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Watch an exclusive preview of Life Below Zero: Port Protection, showing the beauty and dangers of Alaskan life

At 72, Gary Muehlberger shows no signs of quitting Port Paradise in Alaska. Pic credit: NGC
At 72, Gary Muehlberger shows no signs of quitting Port Paradise in Alaska. Pic credit: NGC

Life Below Zero: Port Protection arrives tonight on National Geographic Channel.

The show is a spin-off of the Emmy award-winning show Life Below Zero, and follows the brave residents of a rugged and isolated village along the coast of Port Protection, Alaska.

An arctic winter may look like a winter wonderland here, and with killer whales dancing in the bay it seems a magical place — but dangers are behind every corner.

To survive, these tough Alaskans must come loaded for bear, have a rifle at the ready and face their fears to combat fierce weather conditions and be prepared to deal with man-eating carnivores. It’s no joke, they live on the edge and need to fend for themselves daily.

Since it began airing, Life Below Zero has received 11 Emmy nominations, has won four Emmys for its craft in cinematography and picture editing, including one in 2019, and is a National Geographic Channel fan favorite.

People love to follow the tough Alaskans as they battle minus 40-degree temperatures, blinding snowstorms, and apex predator-filled frozen terrain in one of the most isolated regions in North America. The interest in living in this style and manner is on the uptick.

Life Below Zero: The franchise expands

Fans already are familiar with Sue Aikens of Life Below Zero, and it was announced back in January 2020 that following the show’s fourth Emmy last fall, BBC Studios and National Geographic had cemented a three-series deal that expands the franchise in the United States, Canada and Caribbean Basin.

First, the eight-part spin-off series, Life Below Zero: Next Generation, will follow new individuals who chuck their 9-5 traditional lifestyle to move off the grid in the wilds of Alaska.

In addition to Life Below Zero: Next Generation, the three series-deal commitment also included two additional seasons of Life Below Zero and an additional season of Life Below Zero: Port Protection — a rebrand of Port Protection Alaska — which debuts tonight.

The common theme in Life Below Zero and Life Below Zero: Port Protection

Isolation and challenges met, the shows follow the reward of hard work and living off the grid. They reveal a cast of people who have left traditional society behind, and live in areas of varying degrees of danger and challenges in the remote regions of Alaska. They fend for themselves and eat what they kill.

In Life Below Zero: Next Generation, the new cast leave contemporary life behind in favor of a life of freedom off the grid in the Alaskan wilderness. The series will employ drones and Emmy award winning DPs for the epic visuals of the rugged Alaskan landscape from season to season.

Life Below Zero: Port Protection cast

GARY MUEHLBERGER “THE VILLAGE ELDER”

From hippie to well groomed mountain man, Gary tries to give the reality check for those who think living there is idyllic. With 39 years in Port Protection, Gary’s subsistence survival skills are legendary, and with his trusted dog he helps those who seek out his teachings survive.

Gary’s biggest assets are Trapper, his dog, a 100-year-old fishing boat, and his wit…and despite being described as a loner, Gary is well liked.

MARY MILLER THE “CITY GIRL”

Extrovert and a positive cast member with good humor, Mary is a “straight shooter who’s one hell of a shot.” Although she grew up a city girl, Mary’s dad taught her how to handle a gun, as he owned a gun range where she learned to shoot at a very young age.

Mary came to Port Protection to get away from the real world, and stayed when she found the life she always wanted.

CURLY LEACH “THE LUMBERJACK”

Off-the-grid living was made for Curly who prides himself with a non-monetary basted lifestyle. Instead he earns his keep by chopping firewood, which he uses to barter. Not tall but a solid guy, Curly is also known to be a prolific hunter and trapper.

What he can’t barter for, he kills. Curly is a friend to anyone, but prefers to work alone.

SAM CARLSON “THE ENGINEER”

Long timer Sam Carlson has lived his whole life in the forest around Port Protection. Over 50 years he has commercial fished, trapped, built a compound, and raised a family. Super intelligent, he can discuss Quantum physics with any academic. He is self-taught, ingenious and an asset to the whole collective.

STUART ANDREWS “THE CAPTAIN”

Laid back and chill, Stuart is a fisherman who has an entrepreneurial streak. When he is not hiring out his fishing vessel, the Donna Mae, or making resupply runs for the community, he’s looking for ways to earn and better himself.

DAVID SQUIBB “THE MINIMALIST”

He eschews the modern life and the trappings we all live with daily. Squibb has been living in Port Protection for 17 years, and his philosophy is that the modern world values financial wealth, mundane jobs, and that we get lost in the consumption of products that have small lifespans.

This epiphany lead him to the wilderness and he feels the people in Port Protection live like “kings on pennies,” and he loves every minute of his self-proclaimed “minimalist lifestyle.”

MATT CARLSON “THE PRODIGAL SON”

First gen Port Protection, Matt grew up with his father Sam there and was one of the first graduating classes from the old school across from Gary’s house.

Matt traveled south, but quickly returned to Port Protection with his growing family, partner Kaylee and two-year-old daughter Shipley. He wants his family to experience what he did. Matt fishes, hunts, and works within the community.

Life Below Zero: Port Protection — Watch our exclusive clip!

Life Below Zero: Port Protection airs Tuesday, beginning tonight, February 18, at 9/8c on National Geographic Channel.

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what happened to hans and timbie and amanda