Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Explorace: Let the games begin

I just finished watching Malaysia’s latest reality show, “Explorace” and I must say that there is some potential in this series. As I understand it, the concept of this new series is based on the wildly popular US reality show “The Amazing Race” but with some localized differences. For one, only two team complete in the race every week with the last to arrive eliminated at the end of each round. Since there are 12 teams competing in this race, there would be 6 weeks of first round competition which will trim down the teams to 6 teams. If all six were to compete in the same week after the first round remains to be seen but I would guess that unless the production budget would allow for 6 teams of production crews, I guess we would continue to see pair of teams going against each other until the final round. A shame really since we may not get the chance to see the same type of team dynamics that make “The Amazing Race” irresistible.

As I understand it, team members of the 2 teams competing each week will be split off to accomplish individual tasks that would take them to multiple local destinations. This is clearly different than the way the teams in TAR would do their tasks. Each team member in “Explorace” would be receiving instructions at the starting point to their assigned location where they must complete a task. The task that they must complete would be a trivia question that they must answer correctly in an allotted time or else they would have to complete a physical penalty task. Once completed, the contestant would receive either a gold key or a gold box depending on the path that the contestant took. Both contestant would then be directed to proceed to a team meeting point to complete a team task that once completed would allow the teammates to use the gold key to open the gold box which contained the clue to their last destination. The last team to arrive would obviously be eliminated and the winning team would move on to the next round.

The show tonight was no more than an extended promo for the new series. While it was a good way to start the series, the hype leading up to tonight’s show was a bit misleading leading me, at least, to think that the race was suppose to start tonight. Instead we got to watch some silly audition videos that were sent in by 300 applicants who tried to get one of the 12 places offered. While some videos were tacky and downright silly, credit must be given to the audition video sent by one of the 12 finalist who made a hilarious TAR parody complete with the envelopes and Mr. “Exposition Hands”. I have to agree with the show’s producers when they selected that audition video as the most creative and imaginative one out of the lot. After a selection process that whittle down the list from 300 to 30 teams, they were put through a second round of auditions that involved an IQ test, aquatic skills test and a physical endurance test. I have to confess that the thought of sending in a tape did cross my mind but after seeing what they had to go through in the second audition, I seriously doubt that I would have passed their selection criteria. For one thing, I can’t swim so that would immediately disqualify me in the aquatic skills test.

From the 30 teams, 12 teams were finally selected for the race. We have not seen any of these teams in action yet but a few did stand out personality-wise. For the moment I’m rooting for the team of Jackie and Lisa who seems bubbly enough to be in a series like this. From their short interview session, they projected a level of comfortable confidence and excitement that came through as sincere and real unlike some who just seemed too cocky out of the gate. As for internal conflict potential between the contestants, it still has to be seen as the time allowed for these conflicts to surface week to week is a bit short. None of the contestant seems to have an explosive personality so “Explorace” may be short on the outrageous outbursts that make TAR interesting to watch week after week. I may be wrong in this assessment since it is still too early to tell but we would find out for ourselves in the next few weeks.

Well ... now you know where I’ll be on every Wednesday night at 9:30pm for the next few weeks.

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