What I’ve Been Watching: Television – Pawn Stars

pawn-stars-season-two-large.jpgPawn Stars is disappointingly not a reality show about the chess grandmasters. Instead, it’s Antique’s Roadshow. Only set in Las Vegas, and instead of starring well-spoken, upper-class English experts, stars three generations of big, straight-talking Yanks.

The premise is fairly straight forward: each week a variety of customers come in with objects, some valuable, some not so much, and the guys try and get the best deal they can.

One of the joys of the show is the huge variety of items customers bring in: vintage guitars to shark teeth, hot air balloons to prohibition whiskey.

The way the story behind each item is told is also very well done: with a bit of history behind items of its kind being given; followed by a rough description of the item; how much it was bought for; and finishing with the eventual reveal of its actual value.

The only thing that would prevent me from tuning into Pawn Stars regularly is its lack of serial drama.

As I discussed on a recent podcast, when talking about Lie To Me, I’m not a fan of procedurals. And reality shows, like dramas, can equally be divided into serials and procedurals.

In the category of serial reality TV shows I would put shows as varied as Big Brother, The Hills, and X Factor. Why? Each week, the ‘story’ of the show develops, causing the next episode to potentially be ‘must see’ television.

Pawn Stars, like Supernanny or The Secret Millionaire essentially follows the same format each week. So while the personalities may be different, the narrative is always the same. There’s bargains, mistakes, arguing, but nothing ever really changes. You don’t need to have seen the last episode to understand what’s happening in the current one.

Despite not being blown away by it, Pawn Stars still makes for a very diverting thirty minutes, to the extent where each episode seems like it’s over too soon.

Series 2 of Pawn Stars is currently airing in the UK on The History Channel every Monday at 9:30. You can also check out a full episode online right now over at their website.


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