Junk Raiders was a Reality TV program that aired on Discovery Channel in Canada from 2009 to 2012. The premise is simple — in the heart of Toronto, a team of "freecyclers" armed with nothing more than creativity, ingenuity, and $5000, will perform a complete renovation using materials scavenged from roadsides, donated by the public, and negotiated from dumps and factories. And they'll get it done in a month.
The team changed every season, with only two staying on for all three: Geoff Woodmansey, contractor, host and head of the team, and Gordie Wornoff, a carpenter and salvager who lives a freegan lifestyle. Michelle Mawby, interior designer, returned in Season 3 from Season 1 working independently for the client, but was absent in Season 2. Otherwise, aside from a two-episode cameo in Season 3 from Season 2's Tommy, there were no other returning members.
For the first season, the group renovated an old factory floor into a high-end loft for college and university technological graduates. In the second season, they were tasked with transforming a shipping container into a clubhouse for the Evergreen Brick Works project. In the third season, they renovated a restaurant in downtown Toronto.
Provides examples of:
- The Ace: Siamak in Season 3 was an Old Master craftsman, and his son said that in his home village he's known as being able to build and/or fix anything. He lived up to that boast.
- Awesome, but Impractical: In Season 2 when designing a clubhouse for the Evergreen Brick Works, Paul had a pretty cool idea for a complex series of chains and gears made from bicycle parts that would pull the doors open when a shaft in the clubhouse was rotated. It not only took him almost three full weeks of work to try and get it working due to multiple failures and setbacks, but when the clubhouse was finally moved to the site, it was discovered that the mechanism bumped a low-hanging ceiling pipe and it had to be scrapped.
- Badass Crew: With five grand and month, they had to complete a project that would normally take months and have a budget in the six-figure range. And though it doesn't always turn out as nice as the client likes, they have always succeeded.
- The Blacksmith: Tommy of Season 2 was actually a classically trained blacksmith.
- Breakout Character: In the first season, Gordie was one of two freecyclers recruited for a team of seven. He became The Lancer to Geoff and is the only recurring cast member besides him to show up in all three seasons.
- Catchphrase: Tommy in Season 2 had "D-U-N, DONE!"
- Control Freak: Michelle, so much. Justified due to her being the designer, she correctly tells Geoff that on a more standard project, she would be the one in charge of him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Gordie. "I say we torch the place and change our names *shrug*." Other one-season cast members qualify as well.
- Executive Meddling: In-universe. The clients funding the project would pay regular visits to see how things are progressing. Geoff universally dreaded the visits because anything they wanted changed is time lost fixing it, and any projects they disliked would have to be scrapped which demoralized the team; his fears were often justified. In the second season he had the team hide half-finished projects before the clients arrived so that they couldn't cancel them before they were finished, and hopefully they'd like it better once they saw the final product
- Freudian Trio: Geoff, Gordie and Michelle played out like this, particularly influenced by their backgrounds and focuses. Geoff, focused on keeping both his crew and the client happy and prioritizing finishing on-time whatever it takes, is the Ego; Michelle, being used to using top-grade materials bought from stores to meet the client's demands perfectly, is the Superego; Gordie, who lived a freegan lifestyle and was more concerned with honoring the theme behind the project even if the final product wasn't top-notch, is the Id.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Season 1 had Jean, Season 2 had Paul and John: the three specialized in the technological needs of the project. Season 3, being a humble corner restaurant, didn't have or need one.
- Genre Blind: Michelle threatened to get Geoff fired. Oh yes it will work to get the host of the show fired off the show without the people actually funding the damn thing's say so. Overall she seemed to forget this is actually about making things out of scrap and takes it over like a normal construction project with a normal construction budget.
- Green Aesop: The first season emphasized it more, including statistics on how much garbage and usable materials people throw away in Toronto, but as a whole the show demonstrates how materials left for trash can be recycled into usable and practical appliances and furniture, if you have the creativity and skills needed to do it.
- Hot-Blooded: Tommy in Season 2, sometimes verging on Manchild, particularly when he began shouting and screaming about Geoff trying to get him to use a calculatornote , and whipped the device across the floor.
- Insane Troll Logic: In Season 3, Geoff kept bugging Michelle in early episodes for designs so when the team goes out to look for materials they know what to look for, and Michelle protested that as a designer she needed inspiration, and told Geoff to keep bringing in materials and building and when she has designs he'll see them. The problem was that bringing back everything that seemed useful wasted time, cluttered the workspace and cost them money to hire a dumpster to get rid of, and as Geoff pointed out, they could be a lot more productive on the building side of things if they actually had items to build.
- In-Series Nickname: In the first season Geoff was nicknamed "Dozer" by the team for how he would stomp around the floor bossing people around, "like a bulldozer". In later seasons Gordie can be heard still using it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- Michelle's controlling nature is only because she places such high value on quality standards, and she truly does want to see the project done.
- Tommy is a less obvious case. He places a lot of pride in his work and is genuinely good at what he does, and does want the project to succeed, but he's not the easiest man to get along with.
- The Load: Anthony in Season 1 was one of two freecyclers with Gordie, but was much less productive or skilled than him, or the rest of the team. At one point he took it upon himself to build a wood cover for the exposed metal railing running along the stairs, and tried to do it by eyeballing it.
- Meaningful Name: "Geoff Woodmansey" is a construction contractor and renovator.
- No Budget: In-universe, and one of the regular problems the team faces. $5,000 dollars does not go far for a total renovation on the project. Geoff is constantly debating if spending the money that they can't get back is worth the faster progress, because some materials (like usable steel in Season 2) just can't be found on the roadside and it's time lost waiting for that to happen. Ways to make more money, usually by selling projects they've worked on that have been rejected or selling scrap steel they've found to recycling centers, are always on the table, and Geoff has to remind the clients at points that the team can only do so much with recycled materials and one month to work with them.