In 2012 the hubster and I were glued to the History Channel’s debut of Full Metal Jousting, a reality game show where contestants lived and practiced as if they were knights of a medieval kingdom and underwent weekly challenges of full-armor jousting. Now this was the type of reality TV that I was delighted to sink my teeth into without reservation. Although the angle was historical, not medieval fantasy, I knew that it wouldn’t be long before some clever minds would be inspired to think outside the box. And so they have…
THE QUEST, the love-child of a production team who produced the LOTR trilogy is a reality game show that takes contestants into the fantasy kingdom of Everealm. There, the contestants, called paladins must learn how to fight and defend the kingdom from the evil forces of Verlox, and in doing so, discover which one of them is the one TRUE hero.
This is a first for reality TV, in that there is a scripted storyline, meaning it has an actual plot with characters that openly engage with the (unscripted) paladins. Think of a virtual reality game come to life with live action, special effects and real actors. The paladins face weekly trials that test their skill and endurance, integrity and leadership, teamwork and loyalty; and, these challenges relate directly to the storyline.
The last three paladins to complete, or fail to complete, the weekly challenge must face the Fates for a chance at redemption. The first to complete the Fates’ challenge correctly, is granted a reprieve. The remaining paladins (who were not in jeopardy) must then decide which of the two endangered paladins to stand behind. The one with the most support is saved.
Week by week, viewers watch the paladins’number dwindle because in the end, there can be only ONE TRUE HERO.
What I like about these paladins is that their choices of who to save and who to banish are usually based on strength, valor, and loyalty. THE QUEST is, afterall, about protecting and defending the kingdom, not individual monetary gain. That’s refreshing and truly something worth watching.
These folks want to win, but they want to do it the right way. Case in point, one week they eliminated a paladin that was rotten from the get-go. Viewers were privileged to witness his selfish motives and behavior, long before the paladins became aware of his conniving character. Although several felt his skills were valuable, (why I don’t know as he repeatedly failed challenges) they realized that he did not demonstrate a true hero’s values and banished him.
I did the happy dance. I had pegged him from the start, during the introductions actually. I wasn’t sad to see him go. If I could’ve rung the church bell, I would have.
THE QUEST is a fantasy adventure come to life. The actors are fabulous. They must know their characters inside and out, backstory, forward story and everything in between, because the paladins’ roles aren’t scripted and the actors must be able to interact and improvise quickly. Honestly, the cast and crew, and paladins themselves deserve an Emmy for their efforts.
Now, the final two episodes, I believe, aired Thursday night (9/11/14) on ABC. But, no spoilers here. The hubster DVRs all our programs and rations them out because he is the ultimate, TV show hoarder. One day, I’ll stage an intervention. It won’t be pretty.
I haven’t heard if ABC is considering renewing THE QUEST for another season. I truly hope they do because the show was a fun and exciting adventure, breathing new life into reality TV and giving network programming an entirely new face.
What reality TV shows have captured your heart? And if you could be a contestant on a reality game show of your choosing, which would it be?