History Channel // 2009 // 517 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Victor Valdivia (Retired) // November 13th, 2010
They're fierce, brutal and ruthless -- and bent on leaving their deadly mark on the streets of America.
Hey, how are you? It's Victor -- you know, from DVD Verdict. Remember me, baby? How you doin', girl? I know you changed your name now to History (probably your new guy's influence, no doubt), but you'll always be History Channel to me. Remember all those wild times we had when you would hang around showing me Hitler documentaries? We'd laugh, and walk, and talk, and reminisce about what World War II meant to us? I've never forgotten them -- they were the happiest times of my life. I still think about those days, even now. Then you went away and came back and you changed, History. You went with new shows like Ax Men and Life After People and UFO Hunters that had nothing to do with actual history. Basically, you were letting me know that our moment had passed, and you only wanted me as a friend. You broke my heart, History. I know I hurt you with some of the things I've said and written about those shows, but really, I was just reacting out of pain. Let's just admit we've both said and done things we wish we could take back.
Anyways, I know there are those who say that Gangland, your series on the history and culture of gangs from street gangs and biker gangs to white supremacist groups and prison crews, is just as sensationalistic and crass as those shows. I used to disagree, but now I'm not so sure, History. Here are the eleven episodes of Gangland: Season Six compiled on three discs:
* "Snitch Slaughter"
The Vagos may be one of the smallest outlaw biker gangs in the Southwest, but their secrecy and paranoia has led to some of the most shocking murders in the region.
* "Trinity of Blood"
The Tri-City Bombers are the most feared street gang in the southernmost tip of Texas with a penchant for violence that extends even to innocent victims.
* "Street Law"
Having started as an offshoot of California's violent Sureños gang, Sur-13 has become the biggest and deadliest gang in Atlanta, GA.
* "Skinhead Assault"
Volksfront are emerging as one of the fastest growing white supremacist gangs in the Pacific Northwest, resulting in increasingly brutal acts of violence.
* "Crazy Killers"
The South Side Locos are Oklahoma City's largest street gang and have launched a bloody war against their rivals that has led to many innocent deaths.
* "Bloody South"
The Gangsta Killer Bloods rule the streets of Columbia, South Carolina with a mixture of violence and greed that has left law enforcement struggling to keep up.
* "Devils Diciples"
Detroit's Devils Diciples are a tiny but deadly outlaw biker gang that earned national notoriety after being involved in one of the region's most horrific massacres.
* "The Assassins"
San Diego's Logan Heights emerged as the most powerful gang in the city in the 1980s, but was nearly brought down after a botched murder ended up causing an international incident.
* "Beware the Goose!"
The Galloping Goose is a small but coldblooded outlaw biker gang that controls Kansas City so ruthlessly that even larger biker gangs like the Bandidos pay them respect.
* "Sex, Money, Murder"
In Trenton, New Jersey, Sex Money Murder has emerged as the dominant street gang after a series of high-profile murders that drew the attention of the police.
* "Hell House"
Syndicato Nuevo Mexico is New Mexico's most dangerous prison gang, so brutal and sadistic that even correctional officers are forced to pay them respect.
Having reviewed the previous five seasons of Gangland, I can honestly say, History, that my criticisms of the more recent seasons apply even more so here: What started off as an unusual idea has increasingly become monotonous as the series has gone on and run out of interesting gangs to profile. For every good story, such as the Vagos and Logan Heights, there are a lot of tedious ones involving small-time punks who don't matter much. If anything, some of the gangs seen here, like the Galloping Goose and Sex Money Murder, barely qualify as gangs at all -- they're more like gatherings of like-minded thugs. This means that too many episodes fall into a repetitive structure where we meet gang members who brag about how tough they are. Then by the end of the episode, we either learn that they're out of the gang and are bragging about how they've turned their lives around or we find out that they're still in the gang and are bragging about how they're not afraid to die. C'mon, History, you can do better than that. These losers are so beneath you. We had a special thing going, History, with all our love for real murderers like Hitler and Stalin and Genghis Khan. You're throwing all that away for these humorless dullards?
That's not the only quibble. Consumers should also note that this is not the complete sixth season. A couple of episodes titled "Mile High Killers" and "Public Enemy No. 1" have inexplicably been left off this set. Seriously, History? Leaving stuff out? That's like the time you let me carry your groceries all the way up to your place and then blurted out that you were seeing somebody else -- namely, the guys from Pawn Stars. Damn, History, that's cold. Why you gotta treat fans like that?
Oh, who am I kidding, History? Even now, after all these years, I'm still hung up on you. This is by far the worst season of Gangland ever. It definitively proves the series is way past its prime, but I just can't walk away. Every time I think I've gotten over you, History, something comes along that reminds me of us and makes me remember how you'll always be the cute little channel with the homemade documentaries. Even though only the first two or three seasons of Gangland are really worth caring about, as long as the series remains cheap and profitable, you'll keep making it and I'll keep reviewing it. I just hope you're happy with whatever it is you're doing. God knows, after this season, one of us should be.
P.S.: Technical specs are typical History: non-anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer, Dolby stereo mix, both acceptable. The only extra is some additional footage (14:51) with a few bonus interviews of minor interest.
Guilty -- of making me love you, History.
Review content copyright © 2010 Victor Valdivia; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: History Channel
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 517 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Footage
* Official Site