Let me be the one to break the ice: Ice Road Truckers on the History Channel has jumped the shark with its new season.
My rationale is, I believe, fair. The novelty of the ice road danger has worn off and the series is trying something new by taking the show to Alaska. However, the characters of this year’s season, while keeping their chutzpah, just don’t seem to have the same oomph as the gangs from previous seasons.
The kicker, though, is how the show now focuses on Americans. Ice Road Truckers season 3 has lost its roots tying the show to John Denison’s ice road.
It did bring Canadian veterans Hugh Rowland and Alex Debogorski to the Alaskan roads, but the new batch of truckers just seem to be bland.
I believe the show also has tried to increase its sex appeal with serious trucker Lisa Kelly, but beyond that the show seems to lack the camaraderie and plotlines seen in years past. Hey, Lisa’s good looking, but let’s see what she has to deal with more than driving. I’d like to see more of that personal touch the whole way through.
In years past, we got to watch how different drivers handled the ice with varying effect. Drew always broke his machinery, and rookie T.J. Tilcox got to experience the ice for the first time with fright in his eyes.
The following season included a touching storyline about Alex’s medical condition taking him off the ice. Drew was around for comic relief, driving a hotbox on pavement. French-Canadian Eric Dufresne was a genuinely good guy you had to pull for while watching him work. And Bear, he added to the mix.
More importantly, these were Canadian truckers on Canadian roads.
While I do not want to dismiss American ice road truckers by any means — Lisa’s harrowing experience with a steep decline got a response of suprise in my household — this season seems to be lacking drama and charisma.
The show also seemed to teach the viewer more about the field of ice road trucking overall in its earlier seasons. Today, the show is doing its old shtick without much improvement.
Even the loads the truckers carried seemed to vary more. Before they were helping with diamond mines and scientific exploration. This season, there is the reminder of Alaska’s oil resource and how the state got rich.
The loads and way that the ice road truckers are helping society changed. Helping the folks at the Wurmlinger is one thing; transporting for oil companies is quite another and doesn’t quite have the feel-good experience associated with it.
The miners needed supplies, as did the scientists. Remember that they also carried food to cities that only can have supplies during the time the road is frozen.
The American truckers just don’t seem to have any of that feel-good experience to it, quite honestly. This feels like watching truckers who could be placed in any other situation, when one knows they are hyper-skilled in their driving.
Where’s the pizzazz and character? Why do we need to focus on Lisa so much? Will something major finally happen? More whiteouts, please.
Has Ice Road Truckers officially jumped the shark? I would put forth that unfortunately it has. Three seasons is a good run, though.
But what could it do differently? Could it have stayed on the ice roads in the Yukon Territory and brought back other characters from different seasons? I am not sure if that would generate the same interest or if this article lambasting the show would be the same, but I have a hunch it might have been better to have not gone to Alaska.
Ice Road Truckers used to feel informative, entertaining and dramatic. I’m not sure how or where it skidded off the ice.