"Coal" Review: Time for the Spotlight to Shine
In the premiere of the new Spike TV docu-series, “Coal,” one of the coal miners laughs that if anyone has a problem with their job, they should come do his.
I actually said out loud while watching it, “No thank you.”
I could never be a coal miner. But I am very thankful there are people who can be. Because without them, I wouldn’t be able to share this with you right now.
“Coal” tells the story of a group of those working class heroes at the Cobalt Mine in Big Sandy, W.Va. It’s a fairly small operation so every ounce of coal is important.
In the premiere, mine owners Tom Roberts and Mike Crowder realize that the evening shift is not mining as much coal as the day shift. And the two are forced to consider letting go one of their miners. The decision is made even harder by the fact that mining is not just a job for these men. It’s a way of life.
But the difference in production is hard to overlook, especially since the dayshift’s operator of the continuous miner (the machine that extracts the coal), Andy Christian, Sr., is so proficient. However, when Andy calls in sick, the whole day’s work could be in jeopardy. And the mine really can’t afford too many bad days.
The show has the dramatic elements necessary to make a successful docu-series, but it never loses its reverence for the miners. There’s so salaciousness here. This is real people, working real hard for their real families. And it’s that realism that makes the show so fascinating.
Executive Prodcuer/Show Creator Thom Beers told me last week that his goal with all of his shows, which include “Deadliest Catch” and “Ice Road Truckers,” is to take people places they never get to go to see blue collar heroes in high risk, high reward situations. That’s exactly what he’s done with “Coal” and I for one am glad he did.
It’s time for a spotlight to shine through the dark.
“Coal” premieres Wednesday, March 30th at 10 p.m. on Spike TV…
Photo Credit: Scott McDermott for Spike TV