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'Alaska State Troopers' can be salvaged

Scott Woodham

concerned_page_hed1TO:Joe Masters, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Public Safety
CC: Chuck Norris
BCC: Screen Actors Guild
SUBJECT: Salvaging "Alaska State Troopers"

Dear Commissioner Masters,

As we're sure you know, critics didn't embrace National Geographic's "Alaska State Troopers." They said it was boring and poorly produced, and that no amount of creative camerawork or suspense in the soundtrack could interest viewers in such weak material. One reviewer even said it was the first thing he'd ever seen about Alaska that didn't make him want to visit.

By all accounts, troopers came off looking like blue, up-armored versions of Dudley Do-Right. We're concerned that we agree. Troopers took a film crew to Arctic Man and all they could find was one fistfight and a slightly unruly drunk who spit blood? Really? We always thought you couldn't swing a dead cat at Arctic Man without hitting someone else swinging a dead cat.

But proper blame doesn't fall to your department. Law officers without backup need to be expert at creating boring situations. Plus, Alaska's so big that troopers can't always be right there when great TV happens. The fault lies with the supporting cast. That bunch of amateurs at Arctic Man totally ruined the segment, not to mention that event's reputation. From the look of things, at next year's festival they might as well replace the beer tent with a hot cocoa tent.

We're also concerned about what this tanking TV show means for law enforcement in Alaska. We've read recently that your department and Gov. Parnell are looking to improve the department's effectiveness, especially in rural areas. That's gonna take money and good recruits. We think breaking into the film industry is the right answer. But as we understand it, the state isn't even getting paid to have troopers appear on TV. Of course, National Geographic can hardly be expected to pay money for such blasé footage. And, given the grim reviews, it has very little recruiting value. If troopers are going to sacrifice their reputation as the most unique law enforcement agency in the U.S., your department should at least get something out of it.

But there's hope. That show "Deadliest Catch" remains hugely popular despite the fact that Bering Sea crab fishing is way less exciting than it ever has been. Today's audiences would love seeing a skipper actually empty a shotgun at another boat, but because the production crew features such accomplished professionals, the audience doesn't mind just hearing stories about it. Had that show been filmed in the '70s or '80s, entertaining Americans wouldn't be much of a challenge.

We think "Alaska State Troopers" needs professional help, and fast. An easy first step would be to hire actors to pose as interesting perps. Alaska is already trying to stimulate film production in the state, and this could be a great break for hungry, young, local actors. And it wouldn't hurt to hire a fight choreographer, either. Chuck Norris would be expensive, but hey, in this business, you've got to spend money to make money. The Concerned is positive he could whip a sloppy, drunken arrest-resister into shape. If none of that sounds good, you could always rehire this guy, a former trooper and current mixed-martial-arts circuit rookie. Why'd you let him go anyway? He seems like just the kind of trooper you'd need to attract key demographic groups.

You could also heavily recruit extreme athletes to the force. TV audiences would love to see the department's ATV's and snowmachines used in a more entertaining manner. It would be completely badass to watch troopers highmarking, or going full blast through a salmon stream. Imagine the rating-share a high-speed, four-wheeler chase would capture! Just hang some fliers around the Knik River Rec Area.

Cheers,
The Concerned