Lionsgate // 2013 // 900 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker (Retired) // December 3rd, 2013
Includes a limited edition, exclusive duck camo bandana.
Since I don't watch a lot of reality TV, I'm not up on the new wave of R-TV stars. Every now and again, I'll read about someone from some show I've never seen getting married or dying or something; I think one or both of these things might have happened to people from Pawn Stars or Storage Wars; or maybe I'm thinking of the guy from Deadliest Catch; or the gruesome line-up of the damned from Celebrity Rehab.
Anyway, the point is, I don't actually watch these people, I merely read about their life passages on the internet. Another group of people I don't watch but have heard of are the (evidently) lovable Robertsons of Duck Dynasty.
The Robertsons' "dynasty" consists of a lucrative business, Duck Commander, which manufactures items for duck hunters, including a very effective duck call. Their Christian values and dedication to family, along with their ZZ Top-esque beards and quirky personalities, have endeared them to millions and made their show a surprise success for the A&E network. That the show is successful isn't all that surprising, actually; it's how successful that is giving people pause. The show draws an audience share that would make it successful on a network, and is phenomenal for a reality TV cable show.
Of course, like any stardom-that-wasn't-planned -- I'm pretty sure the Robertsons didn't set out to become R-TV fixtures -- success brings downsides and dangers; in this case, that means massive overexposure. And right now, the Robertsons are nothing if not overexposed. Example: Just prior to sitting down to write this review, I was watching television when a commercial came on...a commercial for DUCK DYNASTY CHIAS. Yes, shrunken heads of Uncle Si and Willie come with chia seeds in their beards; add water, and you get beautiful, flowing chia facial hair. We have Duck Dynasty hats, and bobbleheads, and pillows, and license plate covers, and antibacterial bandages, and lunch boxes, and mouse pads, and...
Look, I don't want to knock their success, but they have 20 pages of merchandise at Amazon. And this isn't including the various talk show appearances (including one on Jimmy Kimmel's show that caused a much-talked-about feud with Morrissey), as well as other TV shows, and commercials.
Look, if you build it, they will come; someone built the Duck Dynasty dynasty, and now everyone seems to be coming. I don't begrudge the Robertsons one second of their many minutes of fame or one penny of their profits.
But that doesn't mean I have to endorse a cash-grab, either.
A cash-grab like last year's I'm Dreaming of a Redneck Christmas DVD, which was nothing more than the Season 2 Christmas episode pulled from the Season 2 DVD and repackaged as a stand-alone. Or a cash-grab like Duck Dynasty Seasons 1-3: Collector's Set (Blu-ray), which repackages the first three seasons and throws in some extras, plus an added bonus in the way of a camo bandana. I call this cash-grab for a few reasons, but two prominent ones: first, all these episodes have already been released on DVD and Blu-ray, and I don't know if the bonus material is so compelling to demand a new set; and second, the show is currently airing its fourth season and likely has at least two more seasons left before the Robertsons walk away (or get spin-offs), meaning Complete Series sets are in the offing. I would think that if you were willing to shell out for a Blu-ray of the first three seasons, then you've probably already shelled out for at least one previous season, making this purchase less-than cost effective.
Bonus material is contained on the even-numbered discs, which are the second half of each season. Discs Two and Four contain "featurettes," that are basically short little bits with the Robertsons talking about...whatever they talk about, frog hunting, things like that. Disc Six contains a short piece on "The Duck Dynasty Phenomenon," Webisodes, Cast Interviews, Deleted Scenes, something called Mash-ups, and Amanda Ryan Song Recaps. Since all these supplements were contained on the previous sets, I'm not sure what the "Never Before Seen Special Features" are that are touted on the case. As near as I can figure, these are just the previous three sets packaged together with a bandana.
Look, the Robertsons seem like great people; they are an enviable American success story. I get why they're reality TV sensations. Since I don't hunt or fish, and I've never been able to grow a beard, I can't say that they're people I'd like to hang out with, though those family meals that end the episodes seem awfully inviting. I begrudge them nothing, but I think Lionsgate and A&E might be taking a few too many trips to well as far as these releases go.
The Robertsons are free to go their own way, which is what made them celebrities in the first place. A&E and Lionsgate are charged with indecent overexposure.
Review content copyright © 2013 Tom Becker; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 900 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Footage
* Official Site
* Facebook Page