Discovery’s Last Outpost Wins First Prize For Creativity

Todd Anderson (left) and Clint Greathouse put their creative building skills to good use for Alaskans in need in a new Discovery Channel series, Last Outpost, that premieres tonight. Photos by Discovery Channel.
Welding in the shop.
The 1958 Beechcraft starts to take shape.
Alex Packard works on the 1958 Beechcraft airplane.

If you’re an Alaskan or have spent significant time in the Last Frontier, there’s, a good chance that you’ve had to improvise, tweak and get creative to get something built, fixed or replaced.

Enter a new series from our friends at the Discovery Channel. Last Outpost makes its debut tonight (10 p.m. Pacific/Eastern; check your local listings). I had a chance to watch a preview episode and I really enjoyed the ingenuity displayed by the show’s lead fixer-uppers, Todd Anderson and Clint Greathouse.

“Sometimes I come up with some wacky ideas,” says Greathouse, a self-proclaimed “Alaska Cajun.”

Here’s a sneak peek clip:


In the episode that I watched, the guys and their crew had two tricky projects to build: A moving ice fishing hut for a Lake Louise trapper they converted out of a stinky camper shell; and a motorized outdoors-oriented wheelchair  that started out as an old sitting lawn mower for a paralyzed sportsman.

(Both customers also have moving  backstories as well.)

What I liked most about this show so far is how stealthy Greathouse and Anderson had to be to keep their projects at a reasonable budget and still manage to create custom pieces of gear for fellow tough-as-sandpaper, if not down-on-their-luck Alaskans.

There are so many reality TV shows about Alaska that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the genre. But like Homestead Rescue, which we featured a couple times in ASJ, Last Outpost sends a message that this state (or in Homestead Rescue’s case,  life off the grid in general, isn’t for everyone if there isn’t a little of mad scientist in you.

Alaska will chew up and spit out those who can’t adapt to the weather, the isolation, the dangers and the lack of easily attained materials. When you have a difficult restoration project, you better damn well have an open mind and the ability to look at what looks like a piece of junk and channel your inner Thomas Edison or Ben Franklin and go to work.

A tease for a future project centered on converting a small airplane fuselage into an indoor surival shelter (see the photo above). I’m curious what they’re going to do to get that plan to work.