5 Best TV Shows About Junk
As the economy lingers in the trash can, people are become more accustomed to buying secondhand items. Whether it be from garage sales, thrift stores, or just plain trading, people are getting used to the idea that it is smart to shop thrifty.
With this mentality comes a rise in popularity for TV shows about junk and junk collecting.
Here is our list of the 5 Best:
5. Auction Kings - Discovery Channel
Auction Kings is one of the later forays into the Junk TV game, premiering in late 2010. But they offered viewers something that had been lacking in most of their predecessors’ shows - the true value of items. On many of the shows, you only get to hear what the hosts think the item is worth, and that is usually taken as gospel.
On Auction Kings, you get to see what an expert thinks the item is worth, then get to see what it actually sells for.
Pros: get to see true value; cast is entertaining; behind the scenes look into the world of auctions; they show success and failure
Cons: the cast is not the easiest on the eyes, and they usually wear the same clothes over and over again.
4. Storage Wars - A&E
Also entering the Junk TV game in 2010, Storage Wars has made a name for itself by showing a world of junk many never knew existed - storage auctions. When the owners of storage units fail to pay their bill, the contents are often sold in a public auction. What makes it interesting is that you usually don’t know what you are bidding on, and have to trust your gut instinct based on what you can see in the few moments you have before the auction starts.
This show plays to those of us interested in junk, and also maximizes the risk and gambling angle through clever commercial breaks. The characters are entertaining and the individual dynamics between them make for interesting drama.
Pros: great reveals; experts to better value good finds; entertaining characters; Brandi Passante (gorgeous);
Cons: don’t get to see true value of items, just what they think it’s worth; drama between characters has been growing and threatens to overwhelm the junk; Dave Hester’s “Yehhhppp” call when he bids (though I find it funny).
3. American Pickers - History Channel
Premiering in early 2010, this was one of the first shows to make a name for itself in the junk game. It follows the travels of two “pickers,” Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, who run Antique Archaelogy. They drive the back roads of America, often stopping on a whim to pick through an old barn or shed.
This show is on our list for many reasons. The characters are funny and entertaining, and the show finds a way to make you feel like you are really learning about Americana and why certain items are valuable, and why others aren’t.
Pros: entertaining characters; great educational aspect; makes the junk the star; Danielle (cute and sassy); sometimes get to see what items sell for
Cons: enduring optimism can get overbearing; often don’t show what items actually sell for; though trying to hit new parts of America, is at risk of being repetitive.
2. Pawn Stars - History Channel
Debuting in 2009, this was the first show to kick off the recent interest in junk tv. I have always said that if the characters in a show are interesting, I’ll watch it. It could be about goat herding, lint collecting, or even....a pawn shop.
For those who have watched Pawn Stars since the beginning, it has been an interesting progression to watch the guys grow. Chumlee tries to get more responsibility; Corey tries to prove he can run the store; and Rick continues to try to establish himself as the man, despite the lingering presence of his “old man.”
Pros: first to the game; constantly showing new items and traveling to new locations to scope out items; humorous; good educational aspect about the items and the history behind them.
Cons: constantly checking with experts makes you wonder what they actually know themselves; never seem to buy the big ticket items;
1. Antiques Roadshow - PBS
This show is the godfather, father, patriarch and boss of all junk shows. We must bow down to the original.
Though the original version of this show started in England in the late 1970s, most of us know only the American version on public television, which became popular in the 1990s. Not a particularly exciting show, it is the best at educating viewers on “junk” (note: most of the stuff on here isn’t technically junk, but usually valuable antiques and artifacts).
This show has the best reveals. There is nothing like watching a 90 year old woman become speechless because the item she bought for $5 at a yard sale is worth $50,000.
Pros: has inspired many pickers and collectors, as well as shows about junk; is on public television (no commercials!); constantly traveling to new cities and regions, and featuring local museums and shops; great reveals and surprises; execellent educational angle
Cons: mostly geared towards old people; many items are boring;