AMERICAN PICKERS: MIKE & FRANK'S PICKS (DVD)
A&E Home Video / 2013 / 315 mins / NR
How many American Pickers episodes could the Pickers pick if Pickers picked the best Pickers episodes? According to this DVD, it's seven. Sure, there has been a glut of reality series which involve little more than dudes haggling, but American Pickers has a little more to it than most others of the new sub-genre. It doesn't make it must-watch TV, but if you had to pick a picker program this would be the one.
The show follows Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, two guys who travel around America hunting for great deals on rare collectibles. They strike up deals and receive help from their assistant Danielle in researching the best buys. And they buy just about everything from vintage war memorabilia to classic pinball machines. Most of their deals either end with a successful bargain, an equal trade or a game of chance as Frank challenges one dealer to a spinner game for his offer to be acceptable.
This 2-disc set features 3 episodes chosen by Mike, 3 by Frank and 1 by Danielle. Most of the episodes are quite noteworthy as when Mike and Frank trade an elephant head to Jack White for a black-and-white photo booth used in his music videos. Other episodes feature some amazing samurai artifacts and the famous bar from the movie Urban Cowboy. It's amazing if not to witness some of this cool junk then to hear to valuable insight from the leads.
So what separates American Pickers from the other reality barter programs? While it does lack a certain amount of character development, it makes up for it with informative flow. These guys are very knowledgeable of just about every item they come across and additional information is presented in quick factoid graphics. The bartering is kept relatively quick and simple without drawing out the tension as the prime focus of the show are the items themselves.
It's a good thing, too, that the picks themselves take center stage since they're not only the most interesting part of the show, but the only thing that works well about it. The Pickers themselves don't really have a lot of character development and appear mostly as happy-go-lucky bargain seekers. But, then again, maybe that's a good thing. There are plenty of reality series that try to wrap too much character drama and subplot into their jobs. American Pickers is straight and to the point about what it's about and what the audience really wants to see without all the fluff.
Lionsgate provides another gorgeous looking DVD set for a History Channel production. The widescreen video transfer looks about as crisp as can be expected from the format and the Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is a clean mix with perfectly clear dialogue.
Unless you count the episode introductions and Danielle's pick for best episode, this 2-disc set comes sans special features.
In terms of cool and rare collectibles, American Pickers delivers on what matters most. This set is a decent collection that gives you just enough interesting episodes to be worth a watch. It's a short and sweet DVD release for those not willing to drop the coinage on a season set.