With an Express Pass and an U-Turn up for grabs, 11 favorites return
I really don't know why this is so hard to understand: "Amazing Race" premieres need to be two-hours. Or, at the very least, they need to be 90 minutes.
And I say this every premiere cycle. Or at least I say it in every premiere cycle that doesn't begin with a two-hour "Amazing Race" premiere.
Of course, the reason I say it is because "Amazing Race," unlike "Survivor" or "America's Next Top Model" or most of the shows in the competitive reality universe, has the responsibility to at least vaguely introduce every single competitor in the initial episode. With "Survivor," you can have a castaway pull a Kelly Purple and go the duration of the game doing nothing. But on "Amazing Race" every team is doing the same thing at the same time and while some teams might perform tasks in less interesting ways, they're invariably going to be temporarily spotted in action. So in a premiere, you have to find a way to introduce people and let Your Friendly Neighborhood Bloggers figure out names and quirky nicknames.
"Amazing Race" has found a couple ways to circumvent this issue. The show has periodically cast J-list celebrities, people who are vaguely or plausibly familiar to some portion of the audience, but who aren't distracting enough to dominate the game (for the most part). There have been former Miss Americas, ex-reality show contestants aplenty, YouTube staples, poker stars and writer-actor Mike White, plus a couple other folks who were recognizable for certain viewers with certain points of reference. The other occasional solution utilized by "Amazing Race" and pretty much every other reality show these days: All-Stars!
Maybe that's why Sunday (February 20) night's "Amazing Race: Redemption Island" -- Ooops... "Amazing Race: Unfinished Business" -- premiere was so disappointing. Despite providing me with 11 teams I could easily identify, including at least eight or nine teams I was genuinely pleased to see return, Sunday's premiere *still* left me muttering about the annoyance of not getting a two-hour or 90-minute premiere.
More thoughts on the "Amazing Race: Unfinished Business" premiere after the break...