'JUNKies': An LI junkyard as a lab

Jester of the junkyard Jimmy Ruocco reveals his

Jester of the junkyard Jimmy Ruocco reveals his latest creations in JUNKies at 10:00 PM (ET/PT) on Thursday, August 18, 2011 on the Science Channel. (Credit: Science Channel)

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REALITY SERIES "JUNKies"

WHEN | WHERE Thursday night at 10 on Science

REASON TO WATCH A Long Island junkyard becomes a laboratory for "enginerds" inventing crazy somethings out of nothing.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT If you've ever wanted to "get that feeling of deviance out," then "JUNKies" may be the show for you. That's what metal artist Doyle S. Huge promises in the show's premiere, when he walks into Freeport Auto Parts and Wrecking to ask junkyard owner Jimmy Ruocco for components to build an "interactive fire sculpture." It involves flamethrowers and leaf blowers, for a "5 g centrifuge with a homemade pulse jet rocket on it." You know, "like a jet engine on a stick."

Which is why this show is on Science, not any of myriad other channels hosting unscripted guy-aimed mayhem. There's a level of expertise involved. It's also from the creators of Science's existing Saturday hit "Oddities," exploring strange stuff in a Lower East Side secondhand shop.

In Freeport, Jimmy's salvage crew delivers a down-home dose of practicality, while wannabe MacGyvers like Doyle and junk peddler Hale Storm provide out-there inspiration. "I don't know if these guys are geniuses, engineers or lunatics," says yard mechanic Billy Cottle. "I'm startin' to lean toward lunacy."

Needed components are scouted and found, sometimes from other stops, like Jimmy Javino's Heavy Metal parts in Oceanside, so brainiacs like Doyle can build his revolving "regurgitator." Future shows promise a surf cycle, a coffin car and other spare-parts wonders.

MY SAY "JUNKies" follows a familiar formula, but adds a buoyant burst of adrenaline when the guys spontaneously react to the inventions and their makers. (Billy goes bonkers riding Doyle's centrifuge after losing a bet.) And though locals won't be impressed, mainlanders will likely get a bonus kick just hearing the guys' "exotic" Lawn Guyland accents.

They make for a fun hour paired with 10:30 p.m.'s "real Macgyver" series "Stuck With Hackett," where a survivalist finds primitive ways Thursday night to build a working locomotive from wreckage.

BOTTOM LINEGotta love a show that assumes the viewer has the smarts to know what a Tesla coil is. (Or at least trusts you to look it up.)

GRADE B+

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