Plot: What’s it about?
A two month window is all that remote Canadian mining outposts have to transport supplies in, which means those two months are critical. The path to these outposts isn’t a standard road however, instead it is a strip of ice over frozen lakes, forming the most perilous road in the world. The trucks that travel the ice road can weight over twenty tons, so as time passes and the ice is worn down, danger is ever present. The truckers who brave the ice road can reap immense financial gains and for some, the two month season is viewed as a competition. Some of the truckers compete to haul the most loads to the outposts, while others simply want to earn the extra cash available for the dangerous treks. In Ice Road Truckers, you’ll be able to watch as one season passes, complete with all the tension you’d expect.
I wasn’t sure how I would like a show about truckers, but Ice Road Truckers is a unique, insightful series. The show introduces us to the brave truckers who will dare to pass over the ice road, then follows them through the two month cycle, so we’re there for the good and bad. The trucks travel on ice over frozen lakes, so as you can imagine, the tension is immense and at any given moment, the ice could crack or give out. So each trip is like an adventure and for these truckers, the trip is a chance to earn huge amounts of cash in a short period. In this environment, bravado is present and that leads to rivalries, as truckers compete to haul the biggest loads and earn the most income. In this first season we also see rookies of the ice road and that provides a different perspective, as we see how the newcomers cope with the conditions. Ice Road Truckers is a tense, but enjoyable series that takes us on a fragile path, one that doesn’t always hold. The History Channel’s release of Season One looks good and has some appropriate supplements, so if you’re interested, this release is worth a look.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in full frame, as intended. I was satisfied with how the show looks here, as it looks as good, if not better than when shown on television. The image isn’t as refined as some of The History Channel’s show, but given the extreme conditions involved, that is expected. The visuals look clear and clean, as good as we could ask given the show’s location and circumstances of the subject matter. So if you’ve seen Ice Road Truckers on television, then you know about what to expect, though as I said before, the episodes do look a little better here.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is fine, but unremarkable. The nature of the show, with tense atmosphere and powerful engines, seems like it could use a boost, but the material is well handled. I couldn’t tell much of a difference between this DVD release and the television broadcast, both sounded good, but unmemorable. But since this is a documentary series, the audio is live and in the moment, so we can’t complain too much. All in all, the show sounds fine here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The most substantial extra is the episode of Dangerous Missions that deals with the truckers, an episode that is credited here as the show’s pilot. While more self contained than the show’s episodic nature, the Dangerous Missions episode is still enjoyable and a most welcome inclusion. An additional five featurettes round out the supplements, in which we learn more about the truckers and get a feel for how the series was produced.