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The Hero sends a group of contestants to Panama for a series of physical stunt challenges. The rules are ambiguous and change on the fly. I appreciated that though, as it represents a much needed fresh departure for the format. But the ongoing ambiguity and rule changes will make many criticize The Hero's legitimacy - and rightly so.
The Rock is a surprisingly smooth and affable host for the show. He pops up and presents different 'temptations' to the players.
Superb editing even plays with the timeline and time scale a bit. Viewers don't always know right away what key decisions the players have reached about temptations and eliminations. This technique was effective - very effective - to the point I expect to see other programs copy it.
But the editing goes way too far in the challenges, to the point where it seems there's obvious fakery and rigging to create dramatic events.
The challenges all have unverifiable or unknown countdowns or puzzle solutions. Even gullible viewers have said the outcomes seem fake or rigged.
The casting is excellent as we have a collection of distinct and memorable players. The game and their living situation create an abundance of compelling tension and teamwork. This aspect is probably what made The Hero watchable in spite of the its seeming lack of legitimacy.
It becomes murky, yet water cooler friendly, as it presents some players as scum for falling to temptation, while other players are sentimental favorites for doing the same thing.
I never understood why one player who fell to temptations would be painted as heroic, while others who did the same thing with no harm to anyone else were cast as villains.
The challenges themselves were more of the same. More of those rope walks and climbs that have been triple safety rigged to require no player skill and remove even the slightest of risk. More harmless snakes and tearless tear gas.
The final winner was supposedly decided by public vote. I was left to wonder why a Hero should be someone who was the most casual in the aforementioned super safe quote-unquote challenges. I also pondered why it's heroic to turn down a cash temptation in hopes of building a bigger cash jackpot that you want to claim later. Is that a hero or a gambling addict?
Despite the apparently rigged nature of this show, the final assembly was interesting and different. For me at least, the villains and eventual Hero of this show were indeed its aggressive editors.
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