While I've given MTV's "Rob and Big" some praise in the past (including my review of the Season 1/2 set, where I noted that the show - while thin - promoted friendships and was generally amusing), it's a little surprising to see Dyrdek get another series. This time, it's "Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory", which essentially has Drydek hanging out in a massive (25,000 square feet) California warehouse-turned-skate park/office...and going on the occasional adventure.
For those unfamiliar with "Rob and Big", that series followed Dyrdek and pal Christopher "Big Black" Boykin as they went on various mis(adventures), hung out at Drydek's pad and looked for skateboarding opportunities in unexpected places (where Boykin acted as bodyguard.) While "Rob and Big" had its positives, that series was - at its core - as much a "show about nothing" as "Seinfeld" was, and Drydek's new show isn't much different.
So, it's understandably a little surprising to see a series that essentially is the same at the core, only it moves the events to another location. Instead of Boykin, this time around the supporting cast includes Rob's cousin Chris ("Drama"), brother Scott ("Big Cat") and manager Jeremy (who manages from above in his own little section of the factory.)
Many episodes revolve around the factory itself, which is sort of like a multi-million dollar adult version of a McDonalds playland. Rob even manages to get a tennis ball cannon, along the lines of the one in "American Gladiators" (not the new "American Gladiators", but the good original one.) There's also a zip-line built that crosses the factory, too. The series also is a bit of wish fulfillment, as Rob and his pals try to realize different fantasies - Drama gets to try out being a music producer, Rob invests in a hotel (well, sort of), builds a public skate part (with the help of Carls, Jr.) and manages to do a jump in a rally car.
"Fantasy Factory" goes over a lot of the same ground, but the series mostly manages to be enjoyably goofy (one of the most bizarre moments in TV in recent memory is Rob going into a philosophical discussion on the benefits of watching "Legally Blonde" - as if watching it is some sort of act of zen enlightenment), low-key fun. There's nothing much to it, but it generally works as lightweight entertainment.
Episode 1 - Super Blob
Episode 2 - Get With Your Power Animal
Episode 3 - Extreme Timmy
Episode 4 - Hotel, Motel...Robbie's Inn
Episode 5 - Bangin' On Fools
Episode 6 - This Is Not Mom-Certified
Episode 7 - Shark Sugar
Episode 8 - Unseen Footage
Episode 9 - No Mandals
Episode 10 - Butter Feet
Episode 11 - Best of and Behind the Scenes
Episode 12 - Dusty Monkey
Audio is uncensored.
VIDEO: Paramount presents "Rob Drydek's Fantasy Factory" in 1.33:1 full-frame, the show's original aspect ratio. Sharpness and detail are generally above-par for a reality TV show, although some moments are a little uneven (appearing a tad softer or murkier.) Some mild shimmer occasionally was spotted, but the picture otherwise was free of such concerns as edge enhancement or pixelation. Colors looked bright and rich, with no smearing or other issues
SOUND: Paramount presents the series in stereo, and the audio offers clear dialogue and music.
EXTRAS: Commentary from both members of the cast and producer Jeff Tremaine, deleted scenes, "Factory Party" featurette and "Factory" clips.
Final Thoughts: "Fantasy Factory" may be accurately called "minimalist", but the series works well as lightweight entertainment. The DVD set provides fine audio/video quality, as well as a nice set of extras. Recommended for fans.