The Play's The Thing
The past few weeks of "The
Amazing Race" have proved one of the most basic rules of
the show: if the tasks are interesting, the locations
don't matter. Whether it's lighting lamps on a Civil War
battlefield, or getting sick on a NASA centrifuge, the
challenges posed are what make the show for me. I
worried that the Race would suffer because they were
staying mainly in the United States, but I was glad to
be proven wrong. Watching the original series on GSN's
repeats furthers my points: bungee jumping in South
Africa, following a path through a sewer and hauling
rear up the Great Wall of China are hands down better
than eating eleven thousand chocolate bits, finding the
right lock for a key, or turning over hay bales.
Interesting games and domestic locations will beat
boring contests overseas every day.
One of the reasons I enjoy
"Big Brother" so much is that the producers are able to
do such remarkable games out in the backyard every
year. Survivor has no such excuse - they have vast
expanses of outdoors to do all these great games, and
how often do we get "Three strikes and you're out" with
the Survivor Jeopardy thing? Way too often. I'll give
them points for that neat courtball thing they did a
couple of weeks ago, and hope that we get more of same.
Last summer's BB gave us a Super Sized "Battleship"
game, houseguests zooming on zip lines, and Life Sized
chessboards. Even their "how well do you know your
housemates?" games are played on huge set pieces.
Every show has the same
thing, whether it's "The Apprentice" with their 'make
the best marketing campaign for the company of the
week,' or "Fear Factor" offering up a "best of"
buffet.., the best seemed to be at the very beginning,
when there were all kinds of options to consider. Now,
after the shows have had three or four series, they
stick to what has been done before, rather than trying
something new, whether it's good or not.
If you would like to see
Travis Eberle as a stunt coordinator for the next big
adventure show, drop him an e-mail at email@example.com.