Outdoor TV & Films Worth Watching
When you want to be outside and you’re stuck inside sometimes the best cure is to watch something about the outdoors. Here are some of my picks to help get through the ever-lengthening stay-at-home orders:
- Jeremiah Johnson This used to be standard background viewing while I cleaned guns or rigged fishing equipment. It chronicles the life of a mountain man in the 1840s. Based partly on the biography of a real mountain man named John Jeremiah Johnson, it was filmed in Utah and was released in 1972. One of the best parts is the dialogue.
- Lonesome Dove I call this a movie but it’s actually a miniseries. It aired in February of 1989 and is an epic-style western based on the novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry. The book is worth reading although this is a rare case of the movie being just as good as the book.
- Meat Eater This TV series features outdoor writer Steve Rinella and his various hunting exploits. I was introduced to Rinella’s work via his book American Buffalo. What I like about this series is that he isn’t a redneck, nor corporate sponsor hack. Dialogue and monologue revolve around thoughtful introspection rather than empty banter and shameless product pitches. Perhaps most important is that things don’t always work out for Rinella and his companions which makes us regular folks feel better about our failures.
- Chasing Monsters Another series, this one about fishing, is hosted by Cyril Chauquet. As the title implies he pursues large specimens of any given species. Traveling all over the world, Chauquet catches some pretty interesting critters. From the St. Lawrence River to West Africa to the Amazon, this series highlights the variety of game and food fish throughout the world and the cultures that have developed around them.
- North Woods Law I will admit upfront that I have not seen this reality TV series but I have heard from reliable sources that it is a quality program. The first several seasons are set in Maine and follow the daily trials and challenges of that state’s game wardens. Later seasons take place in New Hampshire. I’ve spent a fair amount of time hunting and fishing in Maine and once spent a few days at The Fly Fishing Show exposition in Marlborough, MA getting to know one of the Maine game wardens. They are the apotheosis of what a game warden should aspire to be and it’s high time that they, and all game wardens, are finally getting some recognition.