This past Sunday, History began the new season of Ice Road Truckers with a two hour premier. Much has changed so let’s get down to it.
Right from the start, we find that the opening credits have undergone a remake. No longer do we open to the throbbing drum beat of Living On the Edge by Aerosmith. Instead we are treated to a generic hard rock ballad. I guess the licensing fees went up? Maybe Joe Perry needed a new mansion. Immediately I am less entertained. The meat of the show begins by reacquainting us with Hugh and Rick, both original cast members of Season One. This year Rick and Hugh will run an Ice road in Canadian Provence of Manitoba. Hugh has returned to running an International 9900i. A rather generic truck but very similar to the unit he ran when the series began. Maybe he likes the model? It seems to be the truck of choice for his excavation company. Rick is leasing a truck from Hugh, a rather tired looking Western Star. Once again Rick has hitched his wagon to Hugh, a move that proved to be less than successful all those years ago. The two begin their journey to a remote community off the Hudson Bay. Keeping true to their roots both drive with reckless abandon over roads that looked better suited to ATV’s than fully loaded semi trucks. I hope there is a chiropractor at the end of the route.
Lisa is next to join the new season. She has dyed her hair red in order to show her “take no prisoner” mentality this season. Her blonde hair she reasons made her seem helpless and ditzy to fellow truckers last season. She successfully leads a convoy to Prudhoe Bay with little trouble. You know you are a safe and successfull driver when IRT can’t piece together a segment longer than 20 seconds about your run north.
Dave from IRT Most Dangerous Roads is one of the new drivers to the Ice Road this season. His confidence and self reliance seems to have been replaced with a Donald Trump sized ego. He bristles at the thought of being monitored by a driver with more ice road experience. When allowed to show his stuff he quickly misses a crucial shift and becomes stuck in a fully loaded tanker trunk in the middle of a extremely steep hill. For a moment Dave is humbled, a feeling that will not last. He continues to chafe under instructor Tony and nearly explodes when he learns that he will have to make more runs with an instructor. He believes he is not being taught but simply forced to duplicate what others feel is right. A shouting and pissing match erupts in the cab. During this exchange, Dave repeatedly takes his hands off the steering wheel and is never once shown wearing his seat belt. So much for the professional driver attitude he continually preaches about. Tony calls HQ and leaves Dave at the Coldfoot rest stop. Can’t say I blame him. I really liked Dave from the prior IRT shows but this season he seems way over the top. I hope is playing for the cameras.
Alex has also returned to Canada this season to run the ice roads. With his good humor and strong Christian faith Alex is remarkably different from the other drivers. We quickly find Alex on unfamiliar ice roads late at night. He takes a turn too quickly and his truck dose a nose dive into a snow bank. It appears he is hopelessly stuck but magically the truck is able to back out. You are left to wonder if he received some assistance from a support truck but the issue is never addressed. Alex is quickly confronted with another challenge, a river that has over run it’s banks. Is it too deep to cross? Alex investigates and decides to go for it. He eases his Freightliner Century across the slushy mix, we cut to the cab and a nervous Alex and suddenly the Freightliner becomes an International 9900. The truck changes numerous times. Even the trailers are remarkably different. The continuity demon from past seasons raises it’s ugly head again.
The final new rookie of the season premiere is Maya, a female driver from NYC. Her attitude is light years beyond that of Dave. Despite her experience she is also required to undergo a road test. However, she takes it all in stride and receives glowing reviews. Maybe Dave should take a hint. She appears to be respectful of the road if not outright scared.
All and all it was a good season premier. Lisa seems to have come into her own as a driver. The love hate relationship between Hugh and Rick is always amusing but we know it won’t last. Dave is heading for diaster with his massive ego. What will happen next? Stay tuned!