Spotlight: WCG Ultimate Gamer
Tuesday night sees the debut of a new reality series on SCI FI, WCG Ultimate Gamer. Just so you know, as a rule I do not watch reality show. TV is meant for escapist entertainment and if I want to see real people being idiots or in competition with other real people I’ll go to the mall (also something else I like to avoid). However, if you’re talking about a show that is designed to find the best video gamer in the country and features the contestants not only playing the games, but real life versions of said games…ok, I’m in.
The show starts with twelve gamers chosen from a wide spectrum who move into a loft together and enter into various competitions collectively and individually. There was a wide net cast in regards to recruiting for the show. According to Executive Producer Dwight Smith in a recent conference call, “We did a national casting call and we had open auditions in cities across the country and solicited people through gaming sites and through different gaming organizations. And they were tested on various criteria. Obviously personality is a huge part of being cast on a reality show but on this particular show skill was also extremely important. So they were put through multiple rigorous gaming tests where they were tested in their skills and abilities at games in all different genres. Because our show was looking for the best overall gamer we tested them in multiple genres at different times.”
It looks like each of the eight episodes will focus on one particular game, as the first episode focuses on Rock Band 2. However, before they actually play the game, the group is broken up into three bands who must learn a song by The Donnas and then perform the song to not only a live audience, but to four judges, The Donnas themselves. Then the the line-up of the three bands is rearranged with each performing Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy” in the game itself. Both of these competitions determine the ranking of all twelve players with the lowest scoring player having to face off in a one-on-one elimination game with another player chosen by the person in first place.
To make things more interesting, all twelve players move in together into a loft for the duration of the series. Sure, this may seem like a soap opera excess, but what happens there directly effects other aspects of the competition as friendships (presumably romances, eventually) and alliances are formed. This all begins to alter how each person plays with, against, the others. Executive Producer Michael Agbabian said, “I think people are going to be surprised at how much reality plays out in this series. It is a show about gaming certainly but there’s a lot that happens on the reality side. And not only in terms of like strategy and alliances and love interests and all that stuff but it really starts playing into the game play itself in terms of like outcomes of certain episodes.”
Hosts Hannah Simone and Joel Gourdin probably play things way more seriously than they need to be and there are camera shots at certain moments that back that up, but I doubt there would be many people that would watch a dozen people silently playing video games for an hour. I’ll admit that I was rolling my eyes at the melodrama of it all during the first few minutes of the show, but by the fifteen minute mark I was pretty much hooked. Ultimately, WCG Ultimate Gamer has two things going for it: A likable group of kick-ass gamers and the fact that the show is, wisely, limited to only eight episodes. This isn’t a The Real World with video games, but there is enough there to get you attached to some of the players as well as developing a vested interested in seeing how it all turns out. The series premiere is Tuesday at 10:00PM on SCI FI.
Photos courtesy of SCI FI Channel.
Here are the other show I will be checking out this week:
Chuck (NBC, Monday 8:00PM): This week it looks like the erstwhile James Bond, MI-6 Agent Cole Barker (Jonathan Cake), is still around this week. I’m starting to get tired of the whole back and forth romance with Chuck and Sarah. I am not interested in seeing it continue this way for the entirety of the series. Resolve it one way or the other and soon.
Heroes (NBC, Monday 9:00PM): Parkman is da bomb, Claire wants a geeky job and Sylar meets daddy.
Castle (ABC, Monday 10:00PM): The only reason I’m even wtaching the first episode of this new series is because of Mr. Nathan Fillion. I’ll let you know next week if I plan to continue.
Lie To Me (Fox, Wednesday 8:00PM): I hope the erratic airing and schedule jumping this show has done hasn’t already doomed it to failure. The quality has consistently been going up and it is very enjoyable.
Dollhouse (Fox, Friday 9:00PM): This show is still all over the place as far as quality, but last week was good enough to keep me watching. This week is supposed to offer more show mythology goodness.
Battlestar Galactica (SCI FI, Friday 10:00PM): It’s all been leading to this, the first hour of the three hour series conclusion. The dominoes will all be falling into place as over five years of story are brought to an end. My series wrap-up of this show will be up the weekend after the finale airs.
Ashes To Ashes (BBC America, Saturday 9:00PM): Sharp writing and a heavy dollop of nostalgia, good times.
Next week I’ll take a look at the premiere of Kings. Until then, keep the dial right here!