There are some shows on The History Channel where an argument can be made how much historical content they deliver - with Pawn Stars, one can point to the fact that the show's "characters" at least provide a good deal of detail about the information regarding all of the various items that find their way into the store.
With "Swamp People", we get a title card before the episodes that informs us that "The way of life depicted in this series goes back 300 years." The way of life in this case revolves around a group of people living in the swamp who hunt gators. Doesn't hunting in general go back quite a ways?
There's nothing of great historical significance here - there could have been a few little discussions about the history of the area or other aspects, but there's really not much beyond the core of the charaters hunting. However, that doesn't necessarily mean it's not a mildly engaging series, just that it's not particularly informative about, well, history on any level. The show essentially takes from the "Ice Road Truckers", "Swamp Loggers" (which could have made for a great cross-over episode), etc genre.
Essentially, take different groups of people who spend their lives doing a seriously difficult, dangerous task, take one season of their work and cover it, reminding people every-so-often that the team needs x amount more to fill their quota for the season. In this case, the series follows a series of gator hunters in the Atchafalaya Basin swamps of Louisiana.
The series bounces between different groups of gator hunters as they encounter the creatures and try to bag as many as possible. There are definitely close calls and dangerous moments, but the various crews eventually get their targets and move on to the next one. There's a fair amount of personal dramas and tension as the stress of having to round up their quota of gators during the season - and it's a brief season, lasting only thirty days.
Overall, the series certainly does manage some tense moments, but there's not a great deal of variety - by the end of the season, the series starts to feel a little repetitive. I can't see the series lasting more than a few seasons - there's just not that much to it. Still, maybe I'm just not in the audience: the second season saw improved ratings.
This set offers the complete second season.
Swamp Showdown 07/21/2011
2 Days To Tag Out 07/14/2011
Two Captains, One Family 07/07/2011
House Divided 06/30/2011
Rising Pressure 06/23/2011
Beat the Clock 06/16/2011
It's Personal 06/09/2011
Full Moon Fever 05/26/2011
Rising Sons 05/19/2011
Deadly Skies 05/12/2011
Dark Waters 05/05/2011
Hot Pursuit 04/28/2011
First Mates 04/21/2011
Shooting Wild 04/14/2011
Hunter or Hunted? 04/07/2011
Gator Gauntlet 03/31/2011
VIDEO: The series is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen by A & E. The presentation is decent, with acceptable sharpness and detail. The picture is certainly not fuzzy, but generally has a slightly-to-mildly soft look. Some minor shimmering and a couple of traces of pixelation are also spotted on a handful of occasions. Colors look well-saturated and generally clean, although like the rest of the transfer, not noteworthy in any way.
SOUND: Clear stereo presentation with a good deal of outdoor ambience.
EXTRAS: Deleted footage.
Final Thoughts: "Swamp People" starts to get rather repetitive after a while, but it manages some tense moments. The DVD offers minimal extras, but fine audio/video quality. Fans of the series should take a look, but others who haven't seen the series should consider trying a rent first.