Ice Road Truckers - Season 2
Starring: Hugh Rowland, Alex Debogorski, Rick Yemm, Drew Sherwood, Eric Dufresne, Jerry Dusdal
Created By: Thom Beers
Premieres: Sunday, June 8 at 9 p.m. ET on the History Channel
This Sunday night The History Channel is bringing back Ice Road Truckers. In the first season of this documentary series, the show followed a group of men as they trucked cargo over frozen lakes. This season, they take it a step further as some of the guys from the first season, as well a few new men haul their rigs over the Mackenzie River and the Arctic Ocean. Yes, apparently it is possible for the ocean to freeze and what’s more, for a brief window of time during the winter, when it’s extremely (ridiculously) cold, the ice is thick enough to hold the weight of a truck. In the new season, the guys are hauling drilling rig parts to some remote location north of the Arctic Circle.
Of the truckers returning for the second season are Hugh Rowland, Alex Debogorski, Rick Yemm, and Drew Sherwood. Hugh’s used to being the boss but now on this new job he has to adjust to having a boss as well as managing a truck on tougher ice road conditions than he’s accustomed to. Rick returns sporting a blue mohowk and the determination to prove himself after having been fired by Hugh last year. Drew’s another one with something to prove after having quit early on last season. Unfortunately, things don’t get off to a good start for Drew this season.
In the second season premiere, we get to see the guys’ families saying goodbye to them as they head off for the job. Most of the families have seen the first season of the show by now and have a better idea of what it is their loved one does for a living. It’s interesting to hear some of their thoughts on the job and the fears they have now that they know just how dangerous this line of work really is.
Among the show’s newcomers are two guys who are definitely not new to ice road trucking. Eric Dufresne has been driving the ice roads since he was 19. The other new guy is Jerry Dusdal, the field supervisor. As the man in charge, it’s his job to take care of the rest of the truckers and make sure everyone stays safe.
Ice Road Truckers is one of those no-frills reality series that shines most of the spotlight on the actual work and people who risk their lives doing it. There’s no glamour in this type of work but for some reason, that doesn’t make it any less impressive. There is definitely a fair level of suspense built into the series given the nature of the work these guys do. For one thing, the producers don’t hold back in adding in that horrifying ice-cracking noise that seems to follow the guys as they drive over the ice. There are also some shots of the water underneath the ice, constantly reminding us that these men are driving just a few feet above water (freezing, ice cold water).
One other thing that I noted in terms of the production is that this series relies quite a bit on narration. Since the men are usually busy trying to not freeze to death, maintain the truck and drive it safely over the ice, it’s understandable that they don’t have an endless amount of time to explain what’s going on to the camera. The narration fills in all the blanks, explaining everything from where the guys are going, to what the conditions are as well as the risk factors in what they’re doing. There is a fair amount of one-on-one time between the truckers and the camera though. As compared to what I remember from the pilot episode of the series, it does seem like the guys have gotten more comfortable in front of the camera, which makes things a bit more interesting and allows us to become more invested in their personal stories.
Overall, I’m finding myself much more interested in Ice Road Truckers this season than I was when the first season premiered. I’m sure at least part of that is due to my waning interest in the more superficial (fake) reality series that continue to air on some of the other networks. The rest comes from the extreme nature of this line of work. And considering this season is taking things to an even more extreme level in terms of the conditions the men are facing, I’m definitely curious to see how each of them manage this time around.
For more information on Ice Road Truckers, check out The History Channel’s website.