Thursday, June 06, 2013

'The Hero'

I like The Rock, but man is he phoning it in as the host of TNT's muddled Survivor/Fear Factor/The Mole hybrid The Hero. About half of his hosting segments just involve him talking in front of a green-screened backdrop in the same style as the contestant confessionals, and he's not even present for all of the big physical challenges in the first episode. He may be one of the show's producers, but the whole thing seems sort of beneath him, since he's a legitimate movie star at this point. He's also pretty much the only entertaining aspect of this show, which has a weak premise and a cast full of reality-TV stereotypes.

I'm pretty sure that signing up for a TNT reality show automatically disqualifies a person from being a hero, but the idea here is that the nine contestants are competing for some nebulous title of "hero," which is defined partly by completing intense physical challenges that involve facing fears, partly by resisting and/or giving in to temptation when faced with offers of compensation in exchange for screwing over fellow contestants, and partly by some undefinable quality that will be judged by the audience, who ultimately get to vote for the winner. In practice this means some standard-issue reality-competition set pieces (rappelling off the side of a building, crawling through a maze in the dark) and even more standard-issue reality-TV bickering, which is about as far from heroic as it gets.

The Rock does his best to play up the idea that this all has something to do with heroism, and his most amusing habit is constantly addressing the audience as "America" ("Hola, America" is the first line of the show). Despite higher production values than some cable reality shows, and impressive-looking locations in Panama, The Hero is not nearly as exciting as The Rock pretends to think it is.

Premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on TNT.

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