Plot: What’s it about?
The tradition of loggers runs deep, as some families have been in the business since before the West was even settled. The trade is a dangerous one, where life and limb are always at risk, but these crews push on. The modern logger has more tools at their disposal, but added tools can be mean added problems. The machines can malfunction in countless ways, which can lead to delays or even injuries. In northwest Oregon, Ax Men follows four crews through a season in the timber. In the light, the crews work tirelessly and try to keep ahead of the weather and terrain, while night finds them in remote outposts, far from the world’s creature comforts. As the season rolls on, the crews will face all manner of obstacles, but if anyone can hew down those problems and round out the season, it is the Ax Men.
The History Channel’s trend of shows based on unusual, often dangerous professions continues with Ax Men. These fourteen episodes follow four logging crews in Oregon, as they work through a full season. I wasn’t taken with Ax Men right off, but after a few episodes, I warmed up a little. As with most shows of this kind, the drama comes from not only the dangers of the job, but the social interactions involved. So expect to see some conflict between the workers, which helps spice up the series, which tends to become a touch dull at times. I suppose I was spoiled by Ice Road Truckers, a series that remains intense throughout, as Ax Men seemed to be too inconsistent. I did appreciate the narration here however, which helps provide some historical perspective and also keeps the flow of the episodes on track. I wasn’t impressed with Ax Men, but if you’re a fan of similar shows or have an interest in this field, then by all means, give this first season a look.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 non anamorphic widescreen. I have voiced my displeasure over the lack of anamorphic enhancement before and of course, I still feel the same. The image here is fine, with a clear and sharp presence, but it could look better with a little more effort. The colors look good and contrast is accurate, so no concerns there. Again, this visual treatment is passable, but it should have been anamorphic.
Audio: How does it sound?
The world of the blades and trees sounds acceptable in this stereo soundtrack, but don’t expect too much. This is about what you’d hear if you watched the show on television, solid, but unremarkable. The sound effects come across well, but don’t have much depth, while dialogue and narration are smooth and free from errors. So not a dynamic presence, but the show sounds fine.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes some additional footage.