Sunday, October 3, 2010
Second Season For In Real Life
Like most TV critics I sometimes get carried away covering the new season shows on conventional TV networks.
I've got to remember there are new seasons of cable networks, too, and one of these returns Monday night at 7 for its second year.
In Real Life takes 18 precocious kids aged 12 to 14 and pits them in various challenging situations.
A cross between Survivor and Amazing Race but without the salacious bits this one runs in hour installments and is well shot and edited.
I'd like to have known a bit more about the kids and how each one was selected.
We do get to see them all lined up with their names on the screen but they're assembled in dueling teams of two people each fairly quickly.
What are they competing to win? College tuition and family vacations are the bait for the winners.
This year there's an addition: there's a never-before-seen online companion game titled Race To The Finish which allows kids at home to accumulate points they can put toward their favorite TV challenger.
After the show's finale thje two winners of the online competition get reunited in a bonus webisode.
Kids knocked off on the TV series can make comebacks and they might even win the online game --there;ll be a specual webisode made with the game's winner.
For the TV version the host is comedian Sabrina Jalees although she doesn't get much time to be funny.
Tears erupt two times in the first new episode and both occasions it's a young male who is reacting and not a girl.
The 10-episode show is made by Montreal based Apartment 11 Productions and the way it's shot and edited is completely gripping. Here's a show adults and their kids might actually like to watch together. Or is that kind of family TV bonding considered passe in this world of specialty channels?
The 18 contestants come from 15 centers across Canada and are evenly divided between boys and girls. First impression: the girls seem more mature, they're all no nonsense, get out there and do it kind of young people with the boys sometimes getting a bit emotional when they can't do something.
The first episode finds the competing teams at the Elora Gorge working as wilderness rescuers with the help of experts from Equinox Adventures. They have to traverse the gorge on a high altitude wire, traverse the swollen river in inflatable craft and every seconds count.
There are losers who are promptly evicted from the game. And sadly one of the contestants has to drop out with damage to his arm. Hey, I watched the entire hour and this sense of competition makes for fast moving TV.
Veteran Jonathan Finkelstein made it and next week the competition is all about the intrepid world of spies.
THE SECOND SEASON OF IN REAL LIFE PREMIERES ON YTV MOND. OCT. 4 AT 7 P.M.
MY RATING: ***.