>> American Restoration: Volume 1 (2011)

Show: American Restoration

Season/Volume: 1

Genre: Reality

Starring: Rick Dale

Studio: A&E Entertainment

Runtime: 200 minutes

Release Date: November 15, 2011

Format: DVD

Discs: 2

Rating: 3.40 (out of 4.00)

Grade: B+

Official Site

It may be a spin off of Pawn Stars, but American Restoration is much more interesting to me because people doing stuff is always better than people selling stuff. Though "much more" is an odd way to phrase it since I have no interest in Pawn Stars at all.

Rick Dale, who has appeared on that pawn show a bunch of time as an expert and to restore items, becomes the center of this show about his shop where they restore old stuff to make it look like new. Often times they are restoring items for other people, but they also restore things for themselves so that they can make the lucrative cash of selling the restored item to a collector.

Every episode begins with the following little speech:

Remember back in the day when things were made by hand, and people took pride in their work? My name's Rick Dale, and I bring these things back to life. Every restoration has its own set of challenges. There's no owner's manual for what we do, but there's no job we can't handle.

and that really sets the tone for the show. Each episode has them working two or three projects. A classic golf cart, a bicycle, a chocolate bar dispenser, lamps, a tire air meter, a toy train, a popcorn machine, a Coca-Cola cooler, a Pepsi fridge, a barber shop pole, an air defence siren, a fire extinguisher, a Gemini space helmet, a slot machine, a motorcycle, and so much more. In every case they take an item beaten down by time, often non-functional, and they reconstruct it with classic parts or construct new parts for ones no longer available.

I could sit and watch stuff like this all day long. If I weren't a software developer and writer, I'd probably be doing something like this, working with my hands.

The History Channel releases its shows on DVD is a very weird way. This Volume 1 is all of Season 1 (four episodes) and then the first 12 episodes of Season 2, making for 16 episodes in all. There are another 18 episodes to Season 2, 16 of which will probably make Volume 2 someday, with the remaining 2 and 14 of the inevitable Season 3 will make up Volume 3, and so one. It almost makes you want to pull your hair out. Even so, this is a very good set of episodes and well worth watching.


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