After the success of "Deadliest Catch", a series of additional shows covering extremely difficult jobs popped up on various cable channels. All of the shows are incredibly intense and compelling, but there are certainly quite a few edge-of-your-seat moments in "Ice Road Truckers". The series, which airs on the History Channel, focuses on a band of truck drivers who drive massive rigs across frozen wasteland to haul vital supplies off to remote areas. Fox has apparently even gotten the rights from the History Channel to do a feature film based upon the series.
"IRT" is, however, not "Ice Road Truckers". Well, not exactly. The producers wanted to expand the concept and "IRT" sees a trio of pairings - Hugh Rowland and Rick Yemm, Lisa Kelly and Dave Redmon, and newer drivers Tim Zickuhr and Agustin "Tino" Rodriguez. The groups go on various dangerous deliveries to remote areas to deliver supplies.
The concept of "Ice Road Truckers" worked partly because of the the sheer desolation and horrendous conditions. Not only were the weather conditions often tremendously poor, but the giant trucks could often swerve on the ice or worse. To top it off, at times the ice would be weak enough to start to crack as the trucks went over it.
The previous season of "IRT" was in the remote areas of India, but this time the show heads to remote areas of Bolivia and Peru, and the season launches viewers into a difficult situation right away with a road literally called "The Death Road" somewhere in the Boliva. One of the truckers loses a passenger side mirror right away ("We didn't need that one anyways..."), but the key concern is really the width of the road itself, which isn't much wider than the truck. That wouldn't be so bad if there wasn't a huge drop on the side of the skinny roads.
You don't want to have a mechanical problem on these roads, but not surprisingly, the truckers certainly do at points along the way (with trucks that are more primitive than the ones on the "Ice Road".) Or run into things like waterfalls, crumbling roads that have been washed out or even busses that aggressively lean on their horns in order to try and pass a trucker on a road no bigger than the truck. It's not long before a couple of the drivers decide to give up and go home (one of which is replaced.) Aside from the high roads,the truckers run into other insane routes, including a gigantic salt flat, which is a salt crust of varying thickness built up over a lake. The salt, of course, does damage when kicked up into the truck. Later in the season, the groups head to Peru - where things certainly don't get any easier.
"IRT" isn't quite as consistently tense as the adventures across the ice, but it's otherwise a mostly very enjoyable expansion of the franchise.
DISC 1: The Death Road / Rise of the Rookies / Lisa Vs. The Devil's Bridge / The Replacement Trucker
DISC 2: Death Race / The Flattest Place On Earth / Oxygen Required
DISC 3: Desert Disaster / The Hangover / Dead Man's Canyon
DISC 4: King of the Road / Landslide! / Bull Run / Bonus
VIDEO: Episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen by the History Channel. The transfers for both episodes are quite good, as the image remained crisp and detailed throughout most of the running time. A couple of slight instances of artifacting were spotted, but there were no additional concerns. Colors appeared accurately presented and nicely saturated. Overall, these episodes looked slightly better than broadcast quality.
SOUND: The show's stereo soundtrack remained crisp and clean throughout, with well-recorded dialogue.
EXTRAS: Just under 40 minutes of bonus/deleted footage - some of it's just filler, but there are some genuinely tense moments that likely were dropped for time, such as crossing a bridge in Peru that looks to be made of mud and logs.
Final Thoughts: "IRT" isn't quite as consistently tense as the adventures across the ice, but it's otherwise a mostly very enjoyable expansion of the franchise. The DVD offers very nice audio/video quality, as well as some minor extras. Recommended.