Last year’s observational series in which a team of “nerds” took on a champion soccer team stood out as one of the few reality-driven series that had a real affection for its participants. No voting out, no alliances, no twists –clearly Fremantle Media hadn’t read the “Reality 101” rulebook.
So successful was the Australian version of a Danish format that it has uncovered another 14 self-confessed nerds to put through the wringer once more.
This time our nerds, a bunch of boys aged 19 – 27, have an unhealthy predilection for mathematics, IT, physics, antique mobile phones, medieval history, Rubik’s Cube, climate change, sci-fi, scouts, Asian culture, robots, collectibles and an eco-nerd. One experiments with cross-dressing. Another actually has a girlfriend (the publicity notes claim this as an achievement).
Again the boys are uniformly unfit. Pseudo-Austen Powers music accompanies their clumsy attempts at kick to kick. Under the eyes of two coaches we are reassured that effort counts big time in this world. These boys aspire to form a unified force and overcome the singledom of being a nerd. And with the spirited tone of the show you want them to succeed.
The first episode sees the boys compete against a state under-11s champion team. It soon becomes clear where the nerds should and shouldn’t be placed on the field. The under 11s run rings around our nerds who huff and puff just to keep up.
But there is a lovely moment post-match when the nerds dazzle the kids with their mathematics skills, or unravel a Rubik’s Cube with a mesmerising flick of the wrist.
In a world of manipulative reality, it is this embracing tone that makes Nerds FC a warm and fuzzy weekly diversion.
Nerds FC premieres 7:30pm Saturday June 9 on SBS.