Not Rated The History Channel | 16h 8min
Plot: What’s it about?
Now to be honest, I’d never watched an episode of Swamp People before this review. So aside from assuming it was people who lived in or worked in a swamp, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As it turns out, the show follows a group of alligator hunters who troll the swamps for their bounties in a 30 day hunting season. Each hunter is given a specific number of “tags,” which are then cashed in when they capture their alligators. Now you use a tag for every kill regardless of the size of the alligator, so you want to save your tags to haul in the best possible lot. You run out of tags and your season is over, so you have to balance your choice in kills between your number of tags and the time left in the season’s hunt window. In this fourth season, Louisiana’s swamps have experienced a sharp drop in temperature, which alters the patterns of the alligators. So an already tricky hunting season is going to be even tougher, so these hunters have their work cut out for them this season.
The show follows a small troupe of hunters, but they’re not all part of a cohesive squad. Instead, they comprise smaller hunting teams and given the short, intense season, competition runs hot. The show has no real story arcs, even as far as competition or the hunters, so don’t expect much in that department. The show lends a small amount of time to learning about the hunters and their home lives, but this feels rushed and ineffective. While shows like Duck Dynasty and Hollywood Hillbillies give us a slice of redneck culture with a side of self awareness, Swamp People doesn’t follow that trend. The main draw of the show is see what the hunters do and say, most of which is unintentionally comedic, but the show maintains a dead serious tone. This adds humor in some ways, but I almost felt bad at times laughing at these hunters. If they had been in on the joke more, I think Swamp People would be more fun to watch. As it stands, I feel like I am watching people act like idiots who have no idea how they come off on camera. Still fun and still a decent time sink though, so I think redneck reality fans will like Swamp People: Season 4.
Video: How’s it look?
The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The show looks good, but of course not as good as the broadcast high definition presentations. Even so, this looks about as good as the material can on DVD, with no issues I could detect and a clean overall image. I found detail to be fine, colors look natural, and nothing winds up lost in the murky waters, so all in all, the show looks quite good.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The audio is passable, but not remarkable. This sounds about like it would on television, a basic and effective treatment. I’m sure some punch in the hunt scenes might have amped up the tension, but for a reality television show, this soundtrack manages to hit all the required notes. The dialogue is clear if you can wade through the accents, while the music and sound effects come across as well as can be expected.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Bonus footage: You can browse over forty minutes of bonus footage here, none of which has been on television. So if you want more Swamp People, this is a nice and substantial inclusion. You can tell why most of the clips were trimmed from episodes, but fans should still appreciate the content.