The Summit

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.

8 Responses

  1. It’s so beautiful! I am stunned it hasn’t rated better so far. The premise is interesting and the moral and practical dilemmas and choices and the alliances forming make it doubly interesting, but the biggest drawcard for me is the natural beauty so lovingly filmed.

  2. I am thoroughly enjoying this challenging tv show. It has all the thrills you could ask for and the human dynamics and their downfalls. Absolutely enthralled with all of it. I actually get disappointed when each show ends. I am watching commercial TV because this show is on it. Excellent.

  3. I recorded it last night and watched Masterchef. And… it was exactly like The Bridge, but climb the mountain. And stretch it out. What they need is to tighten it.

  4. Ahh I lost interest when I read Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. It’s hard enough keeping up with Masterchef, I’m certainly not going to attempt watching another over sized reality.

  5. Last evening I received this email:
    Hold on tight, John!
    You’ve been chosen to watch the World Premiere of the sky-high thriller The Summit before everyone else.
    Stream the first episode today for a limited time only, before it airs Sunday 7.00pm on Channel 9 and 9Now.
    As it was late (10pm), I watched the first 30minutes only, planning to watch the rest today. Today I am denied further viewing which is a pity. What I saw was stunning, beautifully filmed and exciting. I think I am hooked.

    1. Do Channel 9 do the same as Channel 10 and take their “stunning, beautifully filmed” footage and slap a logo on it promoting the next reality franchise on the production line. Now such series seem to run 3-4 weeks rather than 3-4 months it seems one only serves as promotion for the next.

  6. I miss the days of 1 hour, once a week shows.
    I really enjoyed ‘The Bridge’ and really like the sound of this too, but I just don’t have the time or inclination to give 3 hours+ a week to this kind of show.

  7. This’ll either launch massive or fizzle out, don’t think anyone could be certain of either way. On the one hand, it’s different to your Married, MasterChef, Block, etc and certainly for Nine. But on the other similar have been tried and tested over the past 20 years to minimal success including some recents (Survivor AU, SAS, Bridge and Million Dollar Island also coming) plus up against Farmer finale with that Seven News and weekend AFL push. Not to mention MasterChef. We eagerly await and see, a big budget experiment, not too dissimilar to Ninja which proved an instant hit, though dropped away a few years later. Smart play not stripping it 30-50 episodes though just in case, like Lego and also Farmer, unlike MasterChef and Block.

Leave a Reply