Yesterday marked the premiere of TNT’s reality series “The Great Escape”, a competition reality series in which three teams of two people are put into an elaborate labyrinth at various locals famous for “escapes”, and the first one to escape wins $100,000.
It’s advertised as an action movie brought to life, and they started out with the famous San Francisco prison “Alcatraz”, but is it just as extreme as “Escape from Alcatraz”, is it “Legends of the Hidden Temple” for Adults?
To sum it up, no. It’s pretty boring to watch. The rules sound good, each location has a “Stage”, which has a challenge to complete. These challenges arrange from physical to mental such as lifting sandbags to find a boat key, to figuring out basic math to get the combination of a padlock while avoiding spotlights.
At any point if a prison guard or a spotlight catches a team, they have to go all the way back to the start of the game, they don’t have to redo any of the previous challenges, but they have to make their way back over to their last stage that was uncomplete.
There are four stages, which each have a quarter of a key, completing all four will give info to the “escape route” and the first to the “destination point” wins the money. So yes, it’s made by the people from The Amazing Race, and yes it’s basically “four road blocks” and a finish line in one location. BUT IT LOOKS LIKE AN ACTION MOVIE!
Not really. It’s Amazing Race style camera shoot where a cameraman is running around following the contestants, which in a show where you’re trying “not to get caught” is pretty damn tedious. Even the challenge of “escaping a cell” is pretty damn boring. If you’ve ever seen the show “Finders Keepers” on Nickelodeon as a kid, it’s pretty much that. They smash a guitar to find a key, then when they got caught a second time, they had to break a bar of soap, then they had to open a mattress… at this point they stopped caring about “back to start, find the key again”.
It tries to be an action movie brought to life, the only part where it worked was the soundtrack. However, instead of feeling like “Live Action Uncharted” it felt more like “Live Action Hidden Object Game”. SyFy’s Cha$e in 2008 had a better intense chase sequence with challenges in between as an incentive, even if it was just one giant game of tag. ABC’s “Take The Money and Run” in 2011 had a more realistic “cat and mouse” vibe, and they we’re just sitting in Jail Cells for most of the show. MTV’s “The Phone”, had a better action movie turned reality show vibe. But this had little of what those shows offered, and surprise, they were all cancelled after the first season. I’m just judging this show on the “Alcatraz” episode, and I’m sure they’ll have more interesting locals in the later episodes.
I would’ve made the show about one couple trying to make “The Great Escape” and if they couldn’t escape before 5AM, they would lose. Alternatively, I would’ve probably placed “securitycameras” inside Alcatraz instead of getting a cameraman to follow. To make it seem more like an actual escape brought to life. It didn’t feel like an escape, as it was a series of physical challenges.
It had it’s fair share of Product Placement for Volvo S60s, the first commercial break had a parody of “The Great Escape” in which someone that’s NOT Rich Eisen was explaining that they had to “Escape from a Mansion with a Volvo…without keys or a driveway” and all three have escaped within seconds, cute. But the parody won’t work unless we’ve seen the show before, this is the first time it was on the air. And at the very end, when they reach the “finish line/destination point”, Rich opens up the trunk of the Volvo, takes the key, which opens up the safe that has $100,000. In which the team gets excited and drives off happily ever after.
Rich is such a boring host on this show, when you see him on ESPN, he’s very sarcastic and very witty. On this show, he has none of those traits, It would’ve been better with a voice over. They hired some sort of co-host in a female voice that explains most of the challenges “GREEN TEAM HAS ESCAPED!” “RED TEAM COMPLETED STAGE TWO” “BLUE TEAM HAS BEEN CAPTURED” “RED TEAM HAS WON” and she repeats it over and over again for the other teams to hear. It might be better to make her the host instead of Rich. If there was maybe a quiz show or a show involving a competition between professional athletes, he’d be a perfect fit. It’s not a good fit for him, and the fact he shows up and explains the competitions also takes away from the “film” feel for it.
It’s not Cha$e
It’s not The Phone
It’s not Take the Money and Run
It’s Amazing Race, with flashlight tag.