If you’re looking for a show that really gets down to the nuts and bolts of reality TV, then you should cast your eyes to National Geographic’s The Big Fix Alaska. The network’s latest 60-minute entry (which premiered 3rd February 2016) follows Jim Evridge and his team of grease monkeys as they travel around Anchorage on high-risk jobs, repairing everything from blazing boats to runaway tractors. The star of the show and owner of the 13,000 square foot business known as Jim’s Equipment Repair shop since 1994 is Jim Evridge – also known as “Doc Brown” by his crew, because of his unorthodox ways of speaking and repairing faulty equipment. The 40-year-old war veteran is a foul-mouthed, chain-smoking maverick who eats Cheetos for lunch and can fix anything electronic that’s put in front of him. In fact, he smokes so much, someone at the studio had the genius idea of putting a smoke counter at the bottom of the screen, which makes for hilarious television. The rest of the crew round out the show, balancing Jim’s eccentricities with varying personalities of their own. So who exactly are they?
First up is Duane Dennis, the no-nonsense general manager of the 24 hour on-call company. The financial wizard of the team, he was brought in by Jim to help take the company further. He makes sure the customers pay up and handles the moving of the mechanics around Alaska. Loud and overbearing, his desire to manage everything in sight extends to Jim himself – which Jim couldn’t be less interesting, leading to several amusing confrontations in the shop.
Next is Sara Foss. Not only is she the bookkeeper and accountant of the company – being the bearer of both good and bad financial news every episode – but is also Duane Dennis’ fiancé. Her betrothed’s loud demeanour doesn’t make Sara bat an eyelid, as she is a fiercely powerful and independent woman, who has absolutely no trouble making herself heard, and surviving in a field dominated by men.
There’s also Austin Gillette – Jim’s nephew, and the likeable and funny resident field mechanic for the company. He has clocked up an incredible 15,000 hours in the job – which literally makes him a master of his art, as anything over 10,000 hours is the apparent measurement for mastering any skill – and has dealt with everything from deadly animals and deadlier weather.
Todd Anderson is Jim’s good friend and yet another master mechanic working for the company with over 20 years experience in the field. With a big personality and even bigger skills, he is the go to guy Jim calls when he is struggling on a job and needs another set of hands.
Lastly there is Aven Leidigh, who like Todd and Austin used to be a field mechanic, but after several near-death experiences, relegated himself to the shop. He lives in fear of the day the call comes when Jim needs him to go out in a job.
So can we expect Jim “Doc Brown” Evridge and his rag-tag group of mechanics to be back on our screens next year for season 2, or is it a failing show that the network can’t repair? Unfortunately there is no official word from National Geographic yet, so all we can do is speculate based on viewership numbers and rating feedback. Unfortunately for #BigFixAlaska, the show hasn’t fared too well in the former department, with only 472,000 people tuning in, and scoring a 0.10 on all adults aged 18-49. However, in terms of viewer reviews, it has fared much better, scoring a very respectable 7.5 rating on IMDB, and 4 stars out of five on web-streaming service Amazon Instant Video. Will those good reviews be enough to get #BFA running into a second season, or will the low numbers mean that its destined for the scrap-pile? At this stage it is anyone’s guess, and the show is certainly on the chopping block.
There is currently no Blu-ray version of BFA available to buy, but you can get it on DVD via Amazon for $29,95. If you would prefer to watch the show online, you can do so via Amazon Instant Video at $2.99 each episode or $19.99 for all eight, although you will need to have an Amazon account – although let’s face it, 99% of the world’s population has one of those at this stage. You may also be able to catch reruns of the show on National Geographic itself, which is Sky: 526, Virgin: 266, BT: 317, or TalkTalk: 317.
Did you enjoy watching the adventures of Jim and his band of grease monkeys, or did watching a show about repairs bore you to tears? Was there any of the big jobs they took on that you really enjoyed? Have you ever had anything repaired by Jim and his team, or do you know someone who has?
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