American Pickers
History Channel reality shows have a tendency to spend too much time focusing on personal life drama. Cajun Pawn Stars is practically unwatchable because of how little time they actually spend buying things, but American Pickers actually employs the right balance with ninety to ninety-five percent Frank and Mike buying things and five to ten percent Danielle managing the shop. Consequently, the hour-long episodes get in dozens of fascinating items and great pieces of history, and the best part is that not all of them are huge purchases.

That’s one of the reasons why Mike and Frank are such a great combination to watch. Mike is typically more interested in buying big items with a potentially large profit margin and Frank is obsessed with bundling little items like toys and oil cans together. That back-and-forth, along with the factoids the show provides in graphics, offer a wide range of items viewers can learn about, and since everyone they visit has different kinds of items, the show never feels old or redundant. The 2012 episodes were just as good as anything the program has given us, and with any luck, that momentum will continue.

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