Emily Riedel of ‘Bering Sea Gold’ is one of the best Alaska reality stars working. Here’s why. – by Emily Fehrenbacher (Alaska Dispatch News – April 19, 2016)

 

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If there’s anything I’ve learned from watching thousands of hours of lowbrow TV, it’s what makes something continuously watchable. Though by way of context, I’m a 30-year-old who’s pretty basic. I still watch “The Real World” even though every person on it is the worst. I almost cried when “The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” ended, because it made my Tuesdays. And I think 30-minute sitcoms (“You’re the Worst,” “Master of None,” “Veep,” “Catastrophe,” “Togetherness,” etc.) are the best thing happening in the television world. Sorry, “Game of Thrones.”

There is a Discovery Channel program that I believe deserves more mainstream love than it’s getting: “Bering Sea Gold.” For whatever reason, I missed the boat (pun!) on “Deadliest Catch,” which, based on its staying power, is a legitimately good show. Even in its early seasons, when I caught several episodes, it never was able to reel me in (pun again!).

“Bering Sea Gold” is a silly show narrated by Mike Rowe (just like “Deadliest Catch”) about underwater gold miners looking to strike it rich off the coast of Nome. They build ridiculous-looking floating dredges and seem to always be on the verge of sinking, literally and figuratively. But what keeps “Bering Sea Gold” watchable is the rotating cast anchored by a few staples.

First, the star of the show is clearly Emily Riedel, who is so obviously not a gold miner. She’s a trained opera singer who every season strips down and jumps in the freezing Bering Sea in her underwear/swimsuit for no apparent reason other than the cameras. She’s talks in sassy sound bites and is willing to hype up the drama with the rest of the cast. And while some might see this as undesirable, I see it as awesome.

There’s a lot that could be said about the fact that she’s a woman in the male-dominated world of gold mining, but I think it’s actually more interesting that she’s a female lead on a Discovery Channel show who isn’t someone’s wife. (For context, Discovery Channel is cable’s No. 1 non-sports network for men — specifically, men ages 25-54.)

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