In 2018, fans were surprised by the length of Final Reckoning. Omitting reunions and specials, there were twenty episodes. While Double Agents didn’t pass this number, it came close. We saw the winner after nineteen episodes. Considering the fact that most episodes were 90-minutes, Double Agents is the season with the most screen time.
Does this make the season too long? While there were plenty of twists and turns throughout the show, it was also noted for having a slower pace. We saw conversations between the cast and there was some character development, but there were moments with less action. It seems like it has been ages since we saw Wes or Nicole Z. on TV.
We need to remember, this was filmed during the pandemic. It was hard to get clearance to film and MTV will continue to have a hard time filming new content. Once they have footage to make a show, it’s not unreasonable for them to make the most of it.
The Challenge is also becoming increasingly expensive. Not that fans are demanding Challenge-branded airplanes or army tanks, but these theatric vehicles cost money. The cast also needs to get paid to appear, and the prize is $1,000,000. MTV gets its budget through advertisers and The Challenge is currently its highest-rated show. More footage means more advertisements which bring in more money.
In terms of editing, the show did feel quite long. This wasn’t always a bad thing, especially when you consider the fact that there was a good amount of manipulation and scheming in the house. It does get discouraging when you hear production omitted some of the drama during the season, but it adds context when we see drama and can hear all the sides of the story. This is probably best displayed in episode 17 when we see Kyle and Fessy trying to avoid elimination.
When we see the context of this season and consider it was filmed during COVID, the length feels acceptable. Season 37 will likely follow a similar pattern, but hopefully the formatting is modified in future seasons. The skull twist takes away from elimination drama. Episodes where people wanted to get voted into The Crater were the most boring because there wasn’t a lot of content to fill the time between Challenge and elimination.
If you like faster seasons, you might want to consider The Challenge: All Stars. Double Agents was long, and the main series is likely to stay that way.