There's a reason some reality tv shows are much better and have more fans than others. Like its predecessors, such as Deadliest Catch and Gold Rush, Big Timber focuses on one of the most dangerous jobs, logging timber.
What Is Big Timber About?
Big Timber follows the Wenstob family mill on Vancouver Island, Canada. Led by family sawmill owner Kevin Wenstob, Big Timber follows him and his team from initial logging on their timber claim up the mountain.
From the incredibly dangerous job of getting the logs off the claim to getting them onto the trucks and down to the sawmill, every aspect of Big Timber is a fascinating look at an industry most of us don't really ever think about.
And it's not easy. The mill is run by his wife, Sarah Fleming, and often, particularly when one type of wood is in high demand, it's difficult to keep the supply in line with demand.
Over the course of the first season, we get to know all of the players and learn a little bit more about how the logging industry works. There's plenty of drama as Kevin tries to meet the deadlines at the end of the season.
Can he meet the quota and get the timber off his claim? As it turns out, that's a much bigger problem than anything else he faces through the first season.
If Kevin can't get the timber cleared on time, he will face nearly a million-dollar fine (Canadian) from the Forestry Commission. That's where the first season ends, and we pick up the series nearly a year later in 2021.
Big Timber Trailer
Big Timber Season 2
The first season of Big Timber was mostly filmed from September 2019 to January 2020 and was first broadcast by the Canadian History channel in October 2020.
It was then purchased by Netflix, who helped finance a second season due to its popularity.
The second season was filmed in 2021 and released again on the History Channel first before being released in July 2022 on Netflix.
The main focus of this season was making enough money to pay the fine as well as constantly checking on the claim. The problem is that while the wood on the new claim is better, it's further up the mountain, which is covered in snow for most of the season.
That means that the crew spend most of their time out on the river looking for timber along the shoreline.
Big Timber Season 3
Big Timber season 3 has already started airing in Canada on the History Channel as of September 29th 2022.
To date, Netflix has not announced when the third season will be available on the streaming service.
Is Big Timber Worth Watching?
I'll be honest and tell you that other than Deadliest Catch, I don't usually gravitate toward these types of reality tv shows.
However, I stumbled across Big Timber and couldn't stop watching until I'd finished both seasons. It's just such an eye-opener that it makes for compelling viewing.
The entire process relies on so many factors, not least of which is the weather. Too wet, too dry, too hot, too windy and work can be halted instantly.
And if you're not getting wood off the mountain, then you're not supplying the sawmill, and customers can't get their orders. And that's a slippery slope to going out of business.
Throw in machinery that keeps breaking down, competitors undercutting you, staff who leave you high and dry and, all while working with your family, and suddenly Big Timber is big drama.
The only negative is that the editing is incredibly annoying. The show constantly repeats itself with a narrator that is trying to up the excitement levels at every opportunity. Here's a tip: Big Timber is interesting enough. We don't need made-up drama to make it better!
Can I also say that the first season focused heavily on the development of the docking area and the barge that would speed up deliveries to the mainland.
However, by season 2, it was barely mentioned and didn't look like it was being used, which is frustrating from a continuity pov.
Otherwise, who knew that a reality show about a family sawmill in Canada could be so engaging and interesting? Definitely worth watching.