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.
However, the issue is that they do not haul these supplies over roads a lot of the time. They haul them over "ice roads", which are not roads at all, but vast sheets of (potentially slick) ice that could buckle at any moment. There's also the matter of the sub-zero temperatures, long hours and desolate, lonely routes. Not only is it potentially a dirty job - it's an insane job.
"Off the Ice" and "Off the Ice 2" are two season ending summaries for the series, where the truckers are brought together in order to discuss their job, answer questions (including questions from truckers) and review some of the highlights from the season. Some of the clips are astonishing, such as one instance where a trucker goes through the ice and has to be rescued. Meanwhile, a row of thirty trucks have backed up behind the scene - and the ice is cracking. Another scene has one of the trucks carrying what appears to be a silo, which starts to rock back and forth as the truck makes its way down the icy road.
While the clips are entertaining, the crew chatting about some of the incidents that occured during the season can be a little dry at times, and while the questions may be from truckers, they don't result in too many insights about the business. Overall, I wished I was watching the episodes instead, making me question as to why these episodes weren't simply included as extras on the full season sets for the series.
VIDEO: Both 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: "The Ice Road: Then and Now" is a 44-minute documentary that provides a good overview of the history of the ice road, from the early pioneers to the current realities of the business. While some patches of the documentary are a touch slow, it's otherwise an informative and mostly enjoyable overview.
Final Thoughts: "Ice Road Truckers" is a thrilling look into an incredibly tense, white-knuckle job that happens to take place in brutally cold conditions. However, fans should drive right by this DVD edition, which provides a trio of features that should have been included on the DVD season sets. This gets a "skip it", not because of the series itself (which is highly entertaining), but the fact that there's no reason to buy this (which offers a pair of "look back" episodes) for $12 when the full first season set is available for about $8 more on Amazon.