How to Fix The Amazing
been a faithful watcher of TAR since the very beginning,
and for the most part enjoyed each season. After season
six, things started to become apparent, patterns
visible, and things were changed to avoid the show
falling into a rut. I propose five things that could
make the Race even better.
More Fast Forward passes
One of the great dilemmas provided in the original
series was when to break from the pack and go for the
brass ring. What if other teams have done it? What if
the pass is gone already? What if the team will need it
later on? With a Fast Forward on each leg, we got to see
much more strategy involved, not to mention more
challenges. With only two Fast Forwards buried along the
way, that strategy is gone. If a team forgoes the Fast
Forward once, they may not get another chance, and it
becomes a race to get there.
Fewer 'luck' tasks
Over the past two races, we have seen two tasks that
boil down to the luck of the draw. One had teams looking
for a clue in 200 gigantic bales of hay, the other
turning a key in over 3,000 locks. In both cases, that
task was the very reason a team was eliminated. I don't
mind seeing a team eliminated because they fail at a
task. After all, that's part of the game. But when they
lose because that clue isn't in any of the hay bales, or
the key won't fit in the locks, that leaves a sour
memory on the brain. Even worse, a team was eliminated
on the first leg because they searched among orange
buoys, trying to find their next clue, but it was all
As a Fast Forward, or half of a Detour, it's not so bad,
at least you have the option to skip the task and go
another way. Having luck-based challenges featured so
prominently is not good TV; I can always watch a tape of
"Let's Make a Deal" if I want to see dumb luck be the
driving force of a game.
Less bunching of teams and eliminating advantages
In TAR5, Colin and Christie used their Fast Forward to
race ahead by seven hours or more, only to find that the
next task opened at eight in the morning. By that time,
all the remaining teams were in the race, and their
advantage was gone. Not only that, but C&C were out a
Fast Forward, and were in fact at a disadvantage. If a
team can manage to build up that much of a lead, they
should get to capitalize it, not just let it waste away
because the producers want to keep the race close. Even
worse is the airport situation. If teams can only escape
from a city using one of three named flights, it takes
some of the fun out of the contest. We dont get to see
teams haggle with a travel agent to find a flight with
two stopovers that gets to Australia an hour ahead. Its
Column A, B or C, and thats all. Besides being
uninteresting, it keeps the teams close together, and
does not give any one team the option to take a gamble
and put some distance between them and the other Racers.
A missed opportunity, I think.
More interesting challenges
The complaint about the challenges from before would be
mitigated partially if more of them were interesting.
Ive seen bungee jumping, wall climbing, and shlepping
animals from one store to another. BOR-ING! Building
bricks from clay? Yawn. I want to see more of teams
carrying 20 kilos of cow carcass along the streets, or
moving a dozen dogs along a French boulevard. At least I
can get a laugh out of that.
For that matter, Id like to see more mental tasks.
So much of the game is brute force, or speed, that we
dont see more memory, or visualization tasks. Now, Im
not saying that I want to see the teams undergo a quiz
session about the country theyre in (would that be so
bad?), but it wouldnt kill them to have something like
Concentration, or having to recite a list of native
It sounds like I hate the show, if you read only this
list. Not true. I love it. I want to see the show grow,
and improve, and last a good long time. I think the Race
can do just that. I also realize that there has to be a
balance between a good game, and a good show; I hope we
get the best of both worlds. These five items would be a
good start towards the finish line.
If you have any questions or comments regarding this
piece, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.