Treasure hunt shows make for laid back fun

Over the past year, two shows about storage unit auctions have popped up on cable, each stretching their own credibility while making for some fairly reliable, if forgettable, entertainment.

Storage Wars (Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on A&E) and Auction Hunters (Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Spike TV) feature treasure hunters who attend auctions of storage units. After three months of no rent payments being made, a storage unit is put up for auction, with everything inside going to whoever makes the highest bid.

Storage Wars focuses on the competition between four different bidders, as they attempt to either get the best unit at an auction or drive the price up to force the others to pay much more than a unit is worth. The arguments and fights that come up during the bidding process can seem fairly scripted. It strains belief that these people would always fight each other at something they do at least once a week.

Auction Hunters, on the other hand, is based around two bidders who purchase units, then try to sell them for a large profit. Since these two work together, there is little drama during the bidding, making it slightly more tolerable to watch.

What seems manufactured are their discoveries in the units they get: jet engines, antique weapons, pinball machines and more. While there is a disclaimer at the beginning, saying the show is based around their most rare finds, Auction Hunters may leave the viewer rolling their eyes at the contents of each unit.

Even with these seemingly scripted moments in each, both shows make for some excellent time wasting if there is nothing else on. They are a quick, easy watch, even if you don’t believe anything you’re seeing is real. Finding out what the contents of each unit are worth leads to legitimate drama and excitement. Neither show is destined to be a classic, but they can lead to some fun on your TV.