Case Number 19074: Small Claims Court


History Channel // 2010 // 452 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // June 13th, 2010

The Charge

"I'm not just looking for antiques. I'm looking for the rusty stuff. I'm looking for the dirty stuff, the sun-baked stuff. I'm looking for the unusual and impossible." -- Mike Wolf

The Case

American Pickers is kinda like Antiques Roadshow on testosterone with two guys who are obsessed with motorcycles, cars, and advertising signs. They are out to buy junk that will make them a buck. The series stars antique "pickers" Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, who have a business called Antique Archaeology based in LeClaire, Iowa that deals in the old and unusual. They are both pretty slick when it comes to wheeling and dealing with old codgers who have rusty gold hidden in their attics and barns. The dynamic duo will dumpster dive, crawl through attics, and do whatever it takes to get unusual antiques to sell to their clients who run retro stores and restaurants.

There's a dark side to the show, and it comes from watching these two guys grab something from a senior citizen of modest means knowing full well it is worth far more than what they are paying. There's one point early on where we see them buy a saddle for less than a hundred bucks, and then the item gets appraised for well over five thousand. I suppose it is a business, though it seems to be one that takes advantage of unsuspecting owners. What may be perceived as hoarded junk is actually a legacy or family inheritance they do not know about. Along come these two to take it away for far less than it would fetch with the right buyer. That makes the show both fascinating and icky at the same time. You have to admire their bravado, but at the same time you feel as if they are robbing people.

The History Channel produces the series, and that makes sense given that many of these items represent historical artifacts that make up Americana. The first season contains twelve episodes in a widescreen format. The transfer quality is fine, and it looks like a reality show on cable. The colors are clear, and there are no digital artifacts. The stereo sound does just dandy with the dialogue. Technically everything is hunky dory. The downside is this set only gives you the episodes with no bonus materials, so it's equivalent to catching a marathon run on cable.

It's a show about "man antiques" or "MANTIQUES" if you will. Old cars, carnival rides, leaky oil cans, and pinball machines are all on full display. Forget your depression era green glass or fancy old chairs covered in lace, this is the real deal for men who like to collect. American Pickers: The Complete Season One gives you the whole first season to enjoy. Too bad there's no extras or anything to add value to the shows, but we do get all twelve of the first year. It's certainly a lot of fun to see junk become riches, and it's amazing to watch these guys do their thing.

The Verdict

Guilty of getting rich off unsuspecting old people who stockpiled their stuff.

Review content copyright © 2010 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile
Studio: History Channel
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 452 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

* IMDb

* Official Website