Yes, too many commercial breaks after the break-thru popular Season 7.
I find ANW more watchable than Olympic gymnastics. Due to the intense judging in Olympics, every athlete approximates the same-single judge-friendly style. BORING! In ANW, each athlete competes ONLY WITH THEM SELF. I have a separate article in me about what I've learned about athleticism from watching varied people tackle the same obstacles.
Many competitors are gymnastic trainers and trainers of kids and teens in real life. We also have the handful of aerospace professionals, the occasional TV weatherman, stockbroker and TV cameraman.
The bio pieces illuminate the life-morass each competitor arose out of to stand up and become their best self. The biggest excitement of one amazingly competent guy competitor was buying a $600 used car.
Many competitors perhaps have not much of a life outside of training for and competing in ANW. To their credit the producers never exploit the potentially maudlin-sentimental back-stories. All goofy and poverty-stricken stories are leveled as part of creating a level playing field for everyone. That's ANW, a true American meritocracy.
Many stories are way better than Olympic back-stories; such as, the rooky woman competitor whose day job is one-to-one caring for a wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy teen who she deeply cares for. The teen attended her first stage trial, priceless joy on her face.
Each competitor's family is present to cheer them on. This includes Dads who were formerly in prison and aged grandfather-mentors. Brothers, sisters and spouses of competitors get "converted" to at least training if not competing.
The stories of kids inspired by ANW are too numerous to count. The shots of local ANW fanclubs and gym sessions around the country, are legion.
ANW is a rare convergence of the best of honorable American multi-cultural spirit, exceptional athletic preparation, intention and expertise, two positive announcers; as well as, each and every competitor cheering for and encouraging every other competitor.
Season seven was the breakthru season for popularity. I went and looked at the original Japanese TV show and the current version of this same Japanese show. The difference between how athletes treat each other; and, how the producers treat and engage with their athletes differs so widely between American and Japanese counterparts, as to make your jaw drop. American ideals of equality, fairness and human dignity are 100% to 1000% higher in the American edition.
In my mind, exporting ANW to foreign countries would be one of the greatest conveyances for POSITIVE, HEALTHY American values and culture. No other reality show comes close. The Amazing Race probably comes closest. I give it an 8/10 compared to ANW.
See also the user "bumblebee" review, a premise which makes no sense on paper, works in reality.