Review it!: Vancouver based reality show, The Liquidator

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OLN announced the launch of a new “original” Vancouver based reality show, placing you into the fast-paced, high-stakes, buy-and-sell world.

The Liquidator introduces viewers to the unique life of haggler, trader and owner of Vancouver’s largest liquidation store, Jeff Schwarz. When it comes to moving discarded merchandise, Schwarz has done it all. Setting his sights on the big-time deal, he’s trading up to become the “Liquidation King,” living out his mission of buying low, selling high, and keeping the merchandise moving. Each 13-part, 30-minute episode shows a day in the life of Schwarz – from getting the tip and checking out the goods, to making the deal, finding a buyer, and watching the dollar signs soar or sink.

In the series premiere “Bricks and Mortals,” Schwarz finds treasure in a trash heap as he picks through the remains of a heavy duty diesel shop. From power tools to forklifts, Schwarz has hit the mother-load and decides the best way to sell and make a big profit is through an auction.

With shows like ‘Barter Kings, Pawn Stars, Canadian Pickers, and Auction Hunters” – I don’t know how “original” this show can truly be. Sure it’s based in Vancouver, and we all know how Vancouverites like tuning into things filmed in their lovable hometown just so they can say “Hey, I’ve been there!” but the rest of Canada probably won’t care.  Once again, this is nothing we haven’t seen before. The market is over saturated with shows like this. The system is the same, buy low, sell high.  TV producers have no imagination at all, TV networks are cheap, and most reality programs only work when they are spiced up with made-up nonsense.

When the producers see some idea (like having people search for bargains among junk) works for one show, they immediately decide that they can make a knock-off of it. So there are always a bunch of very similar knock-off programs being pitched to the TV networks at any time. It’s no more and no less surprising that there are a lot of bargain hunter reality shows than that there were a lot of cake-making shows or any of the other reality show trends. The producers convinced the networks that this was a good idea and that they could make the shows cheap because you don’t have to hire good actors or good writers for them. Of course, what usually happens is that it quickly becomes clear that the show is a bad idea, so they hire writers to create artificially quirky situations and perhaps hire some actors who know what they’re doing as host or such.

The really bad aspect of it is that the newer shows are really obviously staged for the most part. The worst offender is Auction Hunters, which is so fake that they even hired an established actor and TV Host to be one of the two leads.

For a Vancouver based show I wish it all the best, but I can’t see this show being extremely successful.

The Liquidator premieres Thursday, July 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, on OLN.

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Felix Kay Entertainment Columnist for Vancity Buzz

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