Every so often, we see a Challenge whose format is perfect and works really well. More often, we see seasons with formats that don’t work, and probably should have been avoided by production. These are those Challenges. I’m not saying production shouldn’t have filmed a Challenge, but perhaps they should have reconsidered the format.
1. The Gauntlet 3
The Gauntlet 3 is a very popular season, but production clearly couldn’t get enough true veterans to fill the Veteran team. There was such a heavy reliance on Fresh Meat to fill that team, and they automatically banded together to get rid of some of the true veterans. Plus, the rookie team underwhelmed despite the fact that they could have found some stronger rookies to compete.
2. The Island
We have Survivor for this shit. No Challenge fans want to see the cast members endure the elements. Beyond this flawed premise, the fact that there was so few opportunities to compete in challenges made this season a snoozefest for fans of competition.
3. Rivals 2
It’s no big secret at this point that this season was originally going to be a Duel-esque format before a last minute change. However, this resulted in pairing with some really fake rivalries. The cast was solid, but production would have been better off sticking with a solo-style competition.
4. Battle of the Bloodlines
After Battle of the Exes 2, fans of the Challenge were eager for a non-pair Challenge and were annoyed by the flock of new Are You the One? kids appearing on the show. So, we got a pair-based season and a bunch of new Challengers to replace the Real Worlders on the show. Perhaps this format could have worked at one point in time, but we got it at the wrong point in time.
5. Rivals 3
Much like Rivals 2, many of the pairing on this season were forced. While some were real, the format still resulted in the two strongest competitors being paired together. Add in the huge twist at the end of the season, but the twist feels flawed when co-ed rivals are competing against each other on a series that tries so hard to created an equitable playing field for men and women.