Yukon Men fulfills the human fascination of "roughing it" as a permanent lifestyle. Who hasn't, once or twice, thought about how cool and adventurous it'd be to go completely off the grid and ditch the "traditional" way of life: going to school, going to more school, getting a job, struggling to pay bills, and going to baby showers we couldn't care less about,
Stan Zuray is one of those adventurous badasses who decide to actually do it, but what happened to the popular show he was on?
While Yukon Men follows the lives of various Jeremiah Johnson types, Stan quickly became a fan favorite for multiple reasons. The first: his backstory. The man grew up in a pretty rough area of Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts where money was very tight. From a young age, he had learned to not only save but make a decent amount of money. But that didn't mean he liked dough. To Stan, it was something to loathe as it took him away from his father.
Because his dad had to constantly work multiple shifts to make ends meet, that didn't leave much time for him to spend with his kids. Stan vowed to never live that kind of life, so when he finally decided he had enough of the rat race, he moved to Alaska, and never looked back.
From a rough and tumble city life, to the great outdoors, Stan made quite the transition and even met his second wife, Kathleen, out in the "wilderness."
The couple have two children, Kate and Joey, who are also featured on the show.
The second reason Stan is such a delight to viewers is his authenticity, and he never seemed party to one of the biggest reasons why many fans stopped tuning in: fake drama.
TV shows, even reality ones, undergo heavy production and constant edits. Season after season, it's not abnormal for showrunners to get into the habit of "livening it up."
Unfortunately, in many cases, attempts to gussy up reality TV shows, for the most part, often end up erasing what made the show so entertaining to view in the first place, and cancellations come swiftly after. Yukon Men, according to some, did just that.
It didn't help either that "dramatic reenactments" of the show's key moments were conducted. It's not like all of the hunting and fishing the Yukon Men did weren't real.
However, that doesn't mean that the ones we're seeing on TV are the genuine article. Oftentimes, the cast members of the series would be asked to re-enact what happened previously. Then those sequences were edited together to give the semblance that it all occurred in real time.
There's varying acceptance of this practice in some shows. Like in Ghost Hunters, when we film, we'll go back to a location and explain what occurred, but we never act like we're doing it "in the moment."
While Yukon Men's ratings weren't enough to get execs to keep writing checks after seven seasons (which is a pretty darn good amount), Stan fans will still get to see their favorite outdoorsman in front of a camera. The Stan Project is a documentary that delves deeper into the life of Stan Zuray and why he ventured out into the wild in the first place.
Filming for the project is already underway after a successful GoFundMe campaign helped not only raise but surpass the resources needed for the film. Its expected release of April 2020 has been set and so far, teasers have shown footage of Stan travel to a fish camp, ride in a small airplane to Tanana, and blast down the Yukon River in a speedboat.
It's refreshing to see Stan engage in other activities outside of the show like hunting and fishing, and get more mobile to explore and interact with even more of the surrounding wilderness he resides in. You can check out previews of the documentary below.
Pretty cool, right?