History Channel // 2011 // 315 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // September 1st, 2013
The guys pick their favorite finds.
Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz travel the country searching for hidden treasures. Like a two-man traveling Antiques Roadshow, the guys delve into warehouses, barns, houses, sheds and shacks hoping to find unique bits of Americana they can purchase. Sometimes they find items for their own personal collections or someone else's, but the ultimate goal for most of the purchases is being able to resell the item within one of their storefronts.
The Best of American Pickers: Mike & Frank's Picks offers six episodes chosen especially by Frank and Mike themselves. It's the perfect introduction to the series American Pickers, which is approaching its 100th episode. Each episode features a new introduction by either Frank or Mike and follows the same basic formula. The guys are in their van chitchatting and they talk to Danielle who is back at the shop tracking down leads for their picks. Mike and Frank go meet the leads, see what they have to offer, and learn the stories behind not only the items but the people themselves which are usually the best part of the episodes. There's a bit of haggling before a price is reached and then at the end of the segments we learn what the guys hope to resell the items for, as well as their expected profit margin.
The specific episodes are:
"Mike's Holy Grail"
"The Elephant in the Room"
If you're a fan of the show or of its brethren like Antiques Roadshow or the many pawn shop/storage container shows, then this set will please. Mike, Frank, and Danielle are genuinely affable and their interest in not only the items but the people lends a warmth which is often missing from reality TV.
In terms of video transfer it is the typical 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen featured on almost every single currently broadcasting show. There are some editing issues as each new introduction abruptly cuts off before the episode starts, and then another too-abrupt cut during the very last portion of the episodes. Aside from that not much tinkering to be found within the transfer. It offers a consistent, solid palette balanced well at both the white and black ends. The low-key Dolby Digital 2.0 serves the set well as the show lacks scoring.
The special feature is an extra episode picked by Danielle, "Odd Fellas."
If you're looking to see what all the fuss is about then The Best of American Pickers: Mike & Frank's Picks is the set for you. No prior knowledge of the series is necessary and the episodes chosen do an excellent job demonstrating the eclectic nature of the items these guys come in contact with on a daily basis. There's a genuine camaraderie between Mike, Frank, and Danielle that comes across during their interactions and helps ground the show.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: History Channel
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 315 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episode
* Official Site