Ice Road Truckers: Season Three

Ice Road Truckers: Season Three (2009)
A&E Home Video
Cast: Hugh Rowland, Lisa Kelly
Extras: Deleted Scenes

The third season of 'Ice Road Truckers' brings its dangerous, heavy hauling to Alaska's North Slope to see the truckers handle a new set of land. The goal is to get the loads from Fairbanks to Deadhorse, an Alaskan city on the cusp of the Arctic Ocean while facing a wide variety of challenges along the 400 plus mile Dalton Highway. With unpaved sections of road, peaks and valleys that resemble a rollercoaster, and ultimately ice roads on the Arctic Ocean, the men (and now woman) have to worry about the terrain, weather conditions, and how other drivers can affect the load being carried. While the six figure payout is tempting for all, truckers are continually reminded about why only the best of the best are called upon to become 'Ice Road Truckers'.

Ice Road Truckers are brave souls who tackle an extremely dangerous terrain to accomplish a job that needs to be done. The show sheds light on select individuals to show the world that for every driver, there is a story behind the wheel. Season three of 'Ice Road Truckers' introduces the world to Lisa Kelly, a former Motocross champion who is much easier on the eyes than her fellow truckers. How will she handle the transition to another male dominated profession? Tim Freeman looks to follow in his father's footsteps under the tutelage of George Spears, a newcomer to the show, but very experienced driver who is looking to turn in his keys and retire. Does Tim have what it takes to handle such a rough terrain? Hugh Rowland and Alex Debogorski find themselves in trucker boot-camp. It is one thing to sit behind a simulator with an instructor helping out, but how will these guys react when Mother Nature is threatening to end their game? The show does a great job with what the movie world refers to as character development. Without getting a peek at the 'human' side of the drivers, viewers are desensitized what happens to the truckers when they face whiteouts, jackknives and rollovers. The show succeeds in giving enough 'personal' story to the drivers so that things are more intense when their professional lives are challenged. These stories are just a few that provide the arc for season three.

'Ice Road Truckers' continually tells viewers about the things that could happen, but curious rubberneckers may be a bit disappointed with the final results. While the show does show the stress involved with hauling a 300 mile load with no brakes, it is not filled with footage of rollovers and accidents as some may think. When drivers face dangerous situations, the action shifts gears to an animated reenactment to show what may happen if the driver does not regain control of the vehicle. While I certainly don't promote exploiting an individual in the name of entertainment, 'Ice Road Truckers' certainly wants you to think the next episode is going to show footage of a trucker in an accident. The animations are used a bit better when they explain how certain things drivers do can actually make it more dangerous for others on the road. It adds a bit of depth by filling in the gaps that the Average Joe may not be aware of. The episodes are certainly educational, but I am not sure what historical relevance it provides to be aired on The History Channel.

Shooting in 1080i video certainly has advantages when it is time to release a blu-ray. The majority of scenes look fantastic. When the camera is outdoors during the day, 'Ice Road Truckers' brilliantly captures the beauty of Alaska. Even with a heavy white backdrop, the detail is very crisp and will impress fans of the series. There are only a couple of times when there is an obvious drop in quality – night scenes and the stock footage used for avalanches. Outside of that, I can't imagine the third season of 'Ice Road Truckers' looking much better than it does on blu.

I love that the blu-ray format provides a DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio track. Rather than try and fill a 5.1 surround field, the track enhances the audio while remaining true to the source. Purists should love this approach. Dialogue is perfect. Even the annoying narrator comes across loud and clear with his Bob McKenzie meets Howard Cosell approach. The rumbling of the diesel engines and the cracks from the Arctic ice as truckers roll over the slippery 'road' are very distinct without overpowering the rest of the soundfield.

There is about thirty minutes of additional footage found on the third disc in the set. It is more of the same and I applaud the decision to not add any additional footage to the episodes that were originally aired on the History Channel. This is certainly a treat for those who kept up with season three as it trucked along.

'Ice Road Truckers' gets high ratings and was even nominated for an Emmy in 2008, but it is not for all viewers. While I feel it deserves an 'A' for effort, it is not a show that really captures the attention of the reality television geek in me. Fans of the series will be very pleased with the latest season to hit the blu-ray format. The audio and video are excellent and there is even some extra footage to chew on after watching the season finale. Overall, I feel 'Ice Road Truckers: Season Three' is worth a rental. Find out if it is a show for you before heading out for a purchase.