Reality TV’s fascination with strange occupations and avocations has produced some odd programs, but few more tedious than “Storage Wars.” Essentially, this A&E series focuses on lowlife, bottom-feeding scavengers waiting for people to abandon storage units and then bid on the unknown contents hoping to unearth hidden booty — in what amounts to educated gambling. Frankly, they could have covered the whole thing in an episode of another new A&E show, “Strange Days With Bob Saget,” and would have been a stretch to fill even then. Otherwise, “Wars” should have been left in storage, indefinitely.
Instead, we get another one of those titles (and somebody ought to apologize to George Lucas for this one) in search of a show — in this case from “Deadliest Catch” producer Thom Beers, who’s really scraping for chum here.
As for the cast of oddball characters — ostensibly meant to be colorful — their primary attributes include bad hair, bowling-league attire and describing their endeavors in heroic, “I’m a gambling man” terms, without a trace of irony.
Granted, one can argue that such programs, including History’s “Pawn Stars” and Syfy’s auction series “Hollywood Treasure,” tap into a recessionary desire to mine moolah from unexpected sources. Such deeper meaning, however, proves elusive in the sheer banality of the process — basically, taking stuff from poor bastards who didn’t pay their rental fees — and this show makes its thematic brethren look like “Gone With the Wind.”
Even the money scratched out in the episodes previewed amounts more to a skirmish than a war though we’re told plenty of big-fish stories about units filled with priceless comicbooks or collectibles.
One of the intrepid storage warriors, meanwhile, inadvertently sums up the program. Perusing a storage space along with other auction pros, he snorts, “A lot of people are looking at this unit and all they see is junk.” We hear ya, pal.
Thankfully, A&E (which ordered a dozen half-hour episodes) will air them two at a time, freeing up space on the network, anyway, that much more quickly.