Sparks fly, the lock is sawed off; the doors swing open, and the Storage Wars begin—if you’re a fan of storage hunting, then you already know the drill. Storage Wars is the American A&E reality TV series that brought the thrill of storage auctions to the masses by following the lives of storage hunters like Dave Hester, “The Mogul” or Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante, “The Young Guns,” back in December 2010. Now it’s Canada’s turn to partake in the Storage Wars. It’s been nearly a year since the first episode of Storage Wars: Canada debuted on the OLN on August 29, 2013, and if you haven’t had a chance to check out the new series yet, you may be wondering, just how well does the Canadian Storage Wars stack up to the A&E original?
Meet the Cast
The best place to start when critiquing a reality television show is the characters, because it’s the drama and the crazy personalities that keep people coming back for more. Storage Wars: Canada follows six storage hunters as they compete against each other, while braving the harsh weather of the Great White North, to claim hidden treasures within storage lockers.
Roy Dirnbeck “The Instigator” As the “villain” of the show many like to compare him to the original Storage Wars’ Dave Hester, in that he’s not interested in making friends or even chump change. Dirnbeck will do whatever it takes to be the top bidder, and is “not interested in dealing with garbage.” With a steady flow of cash from his successful courier company, Roy can put his money where his mouth is, and will use everything from dirty tricks to sheer determination to come out on top.
Ursula Stolf “The Knockout,” A newcomer to the storage locker scene, Ursula hails from Woodbridge, Ontario. Having made a pretty penny in the fashion business re-selling high-end clothing and accessories online, Ursula sees great potential in storage auctions and opened her first locker during the premier of the series. She uses her high heels and tight dresses to distract other bidders.
Paul and Bogart Kenny “The High Roller and The Kid” This father and son duo once bought a set of china for $750 and re-sold it for a whopping $30,000. The father, Paul Kenny brings 30 years’ experience as a professional poker player to the bidding wars. Working together with his son, they have made a decent living buying and selling collectibles. The two don’t always see eye to eye and can make for some entertaining father son banter.
Cindy Hayden and Rick Coffill “The Veterans” Cindy and Rick have found their fair share of treasurers as “The Veterans” on the show. They once turned a pretty profit on a $2,500 storage locker with the discovery of a $50,000 diamond ring. Cindy and Rick are both fiercely competitive and love to intimidate newcomers and by aggressively running up the bid.
Don Reinhart “The Auctioneer” With 48 years of experience setting up auctions across Canada, Don has seen it all. Descending from a long line of auctioneers, Don has been holding auctions since 1965. His vast network in the industry allows him to bring the most entertaining customers and interesting storage lockers to the show.
Do they Stack Up to the Americans?
While these characters all sound good on paper, what really matters is how they perform on screen, and that’s where we’ll find how well Storage Wars: Canada measures up to the competition. When the original Storage Wars premiered, the general public had seen few glimpses into the secret world of storage auctions, and the series’ second season premiere attracted 5.1 million total viewers. When it comes to Storage Wars: Canada however you’d be hard pressed to find any numbers posted online, and that’s not usually a good sign. The closest thing you can find on public reception of the show is in the comments sections of YouTube clips and a 4.2/10 rating on IMDb based on a mere 40 votes at the time of this writing. By comparison, Storage Wars has a healthy 6.7 based on 5,356 users.
Why the Lukewarm Reception?
Few things are ever praised to be as good as the original, and some of the most common complaints include a variety of feelings stemming from the awful aftertaste of left by allegations of Dave Hester claiming that Storage Wars is faked, to overall distaste for the characters, to an overall apathy and ennui of the genre. One reviewer commented on how the banter among the characters seemed a little too forced, like a desperate attempt by the cast to live up to their nicknames.
Not Canadian Enough?
One of the more interesting things people have been saying about Storage Wars: Canada is how un-Canadian the whole series seems to be. Despite taking place in the Great White North, many feel the show seems like a retread or carbon copy of the American Storage Wars. Granted you do have to deal with Canadian weather, and the types of junk you find in the storage lockers are less guns and more international oddities than the original. But aside from a few subtleties the series doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
There’s Still Hope
While many might claim that the storage hunting franchise has gotten old and tired, chances are good, especially if you follow our blog, that you know how fun and entertaining hunting for treasure in a storage auction can be. That story still deserves to be told, and Storage Wars: Canada is in a good position to show the world how Canadians do storage auctions. As the cast gets more used to their characters and get to know one another, the banter should become more organic over time. If they stop trying to be like the old Storage Wars and start personalizing their characters Storage Wars: Canada just might stand a fighting chance.
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