Thursday, July 31, 2014

A new Quest

Here's the thing. I watch a lot of TV. A lot. When someone asks me what shows I watch, I laugh first, blush second and own up to it third. I watch so much.

I've been excited about "The Quest" since I first heard the concept. It's a competition reality show set in a fantasy world that would coexist nicely within Middle Earth or any of the realms of "Game of Thrones." They are living in a fully realized world populated by citizens, royalty, monsters, villains and fantastical creatures. It's "Survivor" meets "Big Brother" meets "Lord of the Rings." I'm in.

I'll admit the first episode started slowly, but so did "The Fellowship of the Ring." There's a lot of groundwork that has to be laid for this fantasy world to build on. What did not take time to build was the fact that the attention to detail within this show is extraordinary. From the entrance through the tunnels to the grounds around the castle, everything felt as if we had gone on a journey with the contestants. It feels a lot like watching "Once Upon A Time," ABC's Sunday night fairy tale saga, except there's a human element of it knowing these contestants aren't actors. They are real people.

In an age where "reality TV" isn't really reality, the concept of "The Quest" is refreshing. It was said within the first two minutes of the show that the storyline is set and these adventurers are the pieces within the structured story. They fill out the narrative. While that removes the unpredictability so many watch reality TV for, it also gives us the knowledge that there's an endgame and it won't spiral on forever.

That narrative isn't that profound. But I think there's a lot underneath that narrative. One of that contestants, after she won the challenge, spoke about how she then felt like she deserved to be there. "...Not just a character I've build up in my head, but me, Bonnie. I deserve to be here." I feel like that's the takeaway from this show. Yes, the structure is fantasy and make-believe come to life, but the challenges and tests these people are facing are actually happening to them and for some of them, the boost in their self esteem is something they haven't felt before. The cast is a healthy mixture of diverse people but at the root of all of their stories, they felt like nerds. (Some are incredibly hot nerds I must say) Now, they are given the chance to exist in a world they previously only thought existed on a movie screen or in their imagination. Not only that, but they are the star of the story and have the opportunity to save the day in the final act.

I'm sticking with "The Quest." I think there's more to mine there and I'm a sucker for an underdog. And this is a show full of underdogs just waiting for their moment to prove to themselves they are worthy of the quest we call life.

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