More reality shows debut: 'The Hero,' '72 Hours,' 'Race to the Scene'

Tuesday, 04 June 2013 09:45 AM Written by 

the heroThree new reality competition series debut Thursday and two of them have movie themes. But only one stars The Rock (AKA Dwayne Johnson).

That would be "The Hero" (8 p.m. Thursday, TNT), which Johnson hosts as he tasks nine players with tests of physicality, mental agility, honesty and morality to figure out which one of them deserves to be called The Hero.

In the first episode Johnson shows a softer side when he comforts a contestant (at left) with vertigo after he encourages her to walk up steps on top of a high-rise building.

Of the three new shows, "The Hero" is the only one that will feature the same competitors week-to-week, the competition format that has proved to be most durable in the age of reality TV. So viewers meet several extreme characters, including hyper Marty who declares, "I just wanna climb trees and fight monkeys." Alrighty then.

"The Hero" is not all that exciting but the production values are top-notch and the location (Panama) somewhat unique.

Read more after the jump....

dolph"The Hero" certainly has better production values than the low-rent "Race to the Scene" (9 p.m. Thursday, ReelzChannel), hosted by a hammy Dolph Lundgren (at right).

In each episode, three teams of two compete in scenes inspired by classic movies. In the first episode, Lundgren is dressed as Forrest Gump and then the players have to dress the same and run through an obstacle course on the football field where the "Run, Forrest, Run!" scene was filmed. But the obstacles they face are fairly cheap-looking, not the elaborate contraptions from "Survivor."

In some sense, "Race to the Scene" has the best editing of players and provides the best sense of the contestants.

A challenge pegged to a scene from "Independence Day" involves contestants hauling a ball of wires through the streets of Downtown Los Angeles at night, prompting a contestant who wears a hijab to say, "This is the first time I've dressed as a Muslim and been walking around with a detonator in my hand. This is not going to play well in L.A."

What also doesn't play well: "Race to the Scene" is about scenes from various blockbuster movies but the show features no clips from these films to remind viewers of the scenes that are verbally referenced. Was there no budget left for such clips?

72 hoursTNT's "72 Hours" (9 p.m. Thursday) looks the best of all three shows with tons of aerial shots of contestants in exotic locales, including Fiji, New Zealand and Tasmania.

Each episode is filmed in a different place but host Brandon Johnson is the only consistent character episode-to-episode. Each week there are three new teams (three people to each team) with 72 hours to find a hidden briefcase containing $100,000 in cash.

TNT's screener wouldn't play the series premiere episode but the second episode, "Lost Coast of New Zealand," showed off some beautiful scenery but spent little time with most of the contestants, instead concentrating on just a few of the most colorful characters.

Rather than three shows, one show would be best: Make The Rock the host, use the settings of "72 Hours" and the casting of "Race to the Scene" and viewers would be much better off than watching any of these individual new programs.

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