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Category:    Home > Reviews > Stunts > TV > Nitro Circus – Season One + Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory – Season One (MTV DVDs)

Nitro Circus – Season One + Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory – Season One (MTV DVDs)


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



While “reality TV” takes its tired twists and turns, with VH-1 canceling a few of its shows, there is plenty more where that came from.  MTV helped make the cycle possible and offered a wacky twist years ago with Jackass.  Now, lead star Johnny Knoxville is producing two more shows in that mode, if not with the outright “let’s do the dumbest possible thing” approach.  Nitro Circus shows the exploits of Travis Pastrana, his best friends and family doing X-Game-styled stunts and Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory is a spin off of the hit Rob & Big show.


The shows are aimed towards the same energetic viewers as any other new-styled sports show, but are more different than you might expect.  If anything, they show the difference between how to do one of these shows well ands how not to do one at all.  Dyrdek’s show seems trapped in formula and in the form that made Rob & Big a hit, but that does not help here.  He even makes an appearance on Nitro Circus where he seems out of place, unhappy and held back.  Unless you really like the toys and are already a fan of his, this show will seem like everything you have seen before.  In later seasons, they need to open up into new formats or expect to get axed.


Nitro Circus on the other hand is a big surprise.  Featuring the group who formed Nitro Circus on their own to begin with, this is a team of daredevils who will try any wacky stunt and instead of just getting hit and hurt for dumb reasons, it is goal based and highly competitive.  Pastrana is the host, brings some of his family along, then there is his crew including Andy Bell, Jolene Van Vugt, Jim DeChamp, Erik Roner, “Streetbike” Tommy and various behind-the-scenes people and guests.  With more money, they come up with wackier stunts and records to set.  One show is based on breaking as many Guinness Book Records as they can; another has Jackass cast members as guests.


What separates the from the rest of the X-pack includes its energy, the chemistry of the team, the ideas for stunts they come up with, how more than likable they are and how good they are.  With all the annoying digital effects in action films any more, seeing talented risk-takers who know what they are doing here is a refreshing throwback to the best movie stuntwork of the past, with a few stunts even referencing films here.


Because they are working and playing hard, they do not have time for bad “reality TV” acting or other phoniness that has ruined much of TV as we know it.  Also, when Johnny Knoxville has showed up, he really gets into the spirit of things (as does Steve-O when he joins them) making this MTV’s best new non-music TV series in years.  I hope Nitro Circus runs longer than The Real World.



The letterboxed 1.78 X 1 image and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on both are good, but not great.  I could see Nitro not being from a High Definition source, but Factory is mostly local and indoor locations, so it is just a matter of lower budget in that case.  As for extras, both have footage from jackassworld.com, previews and deleted scenes.  Nitro adds a Music Video by The Dropkick Murphys of “The State Of Massachusetts”, the theme song of the series on DVD 1 and Bonus Stunts, Bonus Outtakes and MTV.com interviews, while extras on Factory include uncensored audio, cast commentary, Factory clips and a behind the scenes special.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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