Love it or hate it, Ice Road Truckers is back for a fifth season starting this Sunday on History. I will be the first to admit that season 3 became boring and stale. Episodes were over hyped with the promises of big accidents and the possible death of truckers. Claims that never materialized (thankfully) but were repeatedly teased through out the episodes. The producers obsession with load counts and the imaginary rivalry this caused between the truckers also grew old as the season progressed. As a big rig fan the continuity was just horrible. You can not show the interior of F-350 and claim it was a Peterbilt. And how can we forget the infamous IRT truck horn sound that editors seem to dub into each exterior shot of a truck moving down the road. Are we to believe every truck on the Dalton Highway regardless of make or model has the same horn? Shouldn’t 80 ton big rigs driving over ice covered roads and steep mountain passes provided enough excitement?
To my relief season 4 was a great improvement. The episodes featured a diversity of subjects by giving a wider view of what happens in the final American frontier. Alaskan DOT highway crews were followed as the season progressed. It was interesting to see how the roads are maintained and constructed. Plenty of cool equipment to gawk at, especially the truck mounted howitzer used to prevent avalanches. The episodes regarding the super heavy hauls was very entertaining. It was amazing to see the skill and split second timing required by three different drivers in three different trucks. If any driver missed a shift or lost control disaster waited for all. On the human front the over hyped drama of the past seasons was toned down. The easy going feud between Ray Veilleux and Greg Boadwine was genuine and by the end of the season the two could barely be in the same room together. Alex, as always, was interesting. His run in with the drunk driving wreck was as real as it gets and his continued health problems continued to take center stage. One begins to wonder how many more years he can drive in such demanding conditions. Most importantly the truck horn FX seemed to receive some much needed rest.
So what do know about season 5? IRT veterans Hugh Rowland and Alex Debogorski are back along with fellow season 1 trucker Rick Yemm. Lisa Kelly gains a fellow female on the road with NYC trucker and ice road rookie Maya Sieber. Greg and Ray appear to be gone, not a big surprise as Ray hated the road and Greg was hotshot driver with a few wrecks under his belt. New comer Tony Molesky and David Redmon from IRT: Most Deadliest Roads fill out the rookie roster.
So be sure to tune in. If you like trucks you won’t be disappointed. If you like reality TV you made find something to cling to. Sorry, no singing or magic tricks.