I canít find Junkyard Wars


How often do you want to watch a show and canít find it?

And by that, I mean really canít find it.

Not that you canít watch it because you donít subscribe to the streaming service itís on. Not that you donít want to be forced to watch commercials because it is on demand but youíd be stuck with the no fast-forwarding scenario. Not even that you can find the DVDs to order somewhere online, but the price is outrageous or the supplier fairly suspicious.

I mean thereís something you really would like to see, but it isnít available in any format on any platform.

Take Junkyard Wars.

For those of you that may be unfamiliar with it, there were basically two versions. One showóScrapheap Challengeówas the British effort. The secondóJunkyard Warsówas the American edition.

The premise was that there were clearings, or build areas, set up for teams to compete. These spots were set in the middle of a junkyard. The teams would be issued a challenge, usually to build some type of machine to accomplish a specified task, and then they would be allowed to use whatever they found on the scrapheap to build it. The teams might be told they need to create a hovercraft, which after the build time will be raced against that from the other team on a land/water/mud course.

You can find snippets and a slim handful of episodes on places like YouTube. You can purchase best-of collections at Amazon. But you cannot find complete seasons of the show anywhere.

I always laugh a bit because of the number of people that tell me you can get anything you want online. Streaming is the way to go, with no limits, according to many. The joke is, itís not true. Not everything is available, and some of the things missing arenít exactly moments that deserve such a fate.

A few months ago, a show was set to begin on network television. We were a bit intrigued by the commercials, so I looked around to find out more about it. I learned it was the start of its second season, so I went on a hunt for the first season so we could catch up. Wanted to see what had happened before. Couldnít do it. It was nowhere to be found, and I gave finding it a good, solid effort. We decided to pass and didnít watch it. Any guesses on whether or not it was one of the shows cancelled for good after the brief second season aired? (Yeah. It was.)

One of my beliefs, which my wife shares and Iíve written about before, is that I enjoy a certain tangible relationship with things. I like having the CDs and DVDs of things. If I want to listen to Adeleís latest, or watch Operation Petticoat, what matters is whether I have the album or the movie in my collection. Thatís easy.

In some cases, my music service might have Adele included. In some cases, the Cary Grant and Tony Curtis classic may be one of a serviceís programs. But in the past few months, Iíve stumbled upon more than just Junkyard Wars that arenít available.

Hurricane a few years ago where we lived. Power out for multiple days. I was stunned to see how many of my friends were brought to a complete shutdown once the batteries on their phones were dead and there was no way to charge them. Honestly, as my wife and I played cards while listening to an old transistor radio we had, it was kind of funny. We could still make phone calls on our landline. We could still get the news from the radio. We still had multiple flashlights. Those that used smartphones for all of that were only in luck if they had a charger to use in their car and could find an area with a service signal.

Itís kind of amazing the things we take for granted. In many cases, the donít know what youíve got until you donít concept is way too stunning when it plays out. And we all have the friends who pull a dizzyingly stupid maneuver like: (1) Massively dangerous storm in full force, (2) person is driving, (3) person uses phone to take video of storm outside the car (while still driving), (4) person posts the apparently self-proclaimed-brilliant footage on social media with a warning to be careful (while still driving). Yes, as a whole, we are that dumb.

Technology doesnít provide for everything. It doesnít solve everything. And those that believe it does, well, they donít get to watch Junkyard Wars.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com