A&E // 2010 // 417 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // August 20th, 2011
How much would you pay for what's behind this door?
Over the years, A&E has been developing a slew of entertaining and at times even mildly educational reality series viewers have quickly grown to love, and Storage Wars is undoubtedly a solid addition to the network's current offerings. While the show about bidders trying to score big at storage auctions may not necessarily match the appeal and popularity of current hit programs such as History's Pawn Stars or Swamp People, it still boasts a fast-paced structure and compelling entertainment value to win over audiences trying to catch a break from the dark side of reality television.
Storage Wars: Season One focuses on four individuals who invade Southern California's storage facilities and participate in countless auctions in hopes of scoring valuable items to help them earn a living. The rules are pretty simple: participants get a few minutes to peek inside the unit and assess its contents without touching anything. If they believe it's worth spending the money, they immediately launch into an energetic bidding war with their competitors. That said, just because the highest bid wins them a unit doesn't mean they'll make a profit off whatever it is they later discover inside.
The show works well for two reasons: the bidders and the contents of the storage units. Each of the series' "stars" brings a specific attitude to the table, and watching these guys engage in little feuds and attempt to outbid each other just keeps adding to the fun. They're all in it for the money, and they're all eager to bid on attractive units because they all hope to stumble across that one item that will instantly enrich them.
Also known as the "Mogul," Dave Hester usually shows up with the most cash, convinced he's the one with the most experience in the business. Darrell Sheets AKA the "Gambler" usually acts all tough and shows no fear in front of anyone, while Jarrod, the new guy, desperately tries to prove he's got what it takes to compete with the big fish. Jarrod also brings along his wife and business partner Brandi, who makes sure he doesn't spend more than he should. Finally, there's Barry Weiss, an old-school collector who's causing more laughs than trouble.
While watching these bidders go at it is clearly what injects the show with high energy, it's what's inside the storage units they buy that provides a certain element of suspense. Some of the units are filled with junk and often cause the buyer to face a loss, but others contain either a horde or a small selection of valuable items that can easily sell to bring in a ton of moola. At the end of each of the 20-minute (without commercials) episodes we finally get to see what our buyers get for their money, and the finds range from deeply shocking to absolutely laughable.
On DVD, Storage Wars boasts a decent image quality and a clean Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. The 19 episodes of the first season are spread across three discs, but the set does not include any special features.
Although the show sticks to the same structure throughout the first season, Storage Wars delivers first-class reality television. The bidding action and the resulting unit inspection keeps things moving at a swift pace, and the eccentric characters of the show's lead bidders always leaves viewers wanting more action. Truth be told, this show is indeed pretty addictive.
Sold! Not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 417 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated