"Storage Wars" has become one of cable's most successful reality shows and enough of a hit at A & E apparently felt the need to run the show into the ground by creating two spin-offs. While I'll largely bypass discussing the lack of ideas evident with TV programming and the lack of understanding about why the original works as well as it does (not only concept, but casting - see also "Pawn Stars" - why the original works as well as it does it because of the people), I'll say that I continue to find the original entertaining.
The concept is simple and straightforward. If someone does not pay for their storage unit at a Public Storage-type facility, the contents are put up for auction. The unit is opened and people cannot go in and look, they have to bid sight-unseen on what may be inside. Certain clues (how people wrapped things, etc) may indicate the level of items that may be found hidden away. Highest bid wins.
"Storage Wars" has included a handful of occasional guests, but the series regulars remain Dave Hester, Darrell Sheets (who needs to be played by Randy Quaid if they somehow, for some bizarre reason, make a "Storage Wars" movie), Jarrod and Brandi and, last, but certainly not least, the wonderfully bizarre Barry Weiss (additionally, A & E was foolish to do "Storage Wars" spin-offs with people when they should have just given Barry his own show.)
The series has faced criticism for being fake - including from star David Hester (who is no longer on the series after, well, calling it rigged - including giving some examples - link.) It's pretty evident that the series is staged to some degree, but I think that's one of those things where I think producers don't always know what makes interesting TV.
On "Storage Wars", it seems like rarely do the bidders not find SOMETHING (well, aside from Barry, unfortunately - although given that Barry is the most well-off of the group, he seems to be in it more for his own bizarre fun than anything else.) If the series is faked to some degree (which I've always thought was the case - Spike TV's "Auction Hunters" is even more obvious), what's interesting television (at least I think) is the possibility that there may be absolutely nothing of value in the locker.
If there's usually SOMETHING, there's no real sense of tension or urgency, because the viewer knows it's likely the bidders will find something of notable worth. Take a look at Travel Channel's "Baggage Battles", where occasionally a lost bag that's bid on has nothing but someone's old clothes. It has been said by those familiar that storage locker bidding is a numbers/volume game - the reality is that there's going to be a number of lockers with nothing, but then there's the locker with something great.
If Hester is no longer going to be on the series (and he's seen less and less on these episodes), that's certainly going to take away from the show. Despite his issues with the series, he made for a terrific villain and his "Yuuuupp!" catchphrase only added to his status as reality TV's best villain. As for being a "villain", this is really a "reality" (emphasis on the "'s) series about characters as much as it is concept, and Hester was a terrific character. I don't think the series will be the same without him. However, if Darrell is not available for an episode or two, please someone consider subbing in Randy Quaid in his place. Please?
Additionally, the nice aspect of the DVD is that every "What the heck is this?" or "What do we have here?" isn't followed by five minutes of commercials.
P.S.: It may be entirely staged like much of the rest, but the end of the second episode offers the most amusing Barry Weiss bit of the entire series.
This is another "volume" of the series,not a complete season. It includes:
Episodes From Season 2:
49 2-31 Blame it on the Rain
50 2-32 50th Episode: Viva La San Francisco
Episodes From Season 3
52 3-01 Third Eye of the Tiger
53 3-02 May The Vaults Be With You
54 3-03 The Iceman Carveth
55 3-04 Here's Looking at You, Kenny
56 3-05 A Civil Accordion
57 3-06 More Like WRONG Beach
58 3-07 All's Fair In Storage and Wars
59 3-08 The Fast and the Curious
60 3-09 From Russia with Chucks
61 3-10 The Full Monty-Bello
62 3-11 Dial C for Chupacabra
63 3-12 The Ship Just Hit the Sand
64 3-13 Willkommen to the Dollhouse
VIDEO: A & E offers the series with a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation that is generally crisp and clean, resembling how the show looks on cable.
SOUND: Clear, dialogue driven 2.0 audio.
EXTRAS: 40 minutes of deleted scenes.
Final Thoughts: The show always seemed staged (although maybe even more than I'd guessed), but it's still entertaining. The DVD offers fine audio/video quality, as well as some deleted footage. Recommended.