Once again, I am stumped at how much better the whole reality genre of television series is getting. No one really took much note until CBS presented the world with SURVIVOR. The impact of that show has been explosive, causing a chain reaction of copy-cat shows and other reality-based programs from other networks in both the U.S. and around the world.
THE AMAZING RACE just proves that the genre is still evolving.
The premise is this: 11 couples compromising of a mismatch of personalities. A gay couple. A mother and daughter. Two grandparents. Two fraternity brothers. Etc. They embark on a 'race' around the world, each time to a different destination. Unfortunately, there are 8 elimination points, the first one as a result of whichever couple reached the first destination last.
The race starts in Central Park, New York City. We then follow their journey to the first destination, Johannesburg, South Africa. Almost a split second after the starting gun goes off, you'll find yourself glued to your television screen. What is most extraordinary and unique about this show is the mix of personalities and the adventures they will all find themselves getting involved with. As the show starts off, there isn't much cut-throat activity going on between the teams, but as most of the reality shows evolve, alliances will most likely be formed and as each team gets eliminated, the game will become tighter and more competitive.
It is fun watching these people getting jerked out of every day society and thrown into a unique landscape filled with wonders and different culture to embark on some wild obstacle course. For example, the first episode had the teams flying to South Africa, driving across the landscape in jeeps, racing across the front of Victoria Falls, gliding across a canyon on a flying fox, bungee-jumping down a chasm, all so they can avoid being the last team to make it into a small African village. And this is just an hour's worth of entertainment.
Each week the teams end up in a different country. It's almost like watching an entire season of SURVIVOR in one episode! The good thing here is that no one has to 'vote' another team off as was the format in shows like SURVIVOR, BIG BROTHER, BOOT CAMP and MURDER IN SMALL TOWN X. The drive here is simpler - you snooze, you lose.
I admit I didn't know much about this show as it was getting some media attention. I saw some press-runs in the TV Guide and I heard someone say that it was CBS's counter-attack against NBC's reality show, LOST, but I wasn't really sure what to expect.
I have never been so thrilled as to watch just one hour of a show like this and then yearn so anxiously to see the next episode! It's almost mind-boggling to think that a show like this would cost millions of dollars to produce - but have you checked the Fall line-up lately? There's about 10 cop shows, 10 medical dramas and 10 legal dramas heading your way.
This show gets a GIANT 10 out of 10!