I watch a lot of what is basically “automotive television” and really enjoy series that do a great job focusing mostly on the auto work and getting the amount of “on-screen personality” of the people on the show just right. I imagine it is not easy to develop given that most people should never ever be in front of a television camera, let alone repeatedly in front of one and/or involved in content production.
While I haven’t talked about them in depth, there are some shows that I watch that are what I deem pretty much auto television perfection, hitting all the right notes and balancing production, restoration work, mechanical work, and personality. Long running shows Bitchin’ Rides, the now cancelled but generally excellent Fantomworks, and even Wheeler Dealers meet my general standard for the proper production mix of concrete visual automotive work with just the right balance of entertainment (the loss of Edd China on Wheeler Dealers is still felt, but I still enjoy the show with Ant Anstead as well.) These are hourly shows I love dearly.
There’s a completely separate tier of shows I love, all from the same production company that I watch religiously: Car Fix, All Girls Garage, and Truck U. I’ve tried repeatedly to get into Benton Production’s 4th show Two Guys Garage but there’s an odd on-screen vibe of the two main stars of that show that just feels fake and wrong to me and turns me off. (I’ll watch anything with Bogi Lateiner , Lou Santiago, or Jared Zimmerman, in it now!)
Ok. I’m really digressing.
So there are the shows I listed that I feel are just excellent balances of everything needed for an automotive entertainment show in 2019 and then there is the long running and more and more painful to watch opposite of those shows: Graveyard Carz.
I kept the Tivo recording it just to have new content to watch on Saturday mornings while I sit drinking coffee with dogs on my lap but this past season is just so horribly painful to watch and I question why I bother. The show’s balance is so off that I don’t even know if it will ever recover.
The early seasons were often way too people-centric, Then it got better with more auto-centric episodes. And now, this season is a show in which basically it looks like the shop has 5 total employees with nobody else ever there or doing anything. And the owner of the shop Mark Worman really is the center of the general painfulness of the series.
Now his segments with just information and exposition data dumps are great. He knows his Mopar muscle car shit and given that I’m not an US-made or muscle car guy I can appreciate what I learn from these moments. But on the whole, these moments are few and far between and there is just too much of him. Too much of him doing stupid shop shenanigans. Too much of him being filmed as filler content. Too much of him period.
“Graveyard Carz was created and is owned by Mark Worman. It is made independently by The Division, a film and television production company in which Worman is also the CEO. The show’s relationship with Velocity is what is called “a pre-sale acquisition”. The Division retains all creative control but frequently takes notes and suggestions from the Velocity team.” (Wikipedia)
I don’t know if the shop actually has employees anymore or what but the fact that there’s only ever 5 people really ever on camera makes it feel just tedious. If the Wikipedia article on the show is accurate, then what is presented as a show isn’t really the operation of the shop, but specific content for the show. I assume that other shop employees aren’t paid for any on-screen work and are left out. (I hope at least that assumption is correct.) But if that is the case, it makes the show even worse. I felt at least in early seasons there seemed to be real activity going on but now it just feels like staged segments with total pointless filler content, most of it somehow revolving around Workman.
Given the now almost constant painful on-screen antics of Worman, which I try to hit fast forward on, I really think the problem is tied to the fact that the show’s production and the shop are both owned and run by Worman. The guy needs to just step back from having content control and definitely limit himself to about 5 minutes onscreen per episode.
But where would that leave the show?
Well Will Scott, the main auto painter and apparently now shop foreman, is really what the show should be refocused around.
I love the segments with Will, discussing this or that on various work. He’s the best on-screen talent on the show! My other half and I have sat there groaning through the show and both agreed we’d watch a show focused on Will running things, providing commentary, and actual work being done on cars!
Now maybe Worman’s vision of what he wants is exactly what is aired. And it is his show and he can do whatever he wants. And I hope, given how many seasons it has been on, that there are indeed people out there who find it entertaining.
But I think it is time to remove it from the Tivo.
I’ll check back if and when Will Scott gets his own show or takes over this one. I think it could breathe new life into this series and if indeed it is treated as separate from the shop it is shot in, could keep this show (or a spin off) on the air for a long time.