It isn't anything beyond simple entertainment, but I'll go as far as to say that "Nitro Circus" is one of the best of MTV's recent offerings and - in some ways - even an improvement upon "Jackass" ("Nitro Circus" is produced by "Jackass" star Johnny Knoxville's Dickhouse Productions.) The series stars motocross/X Games legend Travis Pastrana, who is joined by a series of friends, who are largely pro athletes, such as pro motocross racer Jolene Van Vugt and mountain bike rider Jim Dechamp.
The series follows the group throughout many varied locations and landscapes as they manage to craft epic stunts. Where the show differs from show's like "Jackass" is that the series doesn't have the feeling of a bunch of friends daring themselves to do something silly (although there is a hint of that) as much as it is an attempt to try and test the limits (or push the envelope, whatever phrase one would like to use.)
Additionally, whereas "Jackass" was filmed in the same manner as a home video, "Nitro Circus" steps things up immensely, offering expert camerawork that manages to - in most cases - give the audience at least a hint of the adrenaline rush that the performers must be experiencing in the middle of the stunt. The show's pacing is also superb, briskly moving from one stunt to another while managing to not seem too over-edited - it's refreshing not to have a hundred edits during every stunt sequence.
The show's attitude is the other aspect of the series that's refreshing, as a series that could have felt entirely (instead of just mildly) like a Red Bull commercial (although there are a few visuals of the Red Bull logo and mentions of Red Bull, this show could easily have been half an hour about how EXTREME the participants are and how EXTREME what they're doing is and how EXTREME everything is) instead has a friendly, likable vibe.
This group doesn't act as if they are reinventing the wheel, they're just having fun doing things most people would consider utterly insane and challenging themselves go further and further.Some people like to go out to the bars with their friends for fun on the weekends. You get the idea that fun for Travis Pastrana and friends is heading into the middle of the jungle in Panama in order to provide a stunt show for a native tribe, or spending an entire episode attempting to break various world records - and those certainly are some of the tamer things the group tries.
"Nitro Circus" pushes the envelope in ways both simple and epic, and the series is consistently a great deal of fun. I'm looking forward to season 2.
Ep. 12 | Jamaican Me Crazy
Ep. 11 | Nitro Winter Wonderland
Ep. 10 | Puerto Rico
Ep. 9 | Panamania!
Ep. 8 | Hollywood Nitro
Ep. 7 | Nitro In The Guinness Book
Ep. 6 | The Circus Heads West
Ep. 5 | Home Sweet Home
Ep. 4 | Hell Compound
Ep. 3 | Welcome To Pastranaland
Ep. 2 | Las Vegas
Ep. 1 | Lake Medina
Also: Cutting Room Floor Special & Hits and Misses specials are included.
VIDEO: "Nitro Circus" is presented by Paramount in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Image quality was largely very good, as images looked crisp and clear throughout much of the program, aside from a few soft moments here-and-there (of course, some of the helmet cam footage looks harsh and gritty.) A couple of instances of artifacting were seen, but the majority of the program looked clean and clear. Colors looked rich and bold, with no concerns.
SOUND: The show is presented with a crisp, clear stereo soundtrack.
EXTRAS: music video, 25 minutes of stunts, bonus outtakes and interviews.
Final Thoughts: "Nitro Circus" is a highly entertaining rush, as Pastrana and crew head to a wide variety of locations to do an equally wide variety of insane stunts. The DVD set provides very good audio/video quality, as well as a nice set of extras. Recommended.