The Top 29 off grid tv shows in no particular order are Jericho, Alone In The Wild, Anne with an ‘E’, Tales from the Green Valley, Pioneer Quest, American Nomads BBC, American Nomads BBC, Survivorman, Survivor, Frontier, Quest for the Bay, Off the grid-Life on the Mesa, Mountain Men, Human Planet, Quest for the Sea, Slab City, Alaska: The Last Frontier, Life Below Zero, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, Edwardian Farm, The Colony, The 1940s House, Edge of Alaska, Naked Castaway, Walking the Amazon, Dual Survival, Colonial House, Naked And Afraid, Escape to River Cottage and Coal House.
One of the most important things that these shows have taught me is that you can still live a comfortable life with plenty of electricity even off the grid. My personal recommendation is to get a solar-powered generator with at least 100w power supply, Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
There has been literally an explosion of off-grid tv shows during the past couple of years. This proves that there is a high interest in off-grid living, and this interest will only go up as time passes and out technology becomes more self-reliant than ever. There are a lot of people afraid of making the jump into off-grid living and this is understandable as it is a life-altering experience if you are well prepared you will probably be fine, if not u can find urself bankrupt and in some cases even in jail.
If you will read my article Off grid living legal states, you will find that not all states are suitable for off-grid living. While there are no current laws making off-grid living illegal there are several laws that make it almost impossible. Even if you come across the hurdle of local laws there is still much to learn about off-grid living, luckily you can learn a lot from off-grid tv shows. There are a lot of different types of off-grid tv shows, you can find anything from reality tv shows to fictional post-apocalyptic ones.
Some off-grid TV shows focus on the lives of ordinary people living in a remote location far from civilization in an off-grid cabin. If you are interested in the subject and you would want to find out more, check out my article Off grid cabin essentials.
- Creators: Stephen Chbosky, Josh Schaer, Jonathan E. Steinberg
- Stars: Skeet Ulrich, Lennie James, Ashley Scott
Jericho is a post-apocalyptic tv show which plays out in Kansas in a town called Jericho, the first episode starts with a nuclear blast. After the nuclear blast ordinary people try to survive and find out what had happened, most of them are waiting for government aid as they are thinking that this must be some kind of accident. They later find out that this was not an accident or an isolated incident, it was a full-blown nuclear strike hitting 23 of the biggest US cities.
Most of the electronic devices were destroyed due to the EMP blast generated by the nuclear bomb, this meant no electricity and no ability to communicate with the outside world, basically, they were all alone. After a while, the survivors manage to generate some electricity for most of the town but this also gets disabled by an EMP, they never find out what caused the EMP. The survivors eventually come in contact with a nearby town called New Bern, things go relatively smoothly and they establish trade, as both towns needed different kinds of supplies to survive.
During a heated argument due to supplies, the residents of Bern decide that they would rather take everything from Jericho by force than to trade with them, thus they declare war.
Alone In The Wild
- Ed Wardle
Alone In The Wild is a TV series about surviving for 90 days in the harsh environment of Yukon territory. Ed Wardle has been dropped off by an airplane at Dog Pack Lake, with only rations for a couple of weeks and some basic survival tools. Ed Wardle’s main goal was to fish salmon and not to rely on his ration, this would prove more difficult than he thought. After the drop off he quickly located an area where he would have a high possibility to catch some salmon.
Although the area was located fairly close, less than 10 miles away he spent 4 days in the thick brush making his way over to the location. Unable to catch any salmon he diced to put up some traps which eventually trap a couple of wild game but not nearly enough to sustain him. You will see Ed Wardle crying a lot, from the first day, reality hits him hard and the loneliness for him feels unbearable. He eventually called it quits after 50 days as he had no more rations and he was afraid his condition would deteriorate even further.
Anne with an ‘E’
- Director: Iiris Sydänmaanlakka
- Writers: Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Eklund Nhaga
- Star: Laura Eklund Nhaga
This is the story of a small red-headed girl called Anne which plays out on a small Prince Edward Island. There is a small farm on the island operated by a brother and sister duo, which coming to terms that due to their old age they are having trouble keeping the farm running. The two eventually decide that they would adopt a boy from an orphanage which will help them with the day to day chores of the farm.
When the brother goes out to the train station to pick up the boy he is instead greeted by a girl called Anne. Although not happy about the situation, the brother decides to take Anne back into the farmhouse. After a while, some things go missing from the farm and Anne is blamed for them, so she is sent back to the orphanage. The brother and sister decide to give Anne another chance and they eventually get here back.
Although you might not think of “Anne with an ‘E’” as an off-grid tv show, I can assure you that in fact it is and a very good one, the entire show revolves around the farm which is, for the most part, operated off the grid.
Tales from the Green Valley
- Stars: Peter Ginn, Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands
Tales from the Green Valley is a TV show that depicts life on a small farm in Wales during the 1800s. As it is often the case on these “farm life” TV shows that the cast is mainly formed out of historians and archeologists to recreate as accurately as possible the farm life. If you have seen some of these “farm life” TV shows produced from the BBC you are probably already familiar with the cast and the setting.
- Creator: Jamie Brown
- Stars: Brian Hartigan, Alana Logie, Frank Logie
Pioneer Quest is a historical off grid tv show which focuses on recreating the lives of the early prairie settlers from the 1800s. You will see the real-life struggles of early prairie settles through a couple’s eyes, which have to face day to day challenges for exactly one year. The couple has never lived off the grid and their struggle is real, in the first months they struggle just to feed themselves but eventually they manage to overcome all obstacles.
American Nomads BBC
- Director: Gerry Troyna
- Writer: Richard Grant
- Star: Richard Grant
American Nomads BBC is about the people who live mostly on the road and only occasionally working to get just enough food to feed themselves. In this tv show, you will find that most of these nomads do not have a goal which they want to reach, they are happy as they are traveling the open road without having any mortgages and jobs. Trought the journey the writer comes across multiple groups of nomads and he called them tribes, these tribes are often formed of people choosing to be nomads and ones that have been forced by different life circumstances to take up the life of a nomad.
These people have learned to live off the grid and live off the land if you want to know how to, check out my article How to live off the land with no money.
- Creator: Les Stroud
- Stars: Les Stroud, Todd Standing, Logan Stroud
Survivorman is probably one of the best off-grid and survival tv shows, I have personally learned a lot from Les Stroud. You have probably seen a lot of off-grid and survival tv shows and usually, these start out with a person being dropped off in a remote area. This is also true for Survivorman, what it makes it different is that Les Stroud doesn’t have a filming crew or staff with him, he is all by himself and he also does the filming all by himself.
Although you might find some of the recordings to be amateur footage, Les Stroud in addition to trying and survive in a hostile, unfamiliar environment and he is also trying to record it, so some of the camera angles might be awkward. He is often dropped off in mountains, deserts and tropical rainforest where he will survive with just some basic tools like a knife and a hatchet.
- Creator: Charlie Parsons
- Stars: Jeff Probst, Lillian Morris, Jon Dalton
Unless you have been living under a rock you have probably have at least heard about this show. The premise is simple, take a group of people, put them on a deserted island and let them fend for themselves. The group of people will have to work together to get food, water and to even build some basic shelters. The producers even give them challenges and the ones that complete these challenges successfully they get rewarded, the others not.
The group decides who can remain on the island and who has to leave, eventually only one will remain and he will win the $1 million grand prize.
- Creators: Rob Blackie, Peter Blackie
- Stars: Jason Momoa, Landon Liboiron, Zoe Boyle
This tv show is set in the late 1700s and it focuses on the Canadian fur trade which is dominated by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The protagonist is strangely an outlaw which hates the monopoly created by the Hudson’s Bay Company as the company doesn’t pay enough for his furs to even survive let alone to make new expeditions in the wilderness for new furs. The conflict between Hudson’s Bay Company and the protagonist forces the protagonist to go further into the uncharted wilderness.
This tv show is all about living off the land and farming different kinds of obstacles through the way, one of them being other people. On a side note, this tv show is a Netflix original so you can only watch it on Netflix.
Quest for the Bay
- Creator: Jamie Brown
- Stars: Alana Logie, Frank Logie, Ken Albert Jr.
This tv show has the Hudson’s Bay Company in its epicenter, while the TV show “Frontier” was focused on one person trying to topple a Hudson’s Bay Company’s monopoly, the Quest for the Bay tv show is about the everyday life of trappers and hunters profiting from the fur trade. The TV show is about 8 people, 7 men and one woman sailing downstream from Winnipeg to Hudson’s Bay on a replica of a 1800s York boat.
The crew has only tools and food which have been used in the late 1700s, even their clothes are replicas from that period. The York boat is actually packed with over 4000 pounds of fur just to make the show even more realistic. The journey from Winnipeg to Hudson’s Bay is an 800-mile long journey through which the crew will have to paddle for anything between 10-12 hours every day while also facing the dangerous waters.
Off the grid-Life on the Mesa
- Directors: Jeremy Stulberg, Randy Stulberg
- Writers: Jeremy Stulberg, Randy Stulberg
- Stars: Cowboy, Gecko, Dreadie Jeff
This is an extremely interesting TV show, its main focus is about the Mesa community, which live off the grid in New Mexico. The inhabitants of the Mesa community are junkies, former alcoholics, off gridders, anarchists and conspiracy theorists. You might think all these people living in the same community will eventually lead to conflict, but strangely enough, they live peacefully even without the help of local authorities.
After accepting some runaway teens things start to deteriorate when the newly accepted teens are found out that they are stealing from the others. Luckily the entire community is pulled together by this event and eventually they come to a peaceful resolution, they even let the teens stay.
- Stars: D.B. Sweeney, Tom Oar, Eustace Conway
This off-grid tv show follows a group of mountain men living their day to day lives in the harsh environment of North America. Most of the mountain manhunt, trap and forage, and usually their only source of money is from selling fur and firewood. These mountain men are true off gridders as none of them use any electricity in their homes, their only aid in their day to day struggle is their rifle, truck and their knowledge about the local flora and fauna.
- Stars: John Hurt, Roger Munns
Human Planet is produced by the BBC, its main focus is on how the human race is capable to survive in extreme environments. Trough the series you will come accustomed to different tribes from different geographical locations, like desert tribes, jungle tribes, and even Inuits. Although in most part the TV series is accurately portraying the tribal life of some groups the show has come under some controversy as it has been proven that some shots were faked for dramatic effect.
Since then, BBC has pulled the show and you can only find it on DVD and Blue Ray, I picked up mine for fairly cheap from a bargain bin, although with some creativity you can still manage to find this TV series online.
Quest for the Sea
- Creator: Jamie Brown
- Stars: Anny Murray, Monte Murray, Harold St. Croix
Quest for the Sea has its main focus in recreating what life had been during 1937 in a small fishing village located somewhere in Newfoundland. Two families were selected for this show to live the life of simple fishermen, they do not have any electricity and their only tools are the ones used back in 1937. Their only means of surviving is to fish cod in the local waters, cod is abundant in Newfoundland but the waters surrounding it are extremely dangerous.
The two families include 5 adults and 5 children, and trough the series you will find out how each of them copes with the real struggles of day to day life, living off the sea.
- Directors: Steve Bussell, Thom Maurer
Slab City depicts the life of ordinary people who live in the settlement, this TV show is very similar to Off the grid-Life on the Mesa. In both cases, the towns mostly have no governance and no rule of law, not to mention the lack of electricity and everyday facilities. Slab city is located in California, in the Sonora desert, the entire “city” was built on a decommissioned US army base. Most of the residents live during the summer times and live a more nomadic style of life, as during the summertime temperatures are way too hot for a comfortable living.
Alaska: The Last Frontier
- Stars: Atz Lee Kilcher, Atz Kilcher, Eivin Kilcher
Alaska: The Last Frontier as you might have already guessed is about living off the grid in Alaska. The tv series follows around a small family in their homestead which is completely off the grid. Hunting and fishing are their main source of food, during summer the family hunts as much as possible in order to be prepared for the wintertime. The family almost exclusively prepares for the arctic winter, as once this has arrived food will be limited.
What I like about this TV show that it also depicts farming during the short summer, while this is not the main focus of the show you can still learn a lot from these episodes.
Life Below Zero
- Stars: James Franzo, Agnes Hailstone, Sue Aikens
Life Below Zero is very similar to Alaska: The Last Frontier TV show, its main focus is depicting the life of people living in the remote areas of the Alaskan wilderness. These people are skilled in trapping, hunting, fishing, and even foraging. Most of them have no other source of income outside of selling their furs but they still manage. One important thing what the show will teach you is that you do not have to have fancy equipment, all you need is knowledge as you will often see these people improvising their way out of a bad situation.
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
- Directors: Werner Herzog, Dmitry Vasyukov
- Writers: Werner Herzog, Dmitry Vasyukov
- Stars: Werner Herzog, Nikolay Nikiforovitch Siniaev, Gennady Soloviev
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga is a documentary about the people living in the Siberian Taiga, in a small village called Bakhtia. Most of the inhabitants are hunters and trappers, as they do not have access to any kind of crops due to the harsh environment they rely on trading furs to get the crops they need. Although most of their diet is mainly fat and meat, some would think that these people are unhealthy, although they are one of the healthiest people in the world.
Same as the Inuits the people living in the Taiga use every part of the animal, including eating its organs, this way they get all the vitamins and minerals which they need.
- Stars: Peter Ginn, Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands
Edwardian Farm is produced by the BBC, and it plays out in the United Kingdom. The show recreates the life of ordinary people during Edwardian times living on the farm. What makes this off-grid TV show interesting is that the people who have been chosen to take part in it are all historians. You will be amazed at what these people know and how they use their knowledge, for every problem, there was a solution already during the Edwardian times, so no improvisations here.
- Director: Florian Gallenberger
- Writers: Torsten Wenzel, Florian Gallenberger
- Stars: Emma Watson, Daniel Brühl, Michael Nyqvist
The Colony depicts a post-apocalyptic scenario, 10 people portraying the life of a group after a major SHTF situation. With each episode the produces gave them new tasks which could be anything from finding water, generating electricity to making contact with the outside world. They had even special scenarios where they would send in actors disguised as looters and thieves, although this sounds interesting I personally have found it cringe.
The 1940s House
- Stars: Geoffrey Palmer, Piers Brendon, Guy de la Bédoyère
The 1940s House depicts a normal everyday family reliving the shortages which came with the Blitzkrieg. Due to the war effort and lack of supplies, everything has been rationed and the family has to grow its own food and even livestock. Although this off-grid TV show is not as gritty as some other shows on the list you can still learn a lot from it. One of the most important aspects of the TV shows is the families’ ability to overcome shortages by improvising and inventing new methods to stretch out their supplies.
Edge of Alaska
- Stars: John Beach, Neil Darish, Gary Green
Edge of Alaska is a TV show about the remote town called McCarthy located in the remote wilderness of Alaska. The 42 residents of the small town are more than 100 miles away from any city and there is not even a law enforcement agency located in McCarthy. Most of the residents live off the land and completely off the grid, some enjoy this lifestyle away from all the noise from modern cities, while others try to modernize the small town.
- Star: Ed Stafford
Naked Castaway is a TV show starring Ed Stafford which is a famous survivalist, the premise of the show is that he is dropped off into a remote island somewhere in Fiji without any clothes, tools, food, and water. All he has are his survivalist skills, this TV show is among the few original ones where the star of the show is actually alone without a film crew following him around. All the footage has been recorded by Ed Stafford and it all starts with him trying to find water on the island.
Walking the Amazon
- Stars: Luke Collyer, Gadiel ‘Cho’ Sanchez Rivera, Ed Stafford
This TV show focusses on the travels of Ed Stafford, who with another person has managed to walk the entire length of the Amazon. If you are not familiar with the Amazon river you might not be impressed, but it took the two men 860 days to achieve it and they even got in the Guinness World Record book, making this the longest treck through the jungle.
- Stars: Cody Lundin, Joe Teti, Grady Powell
Dual Survival is a TV show about two survivors with different backgrounds, although if you start watching and become familiar with Cody Lundin and Dave Canterbury which make for an excellent duo you might find it somewhat strange as both of them got replaced during the production of later seasons. What this TV show has taught me as there is no one definitive way of doing things, as most problems can and will have a lot of different solutions.
- Stars: Jonathon Allen, Julia Friese, Carolyn Heinz
Colonial House depicts the life of people living in the early days of colonization during the 1600s. The show’s main focus is to recreate the life of the Plymouth Colony. The cast was formed from historians and people from the Passamaquoddy who have been living there long before the 1600s. What you will find most enticing about this TV show is that there is no drama, just the harsh reality of an early colonist.
Naked And Afraid
- Stars: Michael Brown, Amanda Kaye, Laura Zerra
Naked And Afraid puts a couple in a remote location with nothing more than a necklace which is actually a microphone and one item of they choosing, anything from a firestarter to water purifier. Their challenge is to live off the land for 21 days and get to a predetermined location while they are living off the land and finding shelter. During the daytime, a film crew is always present although the couple has also each a small camera to record their diaries and to film during the nighttime.
What is interesting about this TV show is that they make measurements before and after including weight and body fat. To nobody’s surprise, most of them will lose a significant amount of weight during the 3 weeks.
Escape to River Cottage
- Star: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Escape to River Cottage is a TV show about a small rural community called River Cottage where the inhabitants of the community try to be as self-sufficient as possible and most of them live off the grid without any kind of electricity. The small community grows its own food and disposes of its own waste, for supplies which they can not produce they barter for with local communities.
- Stars: Nerys Howell, Terry Walton, Chris Williams
Coal House TV show depicts the life of coal miners during the 1800s in the Welsh countryside of Blaenavon. The show follows several families with their day to day struggles, these families live in small shacks several miles away from the actual mines. For the show to be depicted as accurately as possible, all boys over 14 have to work in the coal mines alongside the rest of the man.
There are literally hundreds of off-grid tv shows to choose from, some of them try to realistically depict how our ancestors lived while others focus more on the day to day survival of ordinary people. You might come across some off-grid tv shows that are more like reality tv which in my opinion ruins the immersion and the credibility, but if you can bear with it, more power to you.