The Discovery Channel has some of the most intriguing, thought-provoking, exciting and educational programing on television today. It makes sense. It’s called THE Discovery Channel after all. Lately, the educational channels have started to air “reality” television; Deadliest Catch, Auction Kings, Swamp People (a personal favorite). Most of these shows bring the average person a glimpse of a lifestyle, profession, and culture that they would never really experience or know about. Most of the time, these experiences would be educational, neat and intriguing, but not really… weird. Enter The Discovery Channel’s Oddities.
Oddities is a reality/documentary series aired on both The Discovery and Science Channels exploring the day to day business of the Manhattan antiques shop Obscura Antiques & Oddities. Following co-owners Mike Zohn and Evan Michelson with buyer Ryan Matthews, Oddities presents the viewer with the ins and outs of running an antique business. There’s appraising items that are brought in by hopeful sellers and locating items for the collections of prospective buyers. You know, the usual for an antiques house. Except at Obscura, the items changing hands are sometimes… actual Egyptian mummy hands, or tomes bound in human skin. Straight jackets, Victorian medical implements, taxidermied four legged chickens, you know… the usual stuff.
Oddities is a reality show about the workings of a weird as dinosaur shit (for real) antiques shop that deals exclusively in the strange, morbid, and twisted. There is not one episode of Oddities that isn’t intriguing, possibly disturbing, and definitely entertaining. If you like antiques and history, even some of the stranger and more horrific kinds (antique electro-shock therapy machines!), then you will love Oddities. Zohn and Michelson have a discerning eye for the bizarre and present the stories and history behind each piece in an knowledgeable and entertaining way. Zohn is painfully normal in appearance, demeanor, and mannerisms which provides a good contrast for everything else in Oddities. Michelson is sufficiently strange all on her own with occasional glances at her personal collections of quease-inducing artifacts. Matthews is the youngster of the group with his dapper appearance, nifty tattoos and passion for bones he’s equal parts cute and creepy.
Viewers even get a taste of some of the behind the scenes issues that comes with dealing in some of the truly strange. Like the legality of the sale of human body parts. You’ll meet all kinds of characters in each episode between the sellers and the buyers. My only complaint is that sometimes the dialogue between the employees of Obscura and the featured sellers/buyers seems a bit forced and phony. These are most likely real people selling real things, but their interactions are directed in some way leading to a bit of a lag in smoothness. With that as my only real complaint, Oddities is highly entertaining, educational and a great half hour spent. It scratches my weirdo itch to see weirdo artifacts and antiques.
Oddities can be found on
The Discovery Channel – Thursdays 10:30 pm ET/PT
The Science Channel – Saturdays 10:00 pm ET/PT