The Mole ( Season 1, 2022)
Host: Alex Wagner
It follows twelve players as they work together in challenges to add money to a pot that only one of them will win. – IMDB
While I haven’t seen the original The Mole, Netflix picking up this show is a completely new thing for me. The Mole feels like familiar games that have found popularity like Werewolf (not sure if that’s the actual name) or Among Us. Deception is a wonderful game especially when the audience gets to watch all the angles and try to figure out who is the mole along with the players. Of course, the showrunners are doing the deception here since the editing is what creates even more intrigue a lot of times. I went into The Mole thinking it would be another guilty pleasure sort of watch, it actually turned out to be more than that.
What makes The Mole stand out from the other shows is that it has team missions. Everyone wants to cast doubt on themselves or someone depending on their strategy so it all comes down to who is trying to mess up the game the most. The team missions go through a lot of different places and settings from the beginning at the jungle to prison break to bank heist. The scenarios make big changes and the variety along with each of the players’ know-how is factored in. At the same time, the show also throws certain curveballs to give certain players a chance to make certain decisions that will affect the pot to reveal whether its a positive or negative choice. It all makes the elimination at the end of day feel more intriguing. However, the intrigue does set a lot more near the end since its fairly predictable who will be eliminated in the beginning episodes.
The Mole has some compelling settings but with many shows like this, the players are a mixed bag with a variety of personalities and different strategies. Nothing is quite exciting than seeing how one player can mess up the plan for everyone out of selfishness for example. Human nature to the test is just such a fun thing to watch. However, as fun as all this is, the host Alex Wagner is really great. She’s the consistent compelling element that makes The Mole very enjoyable. I’m not sure how Netflix does it but they’ve been getting some great hosts for these money-winning shows with Nicole Byers, Michelle Buteau and now Alex Wagner.
28 Days Haunted (Season 1, 2022)
Three teams spend 28 days in some of the most haunted locations in the United States for an experiment based on the theories of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. – IMDB
I’m not really a Mythbusters and ghost hunting watching sort of person. Chinese believe in ghosts too much to want to watch this whole question about whether ghosts exist so this is a completely random selection from the husband. On top of that, I never watched The Conjuring and haven’t really dove into what Ed and Lorraine Warren has solved on this front so I’m going to take their word that this experiment is based on their theories. Its an interesting one for sure especially when trapping mediums and paranormal teams in three different haunted locations.
What makes this reality show good mostly is the locations they choose and having the different team and their dynamic really come through. Some of them is the location that shines through, some is the team itself that makes it more intriguing. For the most part, the biggest question here is whether you do believe these things are actually happening or whether its all staged.
At the end of the day, 28 Days Haunted is an intriguing show. For most of it, it feels creepy and intriguing. Sure, the whole idea of mediums and such is a little odd since they all have different approaches. It is kind of a 101 course on ghost hunting and the technology and techniques behind it. While the season did feel rather convincing, what broke it and felt staged was the last shot and it broke the whole concept.
Physical:100 (Season 1, 2023)
One hundred contestants in top physical shape compete in a series of grueling challenges to claim the honor – and cash reward – as the last one standing. – IMDB
Being big fans of Ultimate Beastmaster (review) and very sad that its never been renewed for more seasons, Physical:100 is a good placeholder. Its not quite the same but it does achieve other things. Yes, there is negative news regarding a participant who hasn’t been specified the last I saw but it doesn’t take away that this show does break a lot of preconceived image of Asian bodies because these participants both male and female are seriously ripped, big, well-built. Plus, it highlights a lot of their athletes from national to Olympics level.
With shows like this, its always the structure of the competition and the challenges that makes or breaks the show. Physical:100 uses 5 challenge plus a pre-challenge to eliminate its contestants to a final 5. With that said, the elimination goes pretty fast. Looking at the challenges, it definitely has a preference over strength and endurance as a whole. Some challenges favor one over the other which also gives the smaller built players a little more leeway to play with strategy.
In terms of challenges, there are quite a variety starting from an endurance strength hanging from a structure raised to the ceiling as a pre-challenge and follows with 1 on 1 matches to recuperate a ball within a time limit to eventually team challenges which prove to be more fun to watch from moving sand to the best challenge of the show which involves pulling a wooden ship to an sloped destination.
While some of the challenges feels a little skewed to a certain build, Physical:100 is a pretty fun show to watch if you like this sort of thing. It can get a little confusing to match a face to the name but as the numbers go down, there’s no doubt that there are a few frontrunners that take more spotlight than the rest.
Perfect Match (Season 1, 2023)
Host: Nick Lachey
Couples who prove their compatibility gain the power to make or break other matches in this strategic and seductive dating competition. – IMDB
The newest social matchmaking reality show by Netflix is Perfect Match which seems like a bankable idea as it takes all a bunch of normal single people turned famous through their various reality shows and puts them all in one location to find their perfect match. Of course, maybe its just another way for Nick Lachey to have more work seeing as he now hosts three of these matchmaking shows making him the person that is the most familiar with the majority of these people. Being an avid viewer of The Circle (review) and Too Hot to Handle (and catching The Mole before watching this show), I also was rather familiar with the majority of these people as well. Still, its not the depth of these shows that are make them popular, lets just be honest there. If you weren’t into those reality shows to begin with, this probably offers nothing at all.
Perfect Match delivers exactly what you’d expect from this group despite whichever show they might be coming from. There’s a lot of switching partners and a lot of dramatic reactions and arguments over the silliest things. Its really hard to be completely invested into the show at times because its obvious what this whole thing is trying to do and much like the other matchmaking shows, the chances of success do feel very low so the only bit to enjoy is the conflicts and arguments which reveal some unimpressive character traits. Still, as I said before, we’re not here for the depth of the show and its just some mindless entertainment.
There’s really not a whole lot to say about Perfect Match. Its not a particularly great show but really just feels like a show that Netflix thought up to bank on these people that they’ve made famous by putting them together in a Panama resort. They don’t even earn anything other than a trip for the winning couple. Judging from some other resources online, it doesn’t even seem like any of the couples ended up together making this an even more meaningless show.