Awesome New Car TV Show: American Daredevils on History Channel
Some new television pilots seem so perfect that it is hard to believe it took so long to execute the idea. History Channel’s all-new series American Daredevils is one of those ‘just right’ cocktail of car-guy mechanical passion, reality and character-driven plots, and a DVR-full of demo derby style stunts that often have a jarring finish.
American Daredevils premiered this week on History Channel courtesy of a very nice lead-in from the all-star Top Gear USA. Sharing audiences between these two show makes really good sense, and American Daredevils had us hooked after just the first 40 minutes.
The premise of the show is this: crews follow the career and life struggles of three stunt teams, weaving intricate plots and story details that dove-tail with the explosive stunts.
The best comparison we can think of for American Daredevils is between Shipping Wars and the previous stunt episodes from Fifth Gear.
Where the Fifth Gear team would consult mathematicians and physicists over a month or more lead-up to a big stunt (like the car loop special), American Daredevils is more along the lines of seriously dangerous stunts, performed for cash between stadium races of Monster Trucks or off-road bikes.
Live or Die: These American Daredevil’s are the half-time entertainment.
Fifth Gear brings a serious amount of “Health and Safety” to any of the stunts on the series. So much more liability surrounds any stunt with live humans inside a garage-prepped car with an unfinished roll cage. American Daredevils really shows dynamite potential for a number of reasons, but mainly in the journey the show will – hopefully – provide for viewers.
The teams are comprised of Spanky Spangler and his son Brian, a kind-spoken roughneck who goes by “Mr. Dizzy,” and another team lead dubbed “Dr. Danger.”
There is more than a little bit of small-town appeal to these guys. It is a rough business they are in, with crashes and concussions a more regular thing than an NFL retired players picnic.
In this regard, American Daredevils becomes more of a people story. Much like Shipping Wars is a good mix of interesting projects, plus interesting people: American Daredevils introduces the audience to some of the worrying sides of the DIY stunt business.
Some of the stunts are hard to watch, with crash cams and Spanky Sr.’s groans after a ***big*** crash in full high-definition video and audio.
Something ominous about the topic, for sure.
The characters in the show all strongly identify with Evil Knievel, both for his bravery and skill. But also his showman-ship and touch with the common man.
These are stunt guys who are not on $1,000-per-diem’s of Michael Bay films. These are seriously brave individuals with perhaps too much craving for the rush of danger.
American Daredevils airs Tuesday nights on History Channel, or the first two episodes are available for streaming on their web site without a cable company login that is usually needed to watch full episodes on History.com.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.