The Bastard Children of the Antiques Roadshow
Public television's Antiques Road Show has been on the air since 1997. The show features a migrating band of antiques appraisers, who are shown a parade of neat antiques brought in by locals. The experts predict a value of the antiques and attempt to elaborate on the histories of the items.
It is really interesting. Even in a young country like America, tons of crazy, unexpected stuff shows up. I've never counted, but a single hour-long show might feature 18-25 items.
A bunch of other shows propel the plot with neat items. Once I noticed the pattern, I realized how similar these shows are.
By the way, reality shows are fake.
Pawn Stars - People bring in neat items to sell or pawn. The pawnstore owners sometimes offer to buy their items.
It is possible that all of the items showcased on the show really showed up through the normal course of this shop's business, but a more likely scenario is that the producers rustle up interesting people and collectors to bring in items to be featured on the show.
According to IMDB, the store is emptied whenever a segment is filmed.
Storage Wars - Four teams of antique dealer/ treasure hunters attend and bid on abandoned storage lockers, finding fun, neat items inside and discovering the items' value. After a couple of years on the show, one of the stars, Dave Hester was released from the show and told his side of the story.
“The truth, however, is that nearly every aspect of the series is faked.” he reported. His lawsuit alleged that Storage Wars regularly plants valuable objects in lockers — a trick known as salting. The suit accuses the production of staging entire storage units and asking Hester to salt lockers with his own memorabilia.
American Pickers - Two antiques dealers travel the country exploring barns and unearthing valuable objects within. If they find something they like, they will buy it and reveal the potential resale value of the item.
The show could be augmented with interesting items seeded into otherwise unspectacular barns. The point is to show a dozen interesting items during each show, and to tell their histories.
American Restoration - A team of restoration artists reviews a few interesting items and restores them to a like-new condition.
Auction Hunters - A pair of antique dealers explore the treasures they find in abandoned storage lockers.
Car Chasers - A pair of dealers explore, buy and sell rare and exotic cars.
What's in the Barn? - One host travels across the country to find and explore rare vehicles.
Savage Family Diggers - A family of metal-detecting treasure hunters finds buried items. It would simply be much easier to fake this show than to rely of finding a few interesting items during each show.
Auction Kings - Colorful characters from a small auction house showcase and prepare items for auction, then wait in anticipation to see what the eventual sales price will be.
The auctions seem legitimate, but a shill bidder could be used to inflate the sale price and recover the item for the actual owner. Four items are showcased in each 30-minute episode.
Oddities - Items arrive and are sold from a partiularly eclectic antiques shop in New York City.
Antiques Roadshow is the king of this genre. The show features non-stop waterfall of historical information and a mad spectrum of historical items. If you love any of these other shows, and aren't watching for the colorful characters and interpersonal drama, you'd probably be better off watching Antiques Roadshow.