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The Newest American Hero?
A Hero Shall be Chosen
- The Hero -- TNT
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson brings to TNT an epic competition testing the strength, courage, and integrity of a diverse group of nine individuals. Each week, the contestants will be tested, physically, mentally, and morally. . .
A Chip off "The Rock"
The TNT cable network has become a self-styled home for drama, from the intensity and energy of the NBA and NASCAR, to the repeats of programs like Charmed, to it's original scripted programs.
It was only matter of time before TNT took a step into "reality" television. One of their programs 72 Hours, seems like a variation of Amazing Race. The other program, The Hero, has some variations on the theme.
The program, hosted by actor/sports-entertainer Dwayne Johnson, better known to millions and millions as "The Rock", brings nine people from diverse backgrounds to Panama to be challenged physically, mentally and morally. The basic elements are there, the competitors are given a challenge to perform. If the task is completed, money is put into a pool that one person can win at the end of the season. The first twist to the reality format comes in though; there are nine competitors, only six are part of the task. This may be where the moral or ethical challenge comes in, competitors need to determine who the best people are for that challenge. In the case of the first challenge, involving rappelling down a skyscraper, a woman who was afraid of heights opted out, as well as two others.
She faced another moral challenge when, while the six that were chosen were on their mission, the phone rang. It was "The Rock" asking her to meet him on the roof of the building that seems to be the base of the program. I was on the edge of my seat as she struggled to climb a staircase. "I'm not gonna fail," became the woman's affirmation, and she did not.
Her courage was rewarded by an offer of $25,000, but it would come at a price. Her taking that money would mean that the challenge would become more complex. She chose not to jeopardize the challenge. Also, she later told the rest of the competitors what happened.
The team did accomplish their mission, with mere seconds to spare! But that mission was only the first. From the six who had participated in the task, three were chosen to be selected for an individual challenge. One would expect that if that person accomplished that challenge, they would be "immune" from a viewer vote that would determine who has to leave the program.
And that expectation would be wrong! No one is leaving the program, except perhaps by their own volition. The three people who stayed behind, and the other three who were part of the team, determine who goes on to meet "The Hero's Challenge".
Accomplish this challenge, which for this episode had a trauma surgeon having to navigate an underground bunker and remember and input a code, and there's $50,000. Another moral challenge comes up, do you take the money or put it in the pool for the final challenge?
It's this final challenge that the viewers will have a voice. They will select one of the competitors to go for a prize that could be $1,000,000.
Even in the first episode, I see friction developing between the competitors. One said that if she succeeds in meeting her "Hero's Challenge" she'll pocket the money, and seems to have rubbed another competitor the wrong way. A construction worker seems to be a bit of loose cannon, but I can also relate to his energy and enthusiasm. And, perhaps as a nod to "The Rock's" work in the ring, a fellow "sports-entertainer" keeps warning us that the viewers may be ones being played.
I'll say that I've never been a fan of programs like "The Hero", but there's enough variations on the basic themes to keep me watching a few more episodes.
The Game has Changed!
On the June 27th episode, a twist was revealed!
There will be eliminations, but there's a twist to that as well. If a competitor is chosen to do an individual challenge, and he or she fails, they are eliminated. If they successfully complete the challenge, they can still take the money or put it in the final pool, but they also must eliminate one of the other players.