I’ve written at length in the past about just how poor the current slate of amusement park shows are, but mid-summer this year, there was a glimmer of hope. A new show, starring former Mythbusters stars Kari Byron and Tori Belleci began filming and was being promoted on social media:
“Thrill Factor,” produced for the Travel Channel by BASE Productions, seemed to have everything going for it – personable hosts with a resume of quality, entertaining programming. So, has the show lived up to the lofty expectations of both theme park and Mythbuster fans?
Sadly, not for me.
Let’s begin with the premise…something tells me the elevator pitch for this show was: “It’s Mythbusters – at an amusement park.” And the segments with Kari and Tori are the best parts of the show – as you’d expect from seasoned pros like them.
The hosts test a different theory revolving around rides each and every episode – which sounds great, but I suspect they’ll run out of things pretty quickly. But then – just as the show is about to eclipse the lift hill into excitement – the show quite literally goes off the proverbial coaster rails and quickly transitions from the host segment into a new one, where POV footage (forward and reverse) is shown.
Now, I’m not sure if the show just ran out content and had to fill time – but the seemingly random cuts to POV give the show a manic feel, as if the viewer is assumed to have ADHD and couldn’t possibly focus for more than five minutes at a time onto the screen.
The POV segments take what could have been a fun concept – and just kills it, whereas focusing on both Byron and Belleci would have sufficed and indeed, made the show better, in my opinion.
If the content isn’t there to fill the full half hour – something’s wrong with the concept. Kari and Tori – who are very good at interacting with their fans on social media and are genuinely nice people in real life, too – deserve better after helping refine one of the most successful, educational and entertaining shows ever to come out of Discovery Channel.
According to the most recent IMDB rating – it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks the show could use some off-season work:
FULL DISCLOSURE: Along with my producers on the “Legacy of Arrow Development” roller coaster documentary: Nicholas Laschkewitsch and Robert Ingle, we’re still looking for a partner on our own amusement park travel program, of which you can find our teaser trailer conveniently located below:
No wonder Travel Channel never called me back after my audition for “Travel Channel Star” back in February…this show was already in development…
BOTTOM LINE: Drop the POV segments from the show and expand the host’s time on screen – and you have the rare opportunity to have a “coaster show” that lasts longer than two seasons.