For the past few seasons of The Challenge, we’ve had longer episodes. There’s also been another odd change: fewer people are eliminated.
On War of the Worlds, we had a team of two eliminated most weeks. Later in the season it was a single person, but the cast melted really fast. Starting with War of the Worlds 2 we would lose on person an episode.
We’re about half way through Double Agents and we’ve only seen seven eliminations. Natalie’s gold skull is back up for grabs, and there really doesn’t seem to be an urgency to get your skull. For a show that is trying to be so competitive, why aren’t they making the game more cutthroat?
If the Aerial Takedown challenge is any indication, the daily challenges themselves don’t seem to have a lot of value. The guys just sat around and let the clock run. They really didn’t have to try, unless you win there’s not benefit to competing. This is because eliminations move so slowly. There are only ten skulls available to competitors, and four are still up for grabs.
At this rate, the cast is just going to eliminate themselves before all the skulls are taken out of play. The slow pace has allowed people to leave the game before they really get involved in the action.
Why is MTV doing this? Their goal isn’t too clear. Perhaps they’re trying to create more storylines or keep fan favorites around longer. Maybe they have future challenges planned that need more people to play. Regardless of the motive, it makes the seasons feel slower.
There might be some twists on the horizon. Purges are standard parts of the game now, but it doesn’t seem to work well with the skull twist. What happens if a person with a skull is purged? Do they take the skull home, or is there another free skull up for grabs.
Don’t get me wrong, I like getting to know the cast. But when episodes are 90 minutes long, I feel there should be more action. It’s too easy for competitors to float through the games, and the challenges are coming across as optional. In the meantime, the game will move at a snail’s pace and we might have a large percentage of the cast in the final. It’s amazing to watch seasons 17-29 when we lost two people in an hour. The current pace is so much slower yet the budget is so much larger. MTV’s direction is unclear, and it doesn’t translate into a good show.