Ready To Start
River Deep, Mountain High
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Don’t Stop Believing
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Ain’t No Stopping Us Now
Almost exactly a year ago, Netflix dropped another slice of reality TV on its platform, Big Timber. With mixed critical and audience scores, the family-run logging business is back to try and change public opinion. With much more emphasis on the environment this time around and logging on two fronts, Big Timber is certainly an improvement but it still slips up with all the usual reality TV clichés.
For those who need a quick recap, the show is set on Vancouver Island, as Kevin and Sarah work together with their boys (and hired help) to haul lucrative timber to their mill for different clients. With tough deadlines, perilous steep inclines up The Claim and challenging conditions, Big Timber certainly piles on the drama.
This second season switches things up a little by introducing a new battlefront – log salvaging. Fixing up an old boat, Kevin splits his operation up to tackling The Claim and also to salvage logs out at sea, but it’s tough work and comes with a litany of problems.
Of course, these are sprung out across the usual cliffhangers and big dramatic beats that pop up every 10-15 minutes. This show has very clearly been designed to be dropped on The History Channel or Discovery (where it originally had a broadcast run beforehand) and in terms of framing, editing and structure, this is almost a carbon copy from the first season.
Now, to be fair Big Timber does appear to have learned its lesson from last year. There’s much more emphasis on the environment, with everything from expository shots showing wildlife scampering about (even if it is in a graveyard of fallen logs) and discussion about the importance of reforestation.
It is a bit of an ironic juxtaposition though, especially when we have Kevin bemoaning his 1 million debt for not clearing out The Claim fast enough last year due to the Legacy Trees needing to be protected. And then, in complete irony, Kevin puts himself in even more debt by buying another boat. As you do.
The other annoying pet peeve that return here is the music, which continues with the usual heavy guitar riffs and dramatic spikes in tension during all those big bits of drama. It becomes tiresome after a while and given how quickly these guys actually resolve the issues they put themselves in, it feels contrived and formulaic.
But then, if you enjoyed the first season then you know exactly what you’re getting yourself in for here. Big Timber is typical reality TV fare, combining contrived drama, character squabbles and the usual log-cutting shenanigans together. If you were put off the first time around, it’s unlikely this one will reel you back in.
Verdict - 5/10