Storage Wars Volume 2:
My friends, I want to tell you we've reached such a screen-enabled level of disconnect from our own lives that a person can name any job, type of relationship, or aspect of life, and it will sound like a good reality show. But before those shows get made, we have to wade through every variation on already established motifs, which is where Storage Wars comes in. Zeroing in on a highly specific realm within the world of auctions, Storage Wars represents an amalgam of Antiques Roadshow and Pawn Stars, as it follows a small, repeating cast of second-hand dealers who get much of their merchandise when abandoned storage lockers are auctioned off to the highest bidder. It's a concept that sounds intriguing, becomes rote within mere minutes, then morphs into another evilly addictive way to detach from our own lives.
Each 21-minute episode (there are 14 present in this collection) centers around a few auction regulars, the stars of the show. There's working-class couple Jarrod and Brandi, and even more working class schlub Darrell. There's evil genius Dave, and cool '60s thriving survivor Barry. They blend nicely into a rough approximation of probably most of the people you know, or are. Jarrod's plucky and has something to prove, Darrell's passive and easy-going, Dave is smart, serious, and sometimes aggressively mean spirited. Lastly there's Barry Weiss in his cool glasses and skeleton gloves; he's just in it for the laughs, man, often giving away the cool things he finds.
Every episode is exactly the same. Our bidders and a rotating cast of others meet at the storage units. Auctioneer Dan Dotson reminds bidders of the rules of bidding on units and assures them that "whoever has the most money in his pocket can certainly own it." A unit is opened up, the bidders have five minutes to peer inside (without entering) before the bidding starts. Jarrod or Darrell will usually state the day's motivation, generally along the lines of, "I gotta get this locker," and the bidding war begins! Unit winners then go through the contents, talking us through their game. Usually Jarrod and Brandi squabble, which is always cute. As far as used goods merchandizing is concerned, the bidders often find enough in their unit, that they might be able to turn in their second-hand shops, for at least recouping their bids.
Yet somehow, somehow, one of the canny bidders (usually Dave Hester or Barry) has a hunch about a locker, ultimately finding some type of treasure in the back corner. It's off to one of their friendly expert friends to get an appraisal before potential profits are weighed against bids, and a winner is declared. (Never mind the fact that potential profits are mostly calculated on the spot, usually as Jarrod estimates he can sell a used blender for fifty bucks.) The right mix of personalities, a simple, enticing concept, and our innate desire to look through other peoples' stuff makes Storage Wars a deviously delightful way to kill half an hour, even if it probably wouldn't pass the never used "Reality Television Reality Test".
For dyed-in-the-wool Storage Wars fans, this 'Volume 2' collection might not pass the test either, coming on the heels of the Complete Season One collection previously released. Though not explicitly stated on the cover, 'Volume 2' releases roughly just half of Season Two episodes, so if you're looking for the whole enchilada, you'll have to buy it in two volumes. Here's a list of the episodes included:
Hang 'Em High Desert
Buyers on the Storm
Pay the Lady
Santa Ana Street Fight
Enemy of the Enemy
Fire in the Hole
Tanks for the Memories
Land of the Loss
Almost the Greatest Show on Earth
Bowling for Dollars
Get Him To The Mayan
Fu Dog Day Afternoon
In general terms, it's the first fourteen episodes from Season Two, and even if you're not inclined to be a packrat, your rental dollar would be well spent on a couple nights diving through the storage units with this gang of misfits.
A&E presents these episodes in their original broadcast ratio, that perplexing non-anamorphic widescreen shrunken down to fit a 4 X 3 frame. The image is otherwise free of compression artifacts or transfer problems, with natural colors and decent contrast levels. It's a standard quality release for Cable TV on DVD.
Dolby 2.0 Stereo gets the job done with little fanfare or, really, anything for which a fanfare might be played (or blown). You can hear the bidders clearly, you can hear the auctioneers clearly - sort-of - and that's about all there is to say about that.
Extras are limited to English and Spanish Subtitles.
Presenting 14 of 31 episodes from Season Two, Storage Wars Volume 2 does not form a complete season collection, so be on the lookout for yet another Season 2 volume of this quirky, raggedy cast of characters bidding on unclaimed storage lockers, and hoping for a big score. The right mix of personalities, a simple, enticing concept, and our innate desire to look through other peoples' stuff makes Storage Wars a deviously delightful way to kill half an hour, even if it probably wouldn't pass the never used "Reality Television Reality Test". However, for a few night's worth of reality diversion (step back and think about that concept for a bit) Storage Wars Volume 2 is powerfully persuasive Rent It contender.
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com