How Auction Hunters Stacks Up...
It should be no secret to anyone who regularly reads the blog that I love pop culture and fancy myself a television aficionado. In my opinion, television is an art form, and in recent years with the rise of cable programming becoming more and more popular, television only gets better. The story telling is just as good if not better than most movies because the medium allows time for stories to grow and breathe over the course of years, and for characters to develop in a way that makes them feel more real and rounded.
This doesn’t change for me whether the show is scripted, or been given the dubious title of “reality television.” I can appreciate these shows in the very same ways, no matter what anybody says regarding authenticity.
The first thing I did after being hired as the content writer at Storage Unit Auction List was to consume as many hours of Storage Wars as possible on the recommendation of my co-workers. I thought it would make for a fun weekend watch and also thought it would give me a great overview into the world of storage auctions and what I learned would make for a great introductory blog.
Since then, I’ve seen quite a lot of Storage Wars. I love the California cast, get a kick out of the New York gang, and I even remain a fan of the Texas bunch. Because I’ve done so much watching of Storage Wars, it hasn’t left a lot of time for watching similar shows. Besides, I’ve always heard Storage Wars was the best from the genre, so why bother? But then people kept suggesting I checked out the other guys and I finally had to relent. I decided to start out with Auction Hunters, as I've heard good things about it.
Several years back, I was a fan of a little show called Veronica Mars, about a cheeky girl detective in sunny Southern Cali. The show revolved around young Veronica helping her dad, a disgraced Sheriff, solve the murder of her best friend. Oh and there was also a lot of relationship drama between Veronica and her revolving cast of boy suitors. Her main squeeze through most of the show was Logan Echolls, a brooding bad boy who was just misunderstood. And who doesn’t love a misunderstood bad boy. The actor who portrayed Logan was played by a guy by the name of Jason Dohring.
I kept hearing that one of the guys from Auction Hunters was a part time actor as well as an auction hunter, and when I first got a look at him, I could have sworn it was Jason Dohring himself. And while I later did my research and found out that it was instead Allen Haff, you gotta admit that the resemblance is uncanny. Am I right?
Once I realized my mistake, I got down to the business of watching the show. Luckily, currently most episodes are available online.
The format of the show is very similar to Storage Wars in that we go through the auction process with the cast, as well as following the cast as they get certain items appraised.
Where the shows differ a bit is that normally on Auction Hunters, the stars of the show, Allen and Ton, actually barter on screen to get the items sold. Then at the end of the show, they give you a wrap up of how much they spent on the units versus how much they made, and show the math on screen to give you a total. On Storage Wars, the cast normally gets items appraised on screen, but they only occasionally actually barter to get the items sold. They also normally just show a general profit at the end of each episode. Auction Hunters goes a bit further in terms of explaining where the profits come from per each unit.
I also like that throughout each episode, the show inserts on screen pop ups with additional information on the history of certain items and their historical importance or value. It lets me feel like I’m really having some knowledge dropped on me.
In terms of the cast of revolving appraisers and purchasers, I’d say the shows are about even. All the appraisers seem knowledge and seemed to really love and be interested in the items that they are speaking about.
I have to say that I really enjoy the cast. While Storage Wars focuses on several bidders, and I love them all, Auction Hunters focuses on just one team of two guys, Allen and Ton, who attend auctions around California. Both guys also act on the side, and Allen has even participated in other reality television programs in the past, and I think this gives them an on screen advantage, because they feel natural and comfortable in front of the cameras and while like with any reality television, the show is produced with cut away sound cues and looks of surprise/concern/anticipation during key moments, overall the guys don’t seem to go out of their way to amp up the drama. This is especially welcome during bidding sequences, where the guys decide how much to spend, and normally play it pretty professional and keep their cool, at least on the episodes that I’ve viewed so far.
Even when they do go out of their way to drive up a bid, or give a fellow bidder a bit of a hard time, it doesn’t seem nearly as personal as on Wars, where people seem to genuinely dislike one another at times.
I also like the two guys together, and they have a nice chemistry. Plus, I appreciate a word pun like nobody’s business and if you put their names together they are Haff Ton. Get it? Get it? (I crack myself up, what can I say.) I do appreciate the guys distinct personalities and interests in terms of collecting and their knowledge on a wide range of items. For example Ton is obsessed with guns and military gear and Allen seems to be drawn more towards antiques, toys, bikes, guitars and other hobby items. They remind me of The Odd Couple a bit, and I’m a sucker for “buddy” programming.
I’ve got to say that while watching Auction Hunters, I started to miss Dan and Laura of Storage Wars. The auctioneer regularly shown on screen may be a great auctioneer and by the book, but that doesn’t always make for great television. The auctioneer featured more prominently does have his very own catch phrase, “ Looking Time Is Over. Buying Time Is Here.” But overall he just seems a little joyless.
But Is It Better?
I think both shows have their own flavor that make them unique and fun. I like that on Storage Wars, Barry brings big fun to every auction with his shenanigans, and the rest of the cast delivers in huge personalities. On Auction Hunters, I appreciate the extra information that they provide and the fact that they give you a bit more of a breakdown at the end of each show. I am also a fan of the two leading fellas and their on screen personas.
Both shows provide in the amazing finds and informative appraisers and purchasers, but Storage Wars is king when it comes to catch phrases and auctioneers.
Overall, both shows are entertaining and helped me to understand the auction business in slightly different ways. So it's a good thing that I don't have to choose just one and I can continue to watch both!
Stay tuned for my dissection of Storage Hunters, and my pick for a dream team of all star auction hunters!
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