Breaking News: More TV Junk Merchants

I get the TV Guide RSS feed, so there are always little breaking news tidbits about new shows. Today there’s a post about The Great Big American Auction, which will be hosted by Ty Pennington (who looks more and more like a troll doll every time I see him).

This is a great example of how small cable shows start a trend, and then seasons later, the big networks pick up the concepts. Because auctions and memorabilia shows have been showing up all over the cable channels. Oh, I’ll totally check out this Ty Pennington one (that hopefully, Ty Pennington won’t ruin for me), but I totally dig quite a few of the other shows about junk merchants. At least with their ginormous title, this new ABC show won’t be as easily confused with some of the others.

Here’s what we watch:

American Pickers (History): Frank and Mike scour the country, looking for people with eight barns full of collected junk on their property. They buy various things (that always seem to include oil cans, bicycles, motorcycle parts, and giant old tin signs) and turn them around for resale at their store, Antique Archaeology. The show is a full hour, but there’s a lot of filler that can be fast-forwarded through — mainly the stilted phone conversations with Danielle back at the shop, and anytime Mike talks to the camera with a discomforting sales-huckster tone.

An episode of American Pickers showed some of these folk art paintings of skeletons over the top of old portraits, but they didn’t talk about them at all. The guys were more interested in their tin signs and bike parts. I wish I knew who this mysterious “BA” is, so I could acquire some of these.

Auction Hunters (Spike): Allen and Ton buy up auctioned-off storage units, then find all sorts of magnificent collectibles inside. They actually did a really nice special episode all about how they gauge how much they’ll bid on a unit, and what they’re looking for. It’s a tight half-hour show, and they almost always come up with some really cool stuff. My biggest issue is that Allen is 30 years too young to be tucking his t-shirts into his jeans the way he does. But both guys are decent, and this is the only junk show in which I don’t dislike anyone.

Auction Kings (Discovery): The day-to-day workings of a real auction house, Gallery 63. People bring in their junk, professionals are brought around to appraise, and then we see the auctions. Most of the team seems tolerable, except for the office manager — her “funny” antics are the most cringe-inducing part of the show.

Storage Wars (A&E): This was the first of the junk shows we tried. It follows a set group of storage-unit auction buyers, and the stuff they find. The buyers all have different angles (the collector, the thrift store owners, the consignment dealer) and are all looking for different things, but frequently enjoy screwing each other over in the auctions. A couple of the buyers we dislike all the time, and a couple of them we just dislike some of the time. But I still like seeing some of the cool collectibles get appraised, and it’s always nice when a character you don’t like gets stiffed on something.

We tried watching an episode of Oddities, but it didn’t capture us — the pace was too slow. We still catch the classic Antiques Roadshow now and again, but that’s pretty slow-moving too. Though you can always count on Roadshow to show you something ghastly hideous, then appraising it at $10,000.

Anyone have any other collectibles shows to recommend? Since I don’t want to live in a thrift store inside a Russian submarine, I’d like to live vicariously through other people’s junk collections.

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