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Category:    Home > Reviews > Reality TV > Antiques > Collectibles > Bidding > Auctions > Dance > Music > Biography > American Pickers, Volume Four (2011/A&E DVDs)/The Beatles: Their Golden Age (MVD DVD)/The Callers: The Art Of Auctioneering (2012/First Run DVD)/Dance Moms – Season One/Pawn Stars, Volume Five (2011/

American Pickers, Volume Four (2011/A&E DVDs)/The Beatles: Their Golden Age (MVD DVD)/The Callers: The Art Of Auctioneering (2012/First Run DVD)/Dance Moms – Season One/Pawn Stars, Volume Five (2011/A&E DVDs)


Picture: C+/C/C+/C/C+     Sound: C+/C/C/C+/C+     Extras: D (Callers: C+)     Episodes: B-/C/B-/D/B



Now for some reality TV and other special interest releases…



American Pickers, Volume Four continues the adventures of Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe going to any locale where they can get into someone’s vast collection of collectible, buy what they can for the least amount of money and make a profit on it.  They have fun and the show can be fun, but they can be crass at times and at this point in the series, it seems like they are overly hyping up the yelling, hooting and hollering in what feels like desperation.  Still, the 2-DVD set has eight episodes and they still know how to find interesting items, so the most important aspect of the show still works.



Featuring none of their classic music, The Beatles: Their Golden Age is a slap-together look at the band with often too-rough archive footage that can be hard to watch, a mixed narration on the band and is something that is just not that well done.  The Beatles Anthology was far superior and after endless indie Beatles releases, this is pretty unnecessary.  Save some good footage here and there and when the narrator is on the money, this is a poor disc worth skipping unless you are a diehard fan of the band.



Susan Sfarra’s The Callers: The Art Of Auctioneering (2012) makes for a nice companion piece and alternative to shows like Pawn Stars, American Restoration and American Pickers by showing small town auctions and bidding from the point of view of the oral tradition of being the person who speaks the bid over a microphone.  It also shows us the less valuable items often up for bid and how for some, it is survival or a way of life.


With many interviews and questions you would never see asked on Auction Hunters, we get 89 minutes of another side of Americana and it is much quieter than its TV series counterparts.  I thought this was well done and worth going out of your way for, especially if you like any of the series noted.



Made in Pittsburgh, Dance Moms – Season One (2011) has to be one of the worst reality TV shows of late with a teacher (Abby Lee Miller) who is always angry, bitter and rather obnoxious.  She makes bad situations worse, is dysfunctional and the young ladies trying to dance all seem to be exploited throughout.  A moderate hit, I hope this show folds soon because I expect disaster from it soon and it makes the city it comes from look bad.  Why do parents put yup with this?  Is she the only dance teacher in town?  Likely not.  What a cynical exploitation show.


Last and not least we have Pawn Stars, Volume Five (2011) which is as strong a set as we have seen to date with more goodies going into the 24-hours-a-day Las Vegas store run by the three generations of Harrison men.  Some of the items are one-of-a-kind, others priceless and this also offers one of the funniest shows to date.  We get 16 episodes over two DVDs and it only makes me wonder why this is not on Blu-ray.  A really good set.



The 1.33 X 1 image on the Beatles DVD and anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Moms are both softer than expected and weaker than they should be. The remaining DVDs are anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 and though they are also HD shoots, they look better despite their moments of softness and motion blur.  Color is good on all the discs for the most part, but not great.  The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on all five DVD releases are good, but the A&E shows are better than the Beatles piece or Callers because of their lower budgets and other audio issues.


There are no extras on any of these discs except some extra footage (yikes) on Moms and Callers offers Bonus Scenes, Bonus Interviews and a PDF guide to being a caller of bidding and auctions.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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