Fresh out of San Diego Comic Con, the Travel Channel has a new entry into the collectibles-flipping genre called Toy Hunter. The series premieres on The Travel Channel August 15th at 10pm with two half-hour episodes and starts its regular time slot at 9pm the following week. It follows Jordan Hembrough, a more than twenty year collectibles veteran, on his cross-country travels seeking out hidden gems of toys which he can then turn around and sell for a profit. Even after only seeing the first episode, it’s clear that, above all else, it’s the toys from yesteryear that are the stars of this show. More after the jump.
If you’ve ever seen an episode of American Pickers on the History Channel, you’ve seen the template for Toy Hunter. A road-tripper seeks deals on toys and lets the audience know how much he paid for it and how much he will sell it for. Hembrough even has calls to his home base. What is missing from the template is the road-camaraderie/competition between pickers Mike and Frank, as Hembrough hits the byways on his lonesome. Because he doesn’t have a travelling companion, Hembrough is forced to info dump about the toys on the people he’s buying from. This is odd because they’re collectors and already know the hash he’s slinging. Being on the Travel Channel, I’d like to see more about the where’s of his journeys in upcoming episodes.
The first episode spotlights two phenomenal toy finds. The first, a large Alien figure (from the Prometheus sequel) that was produced and subsequently deemed too scary to release for kids. The owner of this piece refused to sell, even though it spends its unseen shelf-life hidden away in a cabinet. The second find was a Star Wars: Return of the Jedi pedal bike modeled after the Speeder Bikes from Endor. A limited-run item, you had to win a statewide raffle to have a go at this. Hembrough is able to make a deal for the bike and even find a potential buyer by episode’s end.
Nerds of all ages rejoice, as this show will clearly hip you to things you didn’t know you were missing out on and leave you with a gut full of want. Ultimately, Toy Hunter will live and die by the unique scores Hembrough is able to produce. Though the formula isn’t new, this is the hook and it got me interested through the Alien and Speeder Bike discoveries.