11 Must-Watch TV Shows About the Arctic That Will Give You Chills

Explore the frosty wonders of the Arctic through the lens of captivating television shows that bring to life the beauty of this remote region.

These shows not only showcase the breathtaking, ice-covered landscapes and the elusive Northern Lights but also delve into the unique challenges faced by both wildlife and humans in its extreme conditions. From unraveling the secrets of polar bears and other indigenous species to thrilling dramas set against the backdrop of icy expanses, these TV shows provide a journey into a world where survival and adaptation take center stage.

So, brace yourself for a chilly adventure as you explore this frozen frontier’s awe-inspiring visuals through the best TV shows about the Arctic.

Arctic Circle, Elisa Viihde/Yle (2018)

The joint Finnish-German production Arctic Circle follows a gripping storyline set against the icy backdrop of the Arctic region.

The series kicks off with a local cop’s discovery of a sex worker’s dead body at a cabin in the woods. This leads to the small town’s mysterious outbreak, raising questions about a potentially deadly virus. Enter the cop and a German virologist, an unlikely duo who join forces to untangle the web of secrets and solve the unfolding medical mystery.

As they dig deeper, they discover a complex web of criminal activity, conspiracies, and unexpected connections. Battling against time and the unforgiving Arctic conditions, the duo faces not only the harsh climate but also the chilling truth that unravels before them.

It’s a suspenseful ride through the frozen landscapes with unexpected twists and turns.

Helix, Syfy (2014 – 2015)

Helix thrusts viewers into a chilling tale set in the Arctic, where a team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) faces an urgent and mysterious crisis.

Tasked with investigating a potential outbreak at a remote research facility, the team quickly realizes that the situation is far more complex than they initially thought. As they navigate the icy confines of the Arctic base, tensions rise, and alliances shift.

The show weaves together elements of science fiction, horror, and suspense, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats as the characters grapple with both the external threat and their own internal struggles.

With the unforgiving Arctic environment as a backdrop, Helix delivers a gripping narrative filled with unexpected turns and a constant sense of impending danger.

Thin Ice, TV4 (2020)

Yet another non-English show on the list is Thin Ice, a co-production between French, Icelandic, and Swedish production companies.

The show is set primarily in Greenland, and thus, it was broadcast in Swedish, English, Danish, and even Greenlandic.

Thin Ice centers around the frozen intrigue of the Arctic as it introduces a diverse group of individuals brought together by a shared journey.

The plot unfolds with the characters facing the harsh realities of the icy wilderness, from treacherous terrains to unpredictable weather conditions. However, this all culminates in an attack on a Swedish vessel and the sudden disappearance of its entire crew.

Enter Liv Hermanson, an intelligence officer who is assigned to a small Greenlandic village, to investigate the mystery.

Arctic Air, CBC Television (2012 – 2014)

Arctic Air takes viewers on a thrilling ride through the vast and icy landscapes of the Arctic as it follows the adventures of a maverick airline crew, who are also the family that runs the airline.

Operating in the challenging and unpredictable conditions of Canada’s northern territories, the team at Arctic Air faces various high-stakes situations, from daring rescue missions to navigating the complexities of remote transportation.

The show not only showcases the breathtaking beauty of the Arctic but also explores the personal and professional challenges faced by the family.

With a mix of drama, action, and a touch of humor, Arctic Air invites audiences to join the family in their quest to conquer the skies and overcome the unique obstacles posed by the unforgiving Arctic environment.

North of 60, CBC Television (1992 – 1997)

North of 60 unfolds in the remote and rugged landscapes of the Canadian Arctic, offering a glimpse into the lives of the residents of a fictional town with an Indigenous community.

The series revolves around a diverse cast of characters, including law enforcement, indigenous peoples, and other townsfolk, as they navigate the challenges of daily life in the North.

Against the backdrop of the frozen wilderness, the show delves into the intricacies of relationships, community dynamics, and the constant struggle for survival in the harsh environment.

North of 60 captures the essence of small-town life, exploring the triumphs and tribulations of its characters as they confront the unique circumstances presented by their northern surroundings. With a mix of drama and authenticity, the series paints a vivid picture of life north of the 60th parallel.

Midnight Sun, SVT (2016)

Midnight Sun, or Midnattssol in its original Swedish title, takes viewers on a suspenseful journey to the Arctic Circle where a French police officer is assigned to investigate the sudden death of a Frenchman near a town in Kiruna.

She teams up with a local detective to solve what they discover to be just the beginning of a series of grisly murders.

The plot unfolds against the backdrop of the mesmerizing phenomenon of the midnight sun, where day and night blur into one. As the duo delves into the investigation, they unravel a complex web of crime, culture clashes, and secrets buried beneath the snow.

With a mix of intense mystery and cultural exploration, this Scandinavian crime drama provides a gripping narrative that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.

Fortitude, Sky Atlantic (2015 – 2018)

Fortitude unfolds in the chilling Arctic setting of the fictional town by the same name, which lies in the region of Norway above the Arctic Circle.

Here, the seemingly calm life is suddenly disrupted by a series of unsettling events. The story begins with a gruesome murder, setting the stage for a complex web of mysteries and secrets. As the tight-knit community grapples with the aftermath, tensions rise, and alliances shift in the face of the unknown, especially as the death toll rises and the cause of death just continues to get stranger and stranger.

The series keeps viewers hooked as the characters navigate the challenges posed by the harsh Arctic environment and the eerie occurrences that unfold as they all fight to keep their own secrets.

Trapped, RÚV (2015 – present)

In Iceland, surrounded by the unforgiving landscapes of the Arctic, the residents of a remote town have their lives changed forever.

Trapped kicks off when a mysterious and gruesome crime is discovered by a fisherman: the murder and mutilation of a local. What unfolds in the aftermath traps the residents in a web of secrets, conspiracies, and unexpected connections.

As the investigation unfolds, headed by the town’s chief of police, the tight-knit community faces not only the challenges of solving the crime but also the harsh realities of the icy environment that surrounds them.

The series sees the characters grapple with both the external threat and the internal struggles within the community, bound together in a gripping narrative that explores the complexities of human nature when faced with isolation.

The North Water, BBC Two (2021)

The North Water plunges viewers into the brutal and icy world of the Arctic aboard a 19th-century whaling expedition.

The plot revolves around a disgraced ex-army surgeon who joins the crew, seeking redemption in the harsh conditions of the Arctic, as well as a crew member with a dark past – and present. As the ship navigates the treacherous waters, tensions escalate, and the crew faces not only the dangers of their perilous journey but also the dark and morally complex choices that arise.

This includes a plot to sink the ship in order for the owner to commit insurance fraud, which only leads to further hardships when the rescue ship fails to reach them and they face the possibility of a cold and brutal death.

The Terror, AMC (2018 – 2019)

The Terror unfolds in the brutal Arctic landscape, chronicling the ill-fated expedition of two Royal Navy ships searching for the Northwest Passage in the mid-19th century.

The crews of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror face not only the challenges of navigating treacherous icy waters but also the haunting and supernatural threats that emerge in the frozen wilderness.

As the expedition becomes increasingly dire, tensions rise, and the crews must confront both the harsh elements and the mysterious forces that seem to be closing in on them.

Being a supernatural horror anthology series, The Terror’s first season takes place in the Arctic, while its second, subtitled Infamy, focuses on a Japanese shape-shifting specter.

Shackleton, Channel 4 (2002)

The British miniseries Shackleton recounts the gripping true story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s legendary Antarctic expedition aboard the ship Endurance in the early 20th century in his attempt to have his nation be the first to make this journey.

As the crew sets out to cross the icy continent, disaster strikes when the ship becomes trapped in pack ice, leading to a desperate struggle for survival. Shackleton’s leadership skills are put to the ultimate test as he navigates the challenges of extreme cold, isolation, and dwindling resources.

Shackleton provides a riveting portrayal of one of the greatest survival stories in exploration history.

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