Magnificent scenery, money-hungry contestants, and a taunting host in new Nine reality series.
Come for the scenery, stay for the gameplay in Nine’s brand new reality series The Summit.
On second thoughts, stay for the scenery anyway. New Zealand looks pristine magnificent in this new money-hungry quest.
There’s a million bucks divided into the backpacks of 14 Australians who are given 14 days to trek 200km to the icy heights of an 8500 feet (2590 metre) mountain. Nearly all of it is uphill and as ominous host Jai Courtney warns, “Looks like fun? It won’t be.”
In this newly-devised contest the rules dictate this team must stick together, meaning they are only fast as their weakest link. It’s also in the interests of the group to help them to the top -after all they are carrying prize winnings. But if someone quits, their $70k backpack is also gone.
The group consists of alpha-males and athlete females, as well as individuals with zero climbing experience.
“I hate heights” says Indigenous musician Isaac. Now you tell us?
In contrast, buff entrepreneur Jans likes a challenge but reveals, “I am extremely competitive…. you can trust me until you can’t.”
There’s a mum of three, a bloke who runs his own sock line, and more.
Jai says of the diverse group, “youse” are a “motley bunch.”
Menacing them on their climb will be “the mountain’s keeper,” a black helicopter which darts in and out as required like a black panther and occasionally drops supplies or new instructions.
By the first hike 60 year old nurse Kitty is struggling, prompting debate about whether to cut loose the ‘dead weight’, cleverly enabling a Lord of the Flies mentality to run amok in this Lord of the Rings backdrop.
“There’s no judgment here. If you don’t believe you can get to the top. Make a call,” says one.
There will be gorges to cross on rickety bridges, rung rope ladders and challenges that make The Amazing Race look like boot camp. This is punishing stuff. Host Jai, a man of few words but with plenty of cynicism, will reappear for the occasional group respite and unveil new twists.
While Alone is filmed by the participants, it’s clear this group is surrounded by some sort of minimal crew and safety experts (I’d hate to see the insurance bills). Who in their right mind tries to take ordinary folk top snow capped mountain? Reality TV, that’s who.
Sure it’s derivative of Bear Grylls, Survivor, or The Bridge on a mountain, but first seasons of new formats are rarely this strong. You get magical scenery, ballsy characters, dastardly jeopardy, and a brusque, taunting host. Thank god for drones.
Just one problem. The episodes are frustratingly long, like an endurance test in themselves. Blame a network wanting to top a ratings mountain?
The Summit screens 7pm Sunday, 7:30pm Monday & Tuesday on Nine.