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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sci-Fi's New Reality: CHA$E & Estate of Panic

Two new reality game shows have been unleashed upon the Sci-Fi channel with "CHA$E" and "Estate of Panic". One is a human game of Spy Hunter, while the other is a cross between Fear Factor & Scare Tactics. Both make for interesting reality TV shows, which once again serve to push the limits of what contestants will go through to score loads of cash and TV time.

On CHA$E, the contestants are basically playing in a human video game with "Hunters" tracking them down. The contestants try to run and outsmart the Hunters, who bear a resemblance to the Men in Black or Matrix agents, complete with black suits, shades and earpieces. Select contestants receive a special devise that when pointed at a Hunter will deflect them off their trail. So the premise is simple, elude your captors better than the other competitors. There's a variety of contestants to root for, everyone from the jocks to the security guards to the cute female track stars or cheerleader types.

Estate of Panic is definitely more intense in nature, on more of a deep-down fear level. This show is made of people's worst nightmares. Contestants enter a mansion full of different rooms (think Saw or House on Haunted Hill). The contestants are put into the rooms together to try to find cash and other goodies in each room. Contestants escape the room when they decide they have enough cash or can't stand the creepy contents of the room. The rooms contain all sorts of horrors and things that go bump in the night. On the premiere episode there was a crawlspace complete with snakes and tarantulas, as well as a kitchen with a floor made of a goop substance that kept contestants stuck to the floor. There's always one person who's that proverbial last person/rotten egg, and they are locked in the room. That's one contestant eliminated. Out of the remaining contestants, the one who grabbed the least cash is also escorted out of the estate. It goes on until there's 1 contestant left, and they face a final challenge to grab even more money under trying circumstances.

So our reality TV has now advanced to the state of tapping into our worst fears and testing our abilities to run away when chased. Sci Fi seems to be stretching the limits of human thresholds and tinkering with potential mental breakdowns, but isn't that what reality is?

Visit official CHA$E site at

Visit Estate of Panic site at

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