The bar for Canadian reality shows has been raised.
It’s amazing to reflect on the fact that it has already been four years since the last episode of Canadian Idol, and how the entire scope of alternative programming has changed in this country since then. It started with the incredible success of Slice’s Big Brother Canada, which looked like anything but a cheap Canadian version of a hit U.S. program. It continued with CTV’s The Amazing Race Canada which currently boasts the highest level of production value ever seen on a Canadian reality program. While Shaw Media and Bell Media have both pulled up their proverbial boot straps of their reality programming, Rogers has now laced ‘em up as well with the premiere of Storage Wars Canada on OLN tonight.
When I initially heard about a northern version of A&E’s ratings juggernaut, I was quite skeptical. I believed that the format of kooky characters bidding on delinquent storage units and almost always finding a hidden treasure of some sort had become tired. Certainly audiences must be sick of the ‘storage saturation’ on their televisions every day especially with the launch of New York and Texas spin-offs currently airing as well. I didn’t think that there was room for another, even if it was emanating from a different country.
After screening tonight’s premiere episode of Storage Wars Canada, I can tell you that I was wrong.
Storage Wars Canada will succeed because unlike the American spin-offs, the shows does not deviate from a formula that has already been proven to work.
There is one villain. There is one hot girl. There are a couple of veterans. And there is a father and son duo. Except for an eccentric older bidder like Barry Weiss (who I am sure they are saving for a potential Season 2 casting), the cast is perfect and follows Thom Beers’ successful model to a tee.
I know that the cast will hate me for typecasting, but certainly the similarities to the original Storage Wars cannot be understated.
Roy Dirnbeck = Dave Hester
Dubbed “The Instigator” on the show, Roy is certainly the villain of the series. The Mississauga resident already owns a successful courier company and uses the auctions as both an outlet for his expendable income and to collect items for his man-cave. It seems like he enjoys antagonizing the other contestants more than he actually does winning the auctions that he does. He has also already gotten into the spirit of a post-reality career by starting his own clothing lined called ‘Instigator Wear.’ Tell me this doesn’t sound like a bio for the Yuuuuuuuup-master himself, Dave Hester? There is no doubt in my mind that the success of Storage Wars Canada, rests solely on the shoulders of Roy Dirnbeck. No pressure Instigator Man.
Ursula Stolf = Nabila Haniss
The similarities between Ursula and her U.S. doppelganger Nabila are also quite striking. Both are the outsiders at the auctions and are capable of pulling off some surprising finds. Ursula is also very good-looking and on a show that sometimes feels like a boys club fraternity party, her presence is definitely needed. Let’s just say that there is a reason why her nickname is “The Knockout.” Her story is that she is a supply teacher by day and a storage hunter by night. A relative newbie to the storage locker scene, Ursula resells her finds online. Expect her to be the show’s resident fashion expert. She’s also my favorite for obvious reasons.
Cindy Hayden & Rick Coffill = Jarrod & Brandi Passante
While Cindy and Rick are “The Veterans” on Storage Wars Canada and Jarrod and Brandi are “The Young Guns” on Storage Wars, the couples are definitely the protagonists on their respective shows. Fans watching the show will almost always be pulling for Cindy and Rick as their genuine nature and kindness resonate through the screen. While Cindy initially locks horns with Ursula as the attempts to mark her territory, it’s clear that she is still the heroine of the series. Just like their U.S. equivalents, Cindy and Rick also own a store and use the auctions to stock their merchandise.
Paul & Bogart Kenny = Darrell & Brandon Sheets
This one is too easy. Canada’s father and son duo are almost a spitting casting image for Darrell and Brandon Sheets from the U.S. version. While Paul and Bogart are called “High Roller & The Kid” and Darrell and Brandon are “The Gamblers,” their stories are strikingly similar. Both Paul and Darrell are trying to teach the storage business to their respective sons.
Storage Wars Canada will breathe new life into OLN and I have every confidence that it will quickly become the network’s flagship show. The idea of finding something out of nothing or turning one man’s trash into another man’s treasure will always be a compelling concept. With that being said and is the case for every show, Storage Wars Canada will live and die by its characters and in that regard, it isn’t just Ursula who is the knockout. It is the entire cast.
I also participated in a special media auction with the cast of Storage Wars Canada. Stay tuned for the video.
Storage Wars Canada premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on OLN.
Tags: murtz, Murtz Jaffer, Storage Wars