Air Date/Time: Tuesday, August 14 at 10/9c
Host: Elyse Luray
Collection Intervention follows former Head of Special Collections at Christie’s Elyse Luray as she helps couples, families and individuals whose pop-culture memorabilia collections – from Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica to Catwoman and Barbie – have become damaging obsessions, creating financial strife and a huge strain on their lives.
In each of the six hour-long episodes, Elyse will create a strategy that helps these collectors curate and showcase their collection by assessing where the true value lies and then allow them to decide what’s worth keeping and what they can sell. These massive collections include dining rooms stuffed with 30,000 comic books, a garage filled to the rafters with Catwoman memorabilia, and an almost uninhabitable house filled with Transformers. For each collector, parting with some of their collection may free up some much needed space in their home, provide a cash windfall to get out of debt, or even just allow a couple to become more focused on their relationship.
Collection Intervention is produced by High Noon Entertainment with executive producers Pam Healey, Jim Berger and Elizabeth Grizzle Voorhees.
I like this show. It’s a cross between Antiques Roadshow, Hollywood Treasure, and Hoarders. Though host Elyse Luray would be quick to point out that the people on this series are not hoarders. She has worked with hoarders before, and says that they don’t have a focus; collectors have a focus. In fact one of the terrific things about this show, or at least about this opening episode, is that what the host does is bring clarity to the collector.
The first one-hour episode follows two couples, and the format has us going back and forth between the two, rather than each couple having a separate half hour. They were excellent choices for the premiere, because they represent two totally different collecting scenarios. In the first, the couple are both avid Star Wars fans, but the woman has gone, well, berserk with the collection. With the second couple, he didn’t even tell his wife that he collected, and he keeps his collection boxed up in the garage, while he continues to add to it. As an additional stress, they are in debt.
So what Elyse does is go through the collection with each collector, showing her appreciation when it’s warranted, giving general values for some of the better pieces, and discussing displays. Her essential message, and one that I will be utilizing in my home from now on, is that the best collections aren’t necessarily the biggest, but those that have the best pieces, and which are displayed properly.
Of course there are tears, and Ms. Luray acknowledges the emotional attachment collectors have to their pieces, but happily, this is not a Let’s All Look at the Goofy People and Their Ridiculous Obsessions. Ms. Luray is a collector as well. It is a clear-eyed look at pop culture collections and their care and value. It is also a celebration of collectors who may need just a little education and assistance with taking a step back and evaluating, in more ways than one, their collections and how to best incorporate them into their homes.
This means, occasionally, that the collector needs to see the difference between a collection and an obsession, and when the obsession is disruptive to some other major facet of his or her life. But again, Ms. Luray has an appreciation for the collections, so she is not spending any time or energy rolling her eyes. Unfortunately, this may not always be the case with the spouse or friend of the collector. Yes, you’re gonna feel bad for someone, and may even have a moment or two of “well at least I’m not that bad,” but on the whole this first episode is an interesting examination of finding a balance within a collection, and between that collection and the rest of a collector’s life.
I do wish a little more time was spent on some solid examples of good displays that are the least deteriorating for the collectibles, especially as part of a before-and-after, but nothing in this episode felt extraneous, and there’s only so much you can fit in a one-hour show.
Production values for this show, as with most if not all Syfy reality shows, is terrific. There is a voiceover that talks a bit more about the psychology of collecting, and there are a few screen captions that give specific information about similar collectibles.
Syfy feels like the perfect home for this show that embraces pop culture collectibles and helps pop culture collectors without being derisive or demeaning. It’s also educational, and will send plenty of people out to their garages to see what may be tucked away in there. If you love pop culture collectibles, or love to at least see collectibles and/or their values, or in the case of this episode, if you are a Star Wars or Catwoman fan, this show is for you.
I give Collection Intervention, Season 1 Episode 1 “A Disturbance in the Force” Four Out of Five Stars.