History Channel // 2010 // 410 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 14th, 2011
Yep, it's pretty much what it sounds like.
Who are the Swamp People? They're reclusive men, living deep in the heart of Louisiana. Descendants from French-Canadians that were booted out of America's Hat in the 18th century, the Swamp People carved out a harsh living in the bayous and marshes. And, apparently, not much has changed in three hundred years. It's still man versus nature, alligators lie in wait just around the corner and the only way to get around is on some kind of flotation device. Well, the fashion has changed, evolving from animal skins and pantaloons to the denim one-pieces covering sallow, naked flesh.
Season One follows an eclectic group of Cajun bayou-jumpers as they patrol the massive Atchafalaya Swamp, on the hunt for alligators. That's right: it's time to wax some gators! For thirty days, swamp people have license to track down and take out alligators for money, in an effort to help control the gator population and keep the hungry reptiles from searching for food sources closer to human population centers.
For ten episodes, running six hours and fifty minutes, we follow different groups of swampers as they tear through the wetlands, wrangling gators and shooting them in their heads.
If you're a card-carrying member of PETA, I'd say there's an excellent chance you will be looking elsewhere for your entertainment. The gator hunting is presented in virtually all of its gory detail. We see the baits, the lures, the hooks, the wrestling and, ultimately, the high-caliber round in the brain pan (though the camera slides aside in time so we don't see the gator's head fly apart).
And that will be pretty much all you'll see in this show. It's alligator hunting for ten episodes and that's it. Some episodes feature their own "Big Bads," noteworthy alligator bad-asses with names like "Big Head" and "Houdini," and the shows build up to their inevitable demise. But as cool as it is to watch these gruff yokels fly around in their boats blasting away at alligators, it definitely grows tedious. The brief character side stories -- and they are characters -- aren't enough to spice things up, leaving us, the target demographic that doesn't even mind televised reptile slaughter, thinking what once was unthinkable: "I'm getting bored of all of this alligator murdering."
Episodes receive attractive 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers and 2.0 stereo mixes (listen to those outboard motors fill your living room!). There's a boatload of bonus footage for extras.
The Swamp People are cool and all, but I can only take so much.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: History Channel
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 410 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Footage
* Official Site