Dig Wars….First Impressions

My first question is why do all of the so called “reality shows” wind up in pawn shops? Dig Wars, like Pawn Stars and Storage Wars became just another in the long line….

Overall the show was not bad, but I would have liked it better if:

  1. It didn’t begin with words like “millions” and a “150 thousand”, etc..
  2. It explained the purpose or plot of the show in the beginning (i.e., this is a competition hunt between three pairs of hunters, etc.)
  3. It told more about the participants. How were they chosen, where they were from, their backgrounds (for instance, the fact that Ron is a fireman in Chicago would have been a nice touch)
  4. It were not so obviously scripted (their enthusiasm and instant historical knowledge of what they found was not natural nor typical)
  5. The audio was better synched…detector sounds often did not match the video (yeah I know I am being picky)
  6. It explained to the viewer that the places they were hunting were NOT usually available to the average detectorist
  7. It did not play down the danger of an unexploded ordnance
  8. It did not exaggerate the value of the finds
  9. It were an hour long and allowed for more detailed explanation of what the participants see and hear while detecting (i.e., why they dig this and not that, etc.)
The Cast....

The Cast….

Now, having said all this, “Dig Wars” is certainly a notch above the other treasure hunting shows I’ve seen, and for the record I’ve stopped watching those a long  time ago. I will continue to watch Dig Wars, and hope that it get’s better, although I doubt it will, given that it’s entertainment and not really “reality”.  I think this show  would have been much better if it were longer, and gave the viewer a better of idea of what metal detecting is really all about, and I think that it can be done without taking  away any entertainment value.

I am not sure that metal detecting TV shows will ever represent the whole of what we do, but at least they are getting better with each new endeavor, and who  amongst us old timers would have ever dreamed that we would even be talking about this?


Another review….http://www.medialifemagazine.com/dig-wars-much-hooping-and-hollering/



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Have agreed to be on the American Digger magazine’s Relic Roundup  July 15th for a “Tekkie vs. Arkie” faceoff with Lisa Hume MacIntyre.  I like Lisa a great deal, but we have our differences, and this show should prove interesting. Mark  it on your calendar.  Should be fun!

To learn more about, or to subscribe to American Digger, click on their logo below. A great magazine!




Well every treasure hunter’s friend in Warsaw is upset and whining.  Apparently he does not like to be called names. You see it’s okay for him to insult and  degrade others via snide remarks but out and out name calling is rude?  See his latest tirade  here.

I am proud to say that my blog is now in the company of Peter Tompa’s Cultural Property Observer in that Wally has now adopted a “Houghton/Howland” principle…a testament to our ability to get under his skin.  Wally, cheer up….things could be a helluva lot worse!  You could live next door to Heritage Harry!





Filed under Metal Detecting

38 responses to “Dig Wars….First Impressions

  1. What I want to see is detecting shows that take a hypothesis and then use the finds as evidence to build to a conclusion – less focus on $$ value. I would also like to see more about the research, provenance and permissions element, and to include a local detectorist “guest” on each show. And, though I’m sure you’d disagree, I’d like to see some cool archaeologists (such as those I’ve met in my cooperative efforts) involved in the process formalization. Think “History Detectives” meets “American Pickers”

    • Scott, your desires are noble but I suspect such a show would not be all that interesting to the masses.

      And hey, I don’t dislike all archaeologists, just most of them…LOL.

  2. I can agree that the shows were a better caliber than what we have seen.

    But to tote around live Cannon Balls and Parrot Missiles was a bit reckless.

    The only safety message was the pawn shop owner asking them to get them out of his store and that was only after he examined and priced them.
    I shall continue to watch the show.
    Harry Niemeyer

    • And as I said Harry, back in the early days, having a metal detecting show on TV was a pipe dream. The fact that we can compare and debate their merits today is awesome.

  3. Dick, Are you sure you liked the show? I would hate to see your comments if you absolutely did not like a show…lol.

  4. Doug Frantz

    I agree with your thoughts about the show (Dig Wars), I also noticed that they referred to the 1806 half dollar as a silver dollar a couple times (nit-picking). I was also surprised at how they joked about handling the live shell. I’m not an explosives expert, but you would think the show’s lawyers would have had them insert a disclaimer about not handling ordnance unless you know what you’re doing. I also want to know why they wear camo gear, who are they hiding from? (that’s a joke) I’ll watch it again, but at this point I prefer “Diggers”, it feels a little less scripted.

    • Thanks Doug….
      Guess I need to watch Diggers again….watched it once, and never gave it another thought.

    • Big Tony from Bayonne!

      I picked up on that half vs dollar too! It made me wonder if something wasn’t right. After all if you have found all of the items that team claimed they should have gotten that one right.

  5. Dave Wise

    I agree with you Dick,a step above the other shows but overall I agree with your review

  6. Bob K

    l agree should be a hour show with a better explaination about the site & as you said Dick why they dig this & not that. & the why the value of the items.

  7. Big Tony from Bayonne!

    Dick, overall I enjoyed the show and loved seeing them recover items. I think we need to take TV reality shows with a grain of salt and Taquilla or a few large libations from a US brewery!
    Big T.

  8. I thought the show was closer to the reality of metal detecting than other shows I have seen. I expected a lot of suspenseful digging and the dramatic reveal of obviously planted & glorified discoveries, and was relieved to see some mediocre finds.

    I was pleased, of course, that they had a woman on the show. At least I had someone to side with and root for—now if they would have an episode where she has a bathroom dilemma, the reality part of the show would be complete.

    I realize its entertainment, however, the enthusiasm over some of their finds bordered on obnoxious, and the bomb issue…um…FAIL!

    I also noticed the lack of audio syncing, and thought if they are going to do the audio that way, maybe the guy hunting should take off his headphones. Just sayin’.

    Was it a dollar or a half dollar?

    When they went to have their finds evaluated, I was like, Oh God, here we go–they are going to say that spur is worth like $3500. How awesome was it to see some realistic values placed on items? Unlike some other shows where I was thinking, geez if that guy got 5k for that rusty relic, then I better take inventory because my box of rusty stuff is sure to make me a millionaire…Not.

    I thought Chicago Ron did a great job, and was actually the most believable and natural acting in the group. I don’t know what the criteria was for choosing the detectorists, but there are a lot of well know detectorists out there, and the others on the show, I have never heard of.

    I will definitely be watching Dig Wars on a regular basis.

  9. Dave McCarthy

    Personally I don’t think it is helping our hobby at all. I hope the show suffers a quick painless death .. Too much scripting Dick, you are right on that. And the one guy’s Minelab Explorer was emitting Fisher tones .. and Garrett Pro-Pointer noises coming from some unknown pinpointer. Also, calling themselves the best treasure hunters in the world kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Too much ego ..

    • Yep, they should know that those of us in the pastime would be watching. I wonder if any of the tekkies were there when the editing was done? I also wondered how they chose the participants? I can understand Ron…well known, very proficient, etc., but how about the others? Maybe Ron will chime in and let us know.

      • Big Tony from Bayonne!

        Thanks for pointing that out. I now realize it is bad editing on the part of the producers of the show. Too funny – they need to have the final cut reviewed by a detectorist for sound quality! Ha ha ha

    • Ha ha Dave–I also noticed the Pro-Pointer noise. Too funny.

  10. I don’t have television.
    Haven’t had it about 20 years.
    Don’t miss it either.
    I always wonder whose reality they are in, in these reality shows?
    Watching guys metal detect is like watching golf or watching paint dry. It’s not meant to be a spectator sport!


    • Charlie, you may be the smartest one in the bunch. I suspect too that if they did a “real” detecting show, it might be indeed be more fun watching paint dry.

    • Big Tony from Bayonne!

      H. Charles, I have been talking to my wife about getting rid of cable because we always say that there is nothing on worth watching.
      We need to get off of the couch and do more things or even read a book.

      Your idea is a good one! I commend you on it.

  11. Doug Frantz

    I reread my comment above, and may have come across as too critical. Ii appreciate that someone is making this show, and agree that Chicago Ron and Mark were the most “real” of the three teams. Let’s face it, until there’s a metal detecting only channel, this type of show with the competition, inappropriate detector sounds, and the inflated values of finds is the best we’re going to get. Reality show fans want the competition, conflict, and trash-talking, and the producers need a bigger audience than just the detectorists. The “Diggers” guys got on my nerves at first with their wild antics, but now I don’t even notice.

    • Doug, be as critical as you want. No need to hold anything back. We all pretty much know the reality (now there’s a word) of what sells on TV, and we need to bite out tongues and hope for the best with these shows. I really do think that with each successive show or series they will get better and better.

  12. Sir, first and foremost, let me tell you how impressed I am that you read all the comments here and respond to them. All of us bloggers should take note.
    Secondly, I want a metal detecting show that portrays our hobby realistically; that is I want 29 minutes of nothing but trash, pull tabs, and bottle caps and then, in the last 30 seconds, I want the guys to find something worth keeping only to have the scene cut by the rolling credits.

    That in my opinion would truly show what it is we do. In my case, it is always in the last few minutes of my allotted hunting time that I begin to get the good signals before my significant other starts calling me. I swear I would leave my cell phone in the car but then I wouldn’t have a way to call Steve to brag about the millionth Wheat cent I’vd dug!

    • Dave, if you don’t stop with the “Sir” thing I will send my wife to live in your house. You know my name.

      As for your show of choice….love it. Actually though I am now doing better with the tabs. I discriminate them out. If you could see me get down and up to dig you would understand why. That’s how I came up with the potential forum name of “Nickelmyass”….

  13. Hi Everyone!
    First of all thank you for the support and honest criticism. We really had no input after filming was done. All the things mentioned about filling holes, getting permission, taking trash and general detecting properly were covered by all members of the show in the 100 + hours of video shot for the episodes. The nature of 30 minute episodes (actually 21 min episodes) with 6 players leaves little time for all the good finds, let alone etiquette or proper technique. Fortunately once the show is on the air and people search for the hunters they will find my website where they can easily find all the basics.Other than some editing and sound problems I think the show depicts real detecting.Will post more later on my blog.

    • Thanks Ron….looking forward to reading your blog update. You know if you had paid me that $20 you owed me I might have said nicer things…..just sayin.

    • Big Tony from Bayonne!

      Hello Ron, I enjoyed the show. I realize that there is not enough time to show all of the targets that were dug, and who would care to see a pull tab dug anyway! That is the reality of this hobby. You have to dig plenty of targets to get that “Ah Ha” monent. I and I am sure others were watching for some great finds, and there were several kewl ones made!
      Can’t wait for the next show and/or your blog.

  14. Jeez…you owe him $20 too? Look, if Chicago Ron was in the programme, it could’nt have been that bad.

  15. Bob

    The shows were over the top-but that’s showbiz! Can the common man detect on some of the sites that they show? If not, its no wonder they find good stuff! (Jealous? Hell yes.)

    • Bob, that’s something they should have mentioned or shown during credits……wonder how many newbies will be visiting these sites now, detectors in hand?

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