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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > History > Education > Archive > Book > Antiques > Collectibles > Reality TV > America: The Story Of Us Collector’s Edition (Box Set with Book)/American Pickers – Volume Two/Only In America w/Larry The Cable Guy, Volume One/Pawn Stars – Volume Three/Storage Wars – Season One/Top

America: The Story Of Us Collector’s Edition (Box Set with Book)/American Pickers – Volume Two/Only In America w/Larry The Cable Guy, Volume One/Pawn Stars – Volume Three/Storage Wars – Season One/Top Shot Reloaded [Season Two] (A&E DVDs)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B/D/D/D/D/C     Main Programs: B/B-/D/C+/B-/B-



A&E and The History Channel now have a pretty consistent, stable set of his reality TV shows, but they are not always as obnoxious as the usual fare.  They still too often have the same style, but can go beyond the usual if the subject matter is interesting.  We now look at a current cycle of such shows and a new edition of a hit mini-series.



We first covered America: The Story Of Us Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray and you can read all about it (especially if you missed it) at this link:




This new DVD edition not only adds an extra DVD with the Modern Marvels episode on The Statue Of Liberty, additional scenes from the mini-series and a terrific 400+ page book companion in a paperboard box that makes for a nice gift set.  Hope a Blu-ray version surfaces sometime soon.



Though the show has some nice moments and shows some rare items, American Pickers tends to have a cynical underside that says its co-stars Mike Wolfe & Frank Fritz are openly exploiting, ripping-off and celebrating tricking people into selling them valuable items for lower prices than they should.  This sense continues in this Volume Two set over the eight episode here.  No one has acknowledged this and the guys at least know this to some extent when they start to brag and if anything, it gives buyers a bad name and makes them look like con artists to at least some extent.  I still like the show, but this aspect deserved to be addressed.  There are no extras.



Far worse and totally useless is Only In America w/Larry The Cable Guy, V.1 (now known as the man who ruined Cars 2 for many) is just awful all around and you are better off skipping unless you are a diehard fan of Mr. Git-R-Done.  This is just so bad, there is nothing more to say about it.



Much better is Pawn Stars – Volume Three which is better than American Pickers in the integrity department and has actually improved as it has moved along.  We covered Season Two at this link, which will give you more of an idea of how the show works:




This 3-DVD, 16-epiosde set has no extras, but is compelling viewing usually and some of the items you’ll see here you’ll never see again.


Not as good but also interested in getting rare items is Storage Wars – Season One in which a gang of competing people are willing to blindly bid for items left behind (abandoned, held for storage space unpaid for, etc.) to see what they’ll get if they pay enough.  There is something oddly underhanded here too as one wonders if the storage company has tried hard enough to get these items back to the original owners/storage clients.  However, it is not unethical and these things obviously happen.  This 3-DVD set has no extras.


Finally we have Top Shot Reloaded [Season Two], finally following the interesting debut season of the show in which experts marksman and markswomen compete for prizes and each other to see who is the best.  You can see more about the debut season at this link:




The premise of the original show is that they had the best gunslingers they could find and that it would be a mini-series, but this surprise follow-up is not bad and about on par with the first, though I would recommend the first before you see this set for reasons of flow.  The 4-DVD set has extras that include four featurettes: The Top Shot Experience, Extended Team Selection, Weapons Rundown and Anatomy Of A Shot.



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo across all six releases are about on par with each other, including some softness in the image and lossy limits in the sound.  Otherwise, this is consistent with A&E/History DVDs in these genres, though I wonder if the other shows will see Blu-ray.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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