cultivating that living is never easy. Led by patriarch Atz Kilcher and his brother Otto, the family spends the short summer and fall gardening, hunting and fishing for food, gathering supplies from the land and preparing their animals for the winter. Viewers, who may or may not have a fancy phone by their side while watching on their big-screen high-def TV, also see the Kilchers living off the grid, where running water and electricity aren't daily staples, nor is contact with the outside world. Atz, by the way, is the father of music superstar Jewel.
Intrigued by legendary mysteries and driven by curiosity, Josh Gates is on a mission for answers. "Exhibition Unknown" chronicles his global adventures as he investigates iconic unsolved events, lost cities, buried treasures and other puzzling stories. Armed with a degree in archaeology, a quick wit and a thirst for action, Gates investigates recent developments before embarking on a detailed exploration. Whether he's trekking through Fiji in search of Amelia Earhart's remains or diving the deep seas of Panama to locate Captain Morgan's pirate ship, Gates' roughshod expeditions lead him one step closer to the truth.
Street racing in the U.S. is the subject of this docu-reality series, which purportedly provides an inside look into the action both on the road and behind the scenes. In Oklahoma City, for example, racers boast having the fastest street cars in the country, and the racing, they say, comes first -- before family, before friends and before work. From a 1969 Chevy Nova to a race-ready farm truck, the vehicles -- and their drivers -- come in all shapes and sizes and have one thing in common: the need for speed.
Discovery Channel takes the ubiquitous survival show theme to the next level by stripping it to its bare essentials. In "Naked and Afraid," complete strangers -- usually a man and a woman -- meet in a very unique way: They're stranded in a dangerous, desolate location, without food or water, and they're completely naked. Each episode follows the adventurers as they attempt to survive on their own with nothing but a personal item and the knowledge that the only prize is their pride and sense of accomplishment. Because there is no other choice, competitors quickly get to know one another -- and their surroundings -- and hope that their instincts, survival skills and intestinal fortitude serve them well.
The gold rush in Alaska isn't confined to the state's precious ground. It's taking place on the sea ... or more accurately, on the bottom of the frigid Bering Sea. This series, from the creators of the Emmy-winning "Deadliest Catch," follows four gold dredges and their eccentric and driven crews who risk their lives to find as much gold as possible before winter sets in and it's too dangerous to dive. The custom-built rigs, some barely seaworthy, include an 80-foot barge run by the most successful gold dredger in Nome, Alaska, and a modified skiff that seats only two people.
This spinoff of "Street Outlaws" is set on the mean streets of Memphis, Tenn., where fast-talking, bet-taking JJ Da Boss and his family and friends have ruled the underground racing scene for decades. Pride and honor define Team Memphis, despite JJ being well-versed in the art of hustle. They are "trying to beat ya, not cheat ya" and all challengers are welcome to take on a family that rarely fails.
Adventurous builders battle the elements to build unique homes in remote areas.
Back to the beautiful state of Alaska for another reality-documentary series, this one set in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a protected area home to thousands of native animals... and a handful of people. In 1980, the U.S. government banned human occupation in the refuge, and only residents in seven permitted cabins are allowed to remain. The series depicts the daily rituals of four families living in isolation and contending with bitter weather, frustrating setbacks, and aggressive wildlife in an unspoiled and unforgiving wilderness. The nonconformists include Heimo Korth, the "godfather of the final frontier," and wife Edna; Bob Harte, who has spent 40 years living by his own rules; and young couple Bob and Ashley Selden, who admit that they've survived by trial and error, learning day by day the harsh reality of frontier living.
Rick Murphy covers the state of Florida in search of the prize saltwater fish.
Deep in the backcountry of Idaho lies a protected wilderness area known as the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. It encompasses a total of 2,366,757 acres, and it is the largest contiguous wilderness in the lower 48 states. The stunning region is characterized by rugged mountains, deep canyons and roaring rivers. The only direct way to access this area is a flight through steep canyons on a bush plane or a jet-boat journey through Class 5 whitewater rapids on the Salmon River. The wilderness area is home to a small community of homesteaders who are dependent on the pilots, boat captains and each other to survive. Discovery Channel's "River of No Return" introduces viewers to these homesteaders who rely on themselves, their neighbors and their survival skills to live life on their own terms in one of America's last frontiers.
So exactly how hard is it to find a needle in a haystack, anyway? And can water dripping on your forehead really drive you nuts? Those are the kinds of questions, myths and urban legends that are put to the test in this humorous series that seeks to find out which myths are true and which are not.
Hosts Justin Leake and Travis Holeman highlight the coastal lifestyle and diverse fishing opportunities in Panama City Beach. Fla.
Idyllic in nature, the concept of living a scaled-down, simpler, off-the-grid life has gained popularity in recent years, but the initial results for many budding homesteaders have been disappointing. The learning curve is steep, especially in the most dangerous and isolated locations across the country. Many families are not equipped with the skills, experience or knowledge of how to grow food, find water, harness power or deal with the threat of predators. In "Homestead Rescue," craftsman and survival expert Marty Raney -- joined by daughter Misty, a farmer, and son Matt, a hunter and fisherman -- attempt to teach these families the essential skills on how to survive -- and thrive -- in the wilderness. Because sustaining a homestead through hunting, fishing, gardening, building upkeep, security, and problem solving is a full-time job. At the conclusion of each episode, the rookie survivalists decide to either tough out their first year or pack up and return to civilization.
Scott Martin and a challenger go head-to-head in a unique fishing tournament format.
Before complaining about the market price of Alaska king crab, check out this gripping documentary series, revealing the mortal perils and intense discomfort that fishing crews face on the Bering Sea to catch the delicacy. Those perils include 40-foot waves, 700-pound crab pots that can easily crush a careless crewman, and freezing temperatures around the clock.
Drawing on research in psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and history, an investigation into the human capacity for hatred.
Featuring veterans suffering from PTSD and how fishing has helped them cope with their struggles.
During his reign running the world's biggest drug cartel, Pablo Escobar amassed an estimated multimillion dollar fortune... and then he buried much of it all over Colombia. It's believed the majority of the money is still underground, and two former CIA operatives embark on a mission to find it. Doug Laux and Ben Smith, who served multiple tours throughout the Middle East, work with the original DEA agents who handled the case to infiltrate Escobar's inner circle in search of the alleged hidden cash. Using the latest technology and access to numerous inside sources, Doug and Ben scour Columbia for clues Escobar left behind.
Fast and strong homemade robots face off in battles until one is declared the champion.
"Alaskan Bush People" is a reality-documentary series that introduces the Brown family -- Billy, wife Ami and their seven grown children who -- according to Discovery -- are interesting because "they are unlike any other family in America." The channel says they are so far removed from civilization that they often go six to nine months each year without seeing an outsider. They refer to themselves as a "wolf pack" and, perhaps due to isolation, have their own accent and dialect. The Browns live in the Copper River Valley, where temperatures can drop to 60 degrees below zero, and the family recently relocated and built a cabin there because, they say, their former home of many years was seized and burned down for being in the wrong location on public land.