Saturday, October 22, 2011
DVD Review: American Pickers - Volume Two (A&E Home Video/History, $29.95)
by Todd Fuller
In small towns, and along America's back roads, treasures are waiting to be uncovered - valuable relics from our history that are hidden in junk piles, buried in barns and stacked in garages. It takes experts to find them - and turn rust to riches. American Pickers follows two of the most skilled "pickers" - Mike Wolfe, owner of Antique Archaeology, and his business partner, Frank Fritz - as they hunt down objects with historical, collectible and pop culture value that have been long forgotten by their owners. Along the way, they meet people whose own stories open a window into American lives and history. In this collection, Mike and Frank try to strike a deal with NASCAR Champion Ryan Newman, explore the appropriately named Pickens, South Carolina and try to buy a 300-pound boot.
The 2-disc set contains episodes 1-8 from the second season (2010-11). It comes in an Amaray movie-style case, just like the first release. Frank and Mike are pictured on the front holding a car part and shovel and standing on a pile of junk. A synopsis of the set, episode titles and the DVD specs are listed on the back of the case. Frank and Mike are featured on the spine of the case. There is an insert inside that promotes their new book: American Pickers Guide to Picking. There are no episode summaries included. An episode guide would have been nice to have for reference. The discs have the same photo of Frank and Mike that is used on the front of the case. The show logo is at the top, and the episode titles are listed at the bottom.
The main menu opens with a montage of video clips that play while some music can be heard in the background. These clips run about 20 seconds before leading to the static menu. They feature the same photo of Frank and Mike that is used elsewhere. Episode titles are listed on the left side of the screen in white text. The highlighed episode is in yellow and turns gray upon your selection. When you select an episode, it takes you to another menu where you can choose specific scenes. Different backgrounds of the various locations are used on these menus. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places.
As you might expect from such a recent show, the video and audio quality is excellent. They are presented in 1:33.1 format. The total running time of the 2 discs is approximately 6 hours, 16 minutes. All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of over 43 minutes. If you want high definition episodes, they can be found on iTunes or Amazon.com . The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. Closed captioning is available on the episodes.
The episodes are in their original one-hour format. Episode summaries and airdates are courtesy of the American Pickers Official Site. Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the original airdates and runtimes:
Art of the Deal (06/01/10) (43:44) - Mike and Frank comb through a master collector's untouched outbuildings in North Carolina. After getting past a few petrified hams they find a true gem, a 1950 Studebaker that Mike falls in love with. But can Mike negotiate a deal at a price that makes sense? Mike then becomes obsessed with a 1934 pre-Airstream trailer and the negotiation becomes a classic in its own right. Next, hoping to sell a choice vintage sign, they pay a visit to friend and NASCAR champion Ryan Newman, who has a surprise of his own for the guys.
Buddy's Booby Trap (06/14/10) (43:18) - Mike and Frank visit a local legend in North Carolina. After picking through an accumulation of school busses and a burned down storage house, they come across an item the guys have never seen before, place bets on what it actually is, and get surprised by what the appraiser says about it. Frank goes into picking-turbo-mode when he finds a gold mine of signs on a 20 acre farm. Also, a mother/daughter team catches the picking bug and gives the guys a run for their money as they dig through their grandfather's garages and outbuildings.
Gordon's Gold Mine (06/21/10) (43:27) - In aptly named Pickens, South Carolina, the guys scour the sprawling inventory of a father-and-son picking duo. They uncover plenty of rare and unusual items... But can they make a deal with the two pro collectors? Next, the guys meet Mary who has inherited a 300-acre property, home to a huge untouched collection. After warming up with a few impulse purchases, Mike and Frank get serious. Plus, while trying to convince the guys to take her on the road, Danielle leads them to an inconspicuous cement factory. It's the "Holy Grail" of picking--Gordon's collection includes a jam-packed vintage general store, and building after building of unbelievable retro treasures.
Smooth Operators (06/28/10) (43:19) - As the guys are winding down their trip through the South, Danielle finds them the mother lode of rare motorbike parts in an old warehouse packed with new vintage Harley stock. Can they convince the sentimental and savvy owner Billy to part with some choice items? The guys make an incredible discovery guaranteed to impress their friend and NASCAR champion Ryan Newman. Plus there's plenty more finds on the 11-acre property littered with racecars and jam-packed outbuildings. And, back in Iowa, Mike and Frank have a field day scouring an incredible collection of one of their decorator clients. But will they spend all their money before coming across the real treasure?
Getting the Boot (07/05/10) (43:32) - While in Kansas, the guys comb through a promising farmyard littered with stuff but are frustrated when they find nothing at all to buy. Their luck changes when they meet demolition expert Johnny Walker. His collection is staggering. But will he agree to part with a rare grave marker and giant 300-pound boot? The next day, Johnny refers the guys to his collector neighbors. Junior's magnificent oilcan collection leaves Frank speechless, but unfortunately so does his sky-high prices. Morris on the other hand proves to be in a wheeling and dealing mood when the guys pull into the old service station that now houses his sprawling collection of automotive memorabilia.
Easy Riders (07/26/10) (43:20) - Mike and Frank are in Missouri, heading towards an inherited old farm with plenty of promise. But then Danielle calls with news about an ultimate prize. She's tracked down a prolific collector with a rare 1937 Harley Knucklehead. Close to their target, and revved up about the classic bike, the guys agree to speed pick the old farm before moving on. But once there, Mike gets lost in multiple outbuildings filled with possibilities. Everything is for sale--but anything of value? Down the road, their next pick is with a self-made man who keeps his incredible collection of "mantiques" in a 1920s Ford dealership and theatre from the same era. The guys are in pick heaven...and when they spot the Harley Knucklehead, high-roller negotiations begin. Can they seal the deal? And finally, in spite of the unwelcoming sign on her sprawling property, Darlene is anything but.
Psychic Pickings (08/02/10) (43:45) - While picking in Missouri, the guys stop in at Sam and Stan's steel yard where the father-son duo takes them on a high-speed golf cart tour of their massive hangar and outbuildings, loaded with heaps of metal and rusty junk. But can Mike and Frank uncover anything worth buying? The team goes freestyling and comes across an old farm where the owners are about to have an auction and badly need Frank and Mike's help. And, in Illinois they come across Greg, who claims he's a psychic picker. He's filled his mammoth home, a former prison, with rare objects and cultural artifacts. But is anything for sale? Plus the guys challenge Danielle to sell an old Studebaker they had picked. Does she rise to it?
One Pony Town (08/09/10) (43:19) - Thanks to his vast collection of stuffed animals and weird curios, lifelong picker and yard sale aficionado Lester is known by his neighbors as the "spooky collector." Tension builds between Mike and Frank over the value of the animals, but both are thrilled to comb through his jam-packed outbuildings. Later on, the guys visit a hard-core Illinois collector who says he wants to downsize. But although his overcrowded building is technically for sale, he doesn't seem ready to part with anything. Missing family and friends, the guys pay a return visit to their "picking mamma," Judy. While scouring her mammoth former factory home, they have a great time, do great business and get a surprise. Plus an appraiser gives Mike some impressive news about a tiny stuffed horse.
Unfortunately, there are no special features included. It would be nice to see some deleted scenes, cast interviews or other featurettes. Fans would crave this type of bonus material.
I first watched American Pickers on History's sister channel Lifetime last December. After viewing a few episodes, I instantly became hooked. This is a show that is both educational and entertaining. They meet some unusual characters on their trips that have some fascinating stories to share. It's easy to see why this is one the biggest hits on cable. Mike and Frank have known each other since the 8th grade and work well together. They are kind of like a modern day Laurel & Hardy. Danielle is also an important part of the show and business. She's the glue that keeps things running smoothly and sends them out on the leads. Sometimes I think they play up the profit angle a little too much, but these guys know their stuff and have a business to run. I don't think they ever intentionally make lowball offers. Their offers usually seem pretty fair. It's all about negotiation. I think most people are just happy to clear some space and get rid of some of their junk that would otherwise be collecting dust. Another interesting aspect of the show is that sometimes they get shut out when people don't want to sell their items. Some of the items they buy end up being worth a lot less than they expected.
The only disappointment with this set is that it contains only 8 episodes. This set was originally listed on Amazon.com as the Complete Second Season, but it was delayed several times and eventually changed to Volume Two. Season Two had a total of 26 episodes, so it will be interesting to see if the third volume will contain 8 more episodes or the remaining 18 episodes form the second season. On the plus side, it's listed at under $9.00 on Amazon.com. It's priced very affordably and would be a good blind buy. If you enjoy these 8 episodes, then you could go back and purchase the Complete First Season. They are currently in their third season. A total 50 episodes have aired at this point. New episodes can be seen on History on Sunday nights at 9/8c.
To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
SitcomsOnline.com Main Reviews Page
American Pickers Official Site
American Pickers TV.com Page
The Twilight Zone Archives (www.twilightzone.org) - We continue our Halloween theme for Click of the Week this week with a website for a series that is considered one of the greatest classics of all time, and we have a website that is in a dimension of its own... The Twilight Zone Archives. It is one of the older websites for the series that can be found on the web, but it is also one of the more creative ones, and it is filled with plenty of content to keep you occupied. But before you do anything, be sure that you click on and read the information on how to navigate the website. It is no ordinary website, and you'll need to get accustomed to the unique interface or else you'll be lost!
That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!
New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)
09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Tuesday, October 25
The Middle - "Halloween VIII: The Heckoning" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As Halloween approaches, Frankie is taken aback when she discovers that, if the circumstances ever arose where she and Mike got divorced, the kids would all choose to live with Mike. Meanwhile, Sue tries everything in her power to get her room back from Brick, and having to be so nice around girlfriend April all of the time leads Axl to lash out at his family.
American Housewife - "Westport Zombies" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Katie, jealous of Taylor’s friendship with neighbor Viv (Leslie Bibb), reluctantly competes in the Westport Halloween “Zombie Run” after she finds out they’ll both be running. Meanwhile, Greg and Anna-Kat get a little too much in character for the “zombie” part of the run’s obstacle course.
Fresh Off the Boat - "Louisween" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
It’s Louis’ favorite holiday, and he makes every attempt to scare Jessica into the Halloween spirit, but she is buried in her word processor, drafting her first horror novel. Meanwhile, Emery and Evan debate costume choices, and Eddie and his crew are excited to party with high schoolers at Nicole’s house.
The Real O'Neals - "The Real Halloween" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Halloween arrives, or what Kenny refers to as “the gay Super Bowl,” he plans to go to Boystown to watch the festive costume parade. In an effort to prevent Kenny from attending, Eileen agrees to let him throw his own Halloween party at home. Eileen’s tolerance is ultimately tested when Kenny recruits Stuart and his gay friends to join the big party, and he makes a BIG costume change. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Shannon plan to pull off an epic Halloween prank.
Atlanta - "Junteenth" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Why my Auntie trying to make me go to one of these bougie Junteenth parties again? I don't like them sadity people and I'm gonna miss my shows. Le sigh.
Family Time - "Head of House" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When the Stallworths have an unexpected visitor, they learn of a vicious crime that took place in their home years ago.
Tuesday, October 25
- Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Catch Will on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Friends) - Matt is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Skylar Astin (Ground Floor) - Skylar is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Mary Lynn Rajskub (How to Be a Gentleman/Veronica's Closet/The Larry Sanders Show) and David Koechner (Another Period/Hank/The Office) - Mary and David are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens/Anything But Love) - Jamie Lee is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
- Erinn Hayes (Kevin Can Wait/Guys with Kids/Worst Week) - Erinn plays a celeb guessing game with Rach, who’s serving up no-fail make-your-own takeout, on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
- Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
- Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET. She will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- Cheryl Hines (Son of Zorn/Suburgatory/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Cheryl is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. She will also be on the AOL Build Show 4pm.
- Don Rickles (C.P.O. Sharkey/Daddy Dearest) - Don is a guest on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
- Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.