Anyone who grew up buying baseball cards remembers that special thrill of the unknown with each fresh pack. The mystery of the wrapper had an allure that exceeded the actual contents of the pack. The possibility of getting a Mike Schmidt existed with each one. The reality of getting a Mike Schmidt, well, not so common. Heck, I gave in one year and paid my friend $1 for his Mike Schmidt card that I just couldn’t find. And I got yelled at for it too.
When you’re a little older, you might get hooked on the mystique of buying older sealed packs. How much would you pay now for a single pack of 1973 Topps cards knowing that there might be a Mike Schmidt rookie in there… or a John Boccabella? It’s the unknown that keeps you buying and furiously unwrapping, but it’s a little different now because part of the hunt is connected to an established value, not just a picture of your favorite player.
That appears to be the primary motivation for the stars of the A&E reality show “Storage Wars” who have returned for a second go-round after a wildly successful debut season.
The format remains the same as in Season One and is as simple as could be. People show up to an auction for old storage units that have been abandoned by their owners. They bid on them. They sort through what’s in there. They tally up the value. The end.
The appeal of the show is…well, I’m not sure there is much. The appeal of the hobby/profession is more evident. The storage unit is opened and every potential bidder is allowed to look from the outside. They cannot step in to the unit or move anything around. Usually, they’re only able to see the junk piled at the front, and that means there might be something good hidden in back. Or maybe in one of those drawers of that ratty old bureau just visible off to the side. Maybe a T206 Honus Wagner! No, wait, it’s John Boccabbella. But maybe the next one.
“Storage Wars” tore up the ratings in Season One in large part because of its characters, and the producers have played up the conflicts among the motley crew even more in the second season. Dave Hester and his patented “Yuuup!” shout irritates Darrel Sheets more with each auction, and Darrell seems to have made it his mission in life to take down Dave. Meanwhile Jarrod Schulz and his partner and wife Brandi Passante, the “Young Guns” of the first season, have seen their business thrive in the past year and now feel ready to step up to the big leagues to take down Dave and anyone else. Barry Weiss remains as eccentric and generally hapless as ever, usually buying the units nobody else wants, and either taking a loss or finding himself unable to actually sell anything of value. Season Two gradually reveals to us that Barry has some connections in Hollywood, with a few celebrity guests stepping in to help him identify items.
It would be more interesting if they really discovered some gems in the process (Why is the plane upside down on this stamp?), but most frequently, Dave or one of the other guys will be thrilled because they paid $900 for a unit and found about a dozen pieces of jewelry that could sell for $150 a pop. There’s a nice piece of antique furniture or wall decoration here and there, but nothing that makes you go wow. The Storage Wars business is more of a grind ‘em out affair, in which you make your living just piling up small values for a bargain price.
Still, I have to admit the show is compulsively watchable even though I don’t find it particularly interesting. For me, it’s the perfect show to put on in the background when you’re doing something else. I guess that’s not a ringing endorsement, but by now I’m pretty sure I’ve watched them all, so I keep coming back for a reason. I’m just not sure what it is. Maybe I’m waiting for the day when they find something really awesome. It’s in that next unit, I’m sure of it.
Whereas the previous release of “Storage Wars” included all 19 episodes of “Season One,” please note that that is listed as “Storage Wars, Volume Two” not “Season Two.” Season Two has run 32 episodes so far, and this volume includes the first 14 of them, as follows:
Hang ‘Em High Desert
Buyers on the Storm
Pay the Lady
Santa Ana Street Fight
Enemy of the Enemy
Fire in the Hole
Tanks for the Memories
Land of the Loss
Almost the Greatest Show on Earth
Bowling for Dollars
Get Him to the Mayan
Fu Dog Day Afternoon
Each episode is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The interlaced transfers are solid if unremarkable; no production flaws are evident.
The episodes are presented in Dolby Digital Stereo. The audio design consists almost entirely of dialogue which is clearly, audibly mixed. No subtitles are provided.
None, not even liner notes. Just seven episodes per disc, each running approximately 21 minutes.
Season Two (at least the first 14 episodes of it, which are included on this two-disc set) is exactly the same as Season One. The show remains centered in Orange County, CA and Los Angeles with the occasional trips up north or into the desert. They frequently drive past my old stomping grounds, and I wish the show had been in production when I lived there. Oh well. “Storage Wars” has been so successful that A&E has introduced “Storage Wars Texas.” I’ll leave you to guess what that’s about.