History Channel // 2011 // 720 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // April 29th, 2012
Huge risks. Huge rewards.
America's toughest truck drivers are back on the ice in History Channel's Ice Road Truckers: Season Five, which follows both experienced truckers and eager rookies as they haul crucial loads along some of the world's most dangerous roads. Bracing thin ice and snowy bumps across vast territories in Alaska and Northern Canada, these fearless individuals put everything on the line to boost their adrenaline, transport vital equipment to remote locations, and cash in on a job that could easily cost them their lives. The fifth season of the wildly popular reality series offers sixteen brand-new episodes that will certainly please loyal fans and quite possibly attract a whole bunch of new viewers.
The ice roads show no mercy for this group of passionate drivers looking for both excitement and a large payday in North America. Still, the firm commitment to their job injects them with just enough patience and endurance to brace any obstacles the treacherous road and weather conditions throw at them on a daily basis. Driving large trucks and hauling massive loads is one thing, but doing it while caught in deadly ice storms or on top of frozen lakes is a whole different ballgame. Still, that's exactly the kind of work drivers like Hugh Rowland, Alex Debogorski, Rick Yemm, Lisa Kelly, David Redmon, and Maya Seiber are looking for. Ice Road Truckers provides them with a chance to share their experiences, successes, and mishaps with millions of television viewers compelled with all the dangers ice trucking may entail.
The structure of Ice Road Truckers hasn't really changed much ever since History's show premiered in 2007. Yet, fans decide to stick around, and viewership even seems to be growing in between seasons. So then, what exactly is it that's so riveting and suspenseful about watching truckers carrying loads from one location to another? Two things immediately come to mind: the personalities of the drivers and the dangers of the road they're trying to conquer. Truth be told, if it weren't for all the pressure these men and women are required to deal with every time they step behind the wheel, the show would only be half as thrilling. Some obviously deal with it better than others, but the psychological impact driving in complete isolation and on dangerous roads has on these folks is eventually what sets this series apart from other reality TV programs.
Each of the featured truckers reacts to different situations in different ways. Watching these professionals trying their best not to crack under the pressure is both suspenseful and at times quite nerve-wracking. Of course, the challenges they face on the road considerably boost the entertainment value of the show as well, educating viewers about the amount of concentration and knowledge needed to master steep curves, thin ice, and a whole horde of other obstacles so sudden and dangerous, they can put both the trucker and his load in serious jeopardy.
This season, the challenges are no different from previous ones. Hugh and Co. have to deal with flat tires, bent rims, and intense whiteouts, testing each driver's patience as they try to deliver their loads on time and make optimal payroll. On top of all of nature's unexpected surprises, drivers like Lisa, Dave, and Maya have a lot to prove this time around. Lisa desires nothing more but to join the heavy haul team, while Dave desperately wants to show his employers he's ready to take on the ice by himself. Maya is this season's rookie, taking on the snow-covered roads for the very first time. She's got everything to prove, and it won't be an easy task. Meanwhile, Hugh, Rick, and Alex have their hands full trying to master Canada's snowy roads connecting remote outposts with the rest of civilization.
Technically, Ice Road Truckers is a big success when it comes to compelling reality television. Tons of camera angles, edgy editing techniques, an appropriate score, and solid narration all make for fast-paced, visually intriguing episodes, which run about 45 minutes and manage to check in on each of the season's featured drivers several times. Footage is captured in HD, and for what it is, the show looks good enough on DVD, boasting a solid transfer with clear image quality and excellent audio. This four-disc set also includes some additional footage, but that's all in terms of special features.
Even after five seasons and countless trips up and down the same ice roads, History's Ice Road Truckers still manages to offer prime reality TV entertainment. The format of the program may still be the same, but the trucking on these dangerous roads remains both thrilling and dangerous. That's the perfect formula to keep viewers engaged and returning for more. When all is said and done, what's not to like about watching drivers with big attitudes trying to master unbelievably dangerous roads?
Icy, but not guilty.
Review content copyright © 2012 Franck Tabouring; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: History Channel
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 720 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Footage
* Official Site