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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Biography > Drugs > Science > Health Care > TV Mini Series > Reality TV > Bill Moyers On Addiction (1998/Acorn/Athena DVD Set)/IRT Deadliest Roads: Season Two – The Andes (2011)/Storage Wars, Volume Three (2011/A&E History Channel DVD Sets)

Bill Moyers On Addiction (1998/Acorn/Athena DVD Set)/IRT Deadliest Roads: Season Two – The Andes (2011)/Storage Wars, Volume Three (2011/A&E History Channel DVD Sets)


Picture: C/C/C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+/C-/C-     Episodes: B/C/C



Special interest programming used to be about fun things and intelligent programming, but reality TV has ruined all that.  Contests or a race for money can off-set some of that idiocy, but not always.  Here are three new releases that make us draw those various comparisons.



Bill Moyers On Addiction (1998) is an as-relevant-as-ever documentary mini-series that is as relevant as ever, going deep into detail that being a drug addict can happen to anyone and is not just a stereotype of uneducated, wild or lower socio-economic persons as was a myth that was always there and gained a new odd popularity in the 1980s.  This features many interviews with experts, addicts, former addicts and many more.


I remember how painful ands sad this was when it first aired and while people have found help since then, so many new groups of people have fallen into the same traps that cause addiction and in a few ways, things have become worse as some pop culture segments encourage drug abuse and people abuse, as social programs there to help (along with psychiatric help) have been cut, unemployment gets worse and an angry new culture (fueled in part by reality TV) has also risen.  Glad this set has arrived and not a moment too soon.  It holds up remarkably well.


Extras include a nicely illustrated booklet on the series including informative text, while the DVD adds a resources section for people to help themselves or other persons in trouble, a text Moyers biography and 19-minutes long “Rebuilding Lives” featurette from Moyers’ NOW series with former addict David Lewis.



IRT Deadliest Roads: Season Two – The Andes (2011) has more drivers anxious to make money, but really putting their lives in danger.  Though this is not a contest show (the lawsuits and FCC would end that quickly), it is taken as fine for these drivers to go and drive where there is no road to make a living and in all case because they (say they) have no other way to make the kind of money involved.  Shades of Clouzot’s Wages Of Fear and Friedkin’s Sorcerer remake, a little of this can go a long way and unless you can really get into it, you will get bored quickly.


Since it is a hit, there is enough of an audience for now to sustain the show.  I’ll be curious to see how long this lasts.  Bonus footage is the only extra.



Finally we have Storage Wars, Volume Three (2011) which is a show that I thought started out well with the first episodes and then tanked by the second set (both reviewed elsewhere on this site).  This set of shows are not as obnoxious and annoying as the second set, but the show is ruined for me and there is something shrill and hitting a phony note here that make watching contrived.

Unless you are a fan (start from the beginning if you arte not to give the show the best chance for yourself), this is not a great set either.  I like any show where people find valuable things, but this is the first one to actually make that annoying.  Bonus footage is the only extra.



The 1.33 X 1 image on Moyers is soft, but the surprise is that it is not much worse than the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on IRT (which has so much motion blur and other issues that they are dead even in playback quality) and Wars (the best of the three by default) are not much better.  The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound on all three sets are also about even (more so than the image) because the Moyers material is recorded professionally despite its age and harmonic limits, while the newer shows have location audio issues and other flaws (some talking gets subtitled) because they are not in the studio like the older show.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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