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  1. I am going to jump on board as I have never watched it before! But I have noticed that lots of survivor people are huge fans, so I’m THERE.
    Can someone give me a two second guide to what to look out for? As I understand it, the competitors are in teams and have to make it to the end to win, so teams will fail along the way?

    • Basically in each show, they travel somewhere – usually a long trip by plane etc. Once there, they do a “detour” (choice of two challenges running simultaneously) or “roadblock” (challenge for one team member). Then they travel somewhere else in the same region, do another detour or roadblock (usually one of each in each episode), then travel/race to the “pitstop” where they meet the host who counts them in in order. Last to arrive at the pitstop is usually eliminated. Sometimes there are non-eliminations where the last team has an extra challenge during the next leg. There are quite a few other features, but they are always explained by the host as they happen.

      When there are three teams left, they compete in the Finale which finishes somewhere in the start country, and often includes a memory challenge based on the countries they have been through.

      The drama points happen when: someone just can’t complete a task, a team chooses the wrong detour (they can switch to the other one, but of course that takes time), planes/trains/buses are missed or there aren’t enough tickets left, taxi drivers get lost, contestants driving get lost, they lose passports or get injured, there are language and cultural barriers, teams form alliances against others and maybe give assistance to other teams, and lastly the pressure of it all gets to some couples and there is fighting etc.

      One thing I like (like Survivor) is that although the game is meticulously planned and executed, it is very difficult for the producers to influence the results, purely because people are people and do silly stuff. And like Survivor, a lot rests on the quality of the casting.

      Oh, and it is wonderful to see all the countries, often ones where few tourists go, and the viewer learns something about the culture. I still remember those wonderful canals in The Netherlands last season – one of the few places I would really like to see.

      Winner gets the most money, second and third usually get some consolation money. Also, the winners of each leg usually get a prize from a sponsor.

      • Great summary! I like it when they have to eat a gross local food or do random stuff like herd 20 chickens into a pen. Or when it shows the taxi driver not knowing how to find a local landmark when the viewer can see it out of the window of the taxi

    • Yes Brussel. It’s exciting and teams do get knocked out along the way. The teams are pairs and they travel the world, squabbling and doing challenges along the way. It is similar to Survivor in that it has adventure and challenges. It would be a great show for Windsong to be in. In fact, I think he has been in training, has he not. 😁

    • Fijane covered the general gist of the show, and covered them reasonable well. The show features about a dozen (give or take) teams, comprised of two people with a pre-existing relationships (partners, siblings, old friends, etc). Each episode ends at a Pit Stop. After a bunch of challenges, the last team to reach the Pit Stop gets eliminated (most of the time). In the final episode, the first team to reach the finish line wins the prize money. In the American seasons, it’s a million bucks. I don’t think it’ll be the same here (probably half a million or something).

      The franchise began in America, but lots of countries have filmed their own regional versions of TAR. This will be the 4th Australian season of the show, and it’s a shame that the last few aren’t available on DVD, because they were pretty good. The second season featured these two lovely Italian sisters who spent most of the Race at the back of the pack, but they kept on surviving thanks to a long line of improbable miracles, it was extraordinary. In Dubai, they got lost and drove up to the presidential palace by accident … and got arrested. And yet, they still survived. Because a team behind them had screwed up even worse.

      The one thing I disagree with is, honestly, I believe TAR is even better than Survivor. With Survivor, the interpersonal dynamics (who to befriend, how to talk yourself out of elimination, when to stab someone in the back before they knife you) are a huge and critical part of proceedings. You don’t have a show without all those dramatic betrayals. The TAR, the interpersonal dynamics are sometimes important (particularly towards the back end of the race), but mostly, the show is about the teams having to deal with insane struggles (Jetlag. Lack of sleep. Eating poorly. Getting lost. Navigating places where they don’t speak the language. Trying to communicate in places where the locals don’t speak English) … as they scramble around the world. The Race elements are far more critical than alliances and betrayals (although they do sometimes become important). Rarely do you get undeserved winners, and the Survivor phenomenon of a “goat” falling over the finish line generally doesn’t happen. On the Amazing Race, you’ve done this tortuous lap around the whole planet. If you’ve made it to the end? Then you deserve to be there (except for the Family Edition of the American version, season 8? We don’t like to talk about that one).

      One of my favourite American seasons ended with a foot race to the finish line. The two teams had circum-navigated the entire planet, but they reached the finish line at the same time, and so it just became a desperate sprint to beat the other team and get to the end. Imagine that. A million bucks on the line, and it’s down to a foot race). Just riveting, incredible television. You will shout at your TV, but in a good way, I can tell you that.

      The other thing I love about TAR is that it has fantastic rewatch value. Even if you know who’s going to win (and sometimes, it can be obvious), there’s all these crazy challenges in wonderful and exotic locations, and there’s always something to watch. Even if you strip out all the reality TV show bitchiness … you still wind up with one of the best travel-shows on TV.

      And like I said in another thread, those opening few minutes where the host (in this case, Beau Ryan) tells the teams, “the world is waiting,” and then drops his hand and shouts, “Go!” and all hell breaks loose? That is some of the best television you are ever likely to see in your life.

      If the show really takes your fancy, the older American seasons are all available on DVD from Amazon. Season one is probably the best (there’s little stunt casting. The contestants seem like genuine people. The show hits all the big landmarks — the Eiffel tower, Victoria Falls, the Sahara Desert, the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall, etc) because the show was still figuring out the logistics, so things went wrong, and sometimes, the production crew had no idea what was happening (one team gets lost in the Sahara Desert), but there was a real, genuine charm to it. Season two is also a great place to start, because the show has figured out the kinks so production is much smoother. The finale was one of the best finales ever, and they actually came to Australia (visiting Sydney, Adelaide and Coober Pedy).

      (if you want the greatest single Racer of all time? A fellow named Zach in season 3 of the American version. Not only does Zach show incredible skill at all these different tasks they have to do … but he had a partner who was not suited for the race at all, a platonic girl-friend who spent most of the trip having an extended nervous breakdown. It was quite sad, to be honest — this poor girl thought she could handle the stresses of the Race, and by the time she realised that she simply couldn’t do it, it was too late to turn back. Many Racers have to deal with angry or stressed partners, even partners who occasionally want to quit. Zach essentially covered half the planet, with a partner who was actively fighting against him the entire time, and he still managed to get her to the final episode. The man deserved a medal)

      There’s a story about the first American season. The production crew runs the race beforehand (hitting all the locations, trying all the various tasks and visiting the important spots), and in the first season, the production crew said that the teams were doing it faster. The crew had budgeted a certain time, but the teams were doing so well at “Must get there first!” that they were beating the production crew by about 3 days.

      Also unlike Survivor, you tend to get better casts. With Survivor, a bad cast makes for a bad season (and I really struggled with the most recent series of Australian Survivor, because the cast were a bunch of morons). But with TAR, even with a bad cast (and the real stupid people will get filtered out, pretty early, by the rigours of the Race), you’ve still got the world on display, in all it’s beauty and diversity.

      And sometimes, on the race, you’ll have moments of absolute heart-break (where a team will get hopelessly screwed over by something completely out of their control. Or you’ll get so completely lost that you wind up on the wrong side of Greece, or fall asleep in a train and wind up in the wrong country. There are teams who wind up so far behind that they end up on the wrong *continent*. That’s happened a few times. Hell, one team in season 2 missed their destination by an entire *planetary hemisphere*). It’s rare, but it can happen. On the other hand … you’ll get teams who are so hopelessly screwed, but through sheer determination or luck, they’ll survive (and maybe even go on to win the damn thing).

      And that’s the one Race maxim that you cannot ever forget. Never, EVER, give up. Because the team behind you might be even more lost.

      Have I mentioned that it’s my favourite show? πŸ™‚

      • And I forgot to mention, sometimes, you do get a “goat” of a team, who end up going a lot further than you thought they would. But generally that makes you like them, which negates the whole “goat” part of the situation.

        In season 13, we had team Dandrew (two frat boys, Dan and Andrew). They were useless at, well, everything. And I mean everything. In Russia, they had to join a military marching band, and they were so uncoordinated that they failed at marching correctly. They made it to the end (although, no, they didn’t win. And they only made it into 3rd place because the team immediately in front of them lost their passports and were stuck in Moscow for a few days. Remember the Race maxim. It doesn’t matter how far behind you think you are. Never, EVER, give up).

        That they were so completely useless, yet they survived that long and made it that far? That just makes you cheer for them even more. And even the boys, on the finish mat, pointed out how ludicrous it was that they’d survived as long as they did.

        • Oh MY – I am now super excited after reading this summary Wind – why on earth haven’t I watched it earlier??
          D’oh! It looks so much fun. . . I am very keen indeed.
          thank you for the excellent pep talk – it really makes me keen to watch.

        • I agree with nearly everything you said, Windsong. My love for TAR started before I discovered Survivor, so I probably do favour that more, and also, as you mention, there can be a whole season with nice-ish people and it will still be great.

          I agree about the re-watch value. Often older seasons are on the side channels, and even if you have seen them before there is so much there that you will have forgotten much.

          I think the segment I remember most (from my early days of watching) is when a team were doing some sort of challenge in a field rolling hay, and Phil had to slog across the long grass in the dark to tell them to stop because everyone else had finished long ago.

          I also have enjoyed many segments where a team has got the jump on others by smart thinking when trying to buy plane tickets. Apparently they don’t allow that much anymore (by arranging the flights for the teams). There are also the moments when teams incur time penalties for doing something wrong – always great viewing.

          Pretty sure I haven’t watched the very first seasons. I must go and find them.

          • The hay-bale task was from season six. Apparently the girl had uncovered a couple of clues, she’d just missed them. It was the second time ever when Phil had to leave the mat, and eliminate a team while they were still on the course, because it was pointless to make them continue. It was tragic. That entered Race lore as the absolute epitome of terrible luck.

            The first seasons are worth watching, just because the show still has that early charm (and the cast were picked for being real people, not larger-than-life personalities who were picked for their camera-presence). Any of them from s1 to s5 is worth a rewatch.

          • That’s what I like, Windsong; real people, not the larger than life Boston Robs, who btw isn’t ltl imo. Just a jerk who got lucky.
            I like real people and newbies on all the shows; Survivor, Bachelor…..

  2. Yes Brussel. It’s exciting and teams do get knocked out along the way. The teams are pairs and they travel the world, squabbling and doing challenges along the way. It is similar to Survivor in that it has adventure and challenges. It would be a great show for Windsong to be in. In fact, I think he has been in training, has he not. 😁

    • I wish, heh.

      I’m good for challenging adventures, and I can speak about three languages (Oui! Je parle en peu francais), but I don’t have a passport (heh), and I’m not sure I could handle the rigours of the Race. You know, sleeping in cabs and travelling for days, and all that kind of crazy stuff.

  3. My favourite line from TAR was when a couple got their instructions to go to Taiwan, and they said, “Oh great. I love Thai food”.
    Great geography. πŸ˜‚

    • So many fantastic TAR moments. I’ve watched almost every season, but it just sort of blurs together after a while.

      I always love it when the teams have to travel by train across Europe. I loved the episode in s1 where they were due to camp overnight in a bedouin camp in the Sahara (but a sandstorm meant they had to evacuate to a nearby city). I recall one of the all-star seasons where they visited this mountain-top township in Italy that was straight out a fairytale. I love it whenever they come to Australia. They came to the Sunshine Coast once, which was pretty epic.

      And I adored the moment when they arrived at the Pit Stop, on a sheep station in New Zealand (this was one of the more recent seasons), and Phil’s dad was there to greet them. That was cool as hell.

        • That was season 7. 7 was interesting because it was one of the only Races that didn’t do a full circuit around the world (IIRC, they never crossed the Pacific Ocean, they just did a loop around the Atlantic).

          I’ve heard other people swear that s7 is one of the best seasons ever, but see, I never cared for it much, so I don’t think I’m going to be much help there. I just didn’t much like Rob or Amber, truthfully.

          • I am guessing they were both super competitive and came across as annoying, somewhat aggressive Americans

          • Rob was super-aggressive and competitive (he spent most of the Race acting as if winning was just a formality). This bit him in the butt on two separate (and immensely-satisfying) occasions.

          • Seasons that are all-star or themed around people who are already known (eg the recent one with people from Big Brother and Survivor) have a very different vibe. Those people tend to be more savvy about competition shows, often extremely physically fit, and know how to play up to the camera. Novices are more genuine and likeable, and make interesting mistakes. I like both for variety.

        • I wasn’t a fan of that season. They hadn’t finished spending their Survivor winnings. I’m no fan of Rob or Amber.

        • It’s funny, I always tend to like the Races that the rest of the Race random doesn’t like, and I don’t respond well to the Races that everyone else thinks are the best.

          • I don’t know what it’s like now with uber, but at that time it was like someone in the suburbs thinking they could just step out into the street and “hail a cab”. It’s not New York.
            It was so funny to see all these Americans running around like crazy looking for a “cab”.

      • And occasionally, Phil would play along.

        “What country is this?”
        “This is the country of London, isn’t it?”
        “Yes. London is a country.”

      • A few years ago when they were in Holland a few teams thought Rotterdam was the Dutch pronounciation of Amsterdam. They thought they were the same city. Caused all kinds of confusion.

  4. Like all these shows, it works best when you care; when you really want someone to win and it’s ‘on the edge of your couch viewing, and when you have goes you definitely don’t want to win.
    The funny, friendly ratbags who get along with each other and play fair are naturally the hot favourites,, like those cute hippies in the American AR a few years ago. And those cute surfers in the Aus AR.

  5. Does anyone else think that, “This is a non elimination leg”, is just a way to give popular contestants an extra chance? It only ever seems to happen to the nice couples, so it seems very suspicious.

    • For a few seasons, they made a point of calling them “pre-determined non-elimination legs”. I used to wonder too, but I think that the huge organisation required for the race would mean that they can’t really make decisions like that on-the-run. The next leg has to include an extra challenge, which surely could not be arranged with a day or so notice?

  6. Yes I will be watching if only to see contestants ill-prepared for the race. Like those on Survivor who never practiced making fire beforehand, those who cannot drive a manual….

    • He’ll yeah. The couple who can’t swim. Neither of them. That’s my favourite.
      “Where did you think you were coming”. Judge Judy. πŸŠβ€β™‚οΈπŸŠβ€β™€οΈ

      • Oh, if you’ve seen the previews, there’s already the Muslim girls (who can’t handle difficult foods), and the Indigenous team (who don’t like heights or extreme sports).

        Guess what’s going to happen to both of those teams. Go on, guess, heheh.

  7. An indigenous team AND a Muslim team … Ten just reached their diversity quota for a year’s worth of programming. How refreshing


    These guys look pretty fit

  8. I’m so glad we’re doing Amazing Race again. I’ve missed it. And did you hear Big Brother is asking for auditions. Ch 9 have lost the rights now so someone else must be picking it up.

    • I understand it is Seven. There is a sense of desperation about them with regards to finding some competition show which will be popular enough to reach the magic million again.

      • Yes they’ve had a lot of duds this year. They are due to release their upfronts of shows for next year. It is rumoured Big Brother will be one of them. They are also doing 9’s Farmer wants a wife. Maybe try to come up with something original instead of taking other networks leftovers that haven’t aired in years.

        • I would watch both. I love Big Brother and I have gotten into Lust Island. I guess I must be a sticky beak. At least, while I am watching tv trash, my neighbours are safe. 🀣

        • I loved FWAW, but I am suspicious that it was too nice back in the day, and they will now zoop it up to be as awful as MAFS. The reason that there were several successful relationships from FWAW was because it really was about trying to match people with similar interests etc. If it just descends into bed-hopping, it will be really sad.

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