Considering the main appeal of reality television is the affordability for studios to create, recent news of demolitions expert Transformers 3 director Michael Bay making his way into the genre is quite surprising. Bay and the talented Magical Elves production team are joining to create a reality series called One Way Out. The show will throw "ordinary people" into a globetrotting action-adventure, but no details on the purpose or goal have been revealed.
Deadline was told the show will be "a game with no rules," allowing us to get creative with what could possibly happen. Of course, that is a ridiculous overstatement, considering the basic fact of television entertainment is that rules are everywhere. Thank you, FCC.
Reality television game shows have been trying to push the envelope for a while now, but redundancy is settling in. Enter Michael Bay:
“For my first television project I wanted to do something that had never been done before, and I believe that [is] One Way Out. Combining unique twists, death-defying challenges, and stunning visuals, we are reinventing the genre, showing just how far people will go when they are stripped of their bare necessities and forced to do whatever it takes to survive."
The show is being pitched as a "cross between Survivor, The Mole and The Amazing Race." That makes the grand scheme a little clearer, but still lacking a definitive purpose. Will contestants receive some kind of prize or cash? Or will it simply be for the entertainment of viewers, waiting for the next disaster. The genre has not and may never go stale, but creativity is becoming more rare as time progresses. Still, it's nice to see they don't just recycle a used idea and toss B-list celebrities in the mix.
One Way Out has one unique concept going for it; Each contestant will have some kind of dirty little secret to enhance the dishonesty and betrayal that always ends in juicy television. But based on the description, it seems to lend itself more to drama than action. Which leads me to wonder, why is Michael Bay even involved? He somewhat answered the query, and making the move to reality television could be an interesting endeavor, but finding a role for Bay to play is still on the cloudy side.
Dan Cutforth, one of the leaders at Magical Elves, provided a synopsis that feels straight off a business proposal, rather than inside a creative mind. We should still give credit where it is due, as the company is behind the revered reality show Top Chef. Adding Michael Bay to this project has upped the legitimacy and publicity to a new level.
"One Way Out will take the reality adventure genre to the next level. The no-holds-barred format and the intimidating locations will allow a true primal test of endurance to unfold.”
Reality television needs an overhaul right now. Amidst a handful of celebrity shows, the genre is maintaining its popularity, but ultimately losing focus on what made it appealing in the first place. The idea of tossing regular people into irregular situations is what boosted it into one of the most profitable ideas in television.
Don't expect Michael Bay to completely switch over to the tube. Steven Spielberg, one of the most recognizable names in the film industry, has made television a huge part of his career, but still mostly works with movies. It is well-known that filmmakers, even the big-budget ones like Bay, make most of their money in between projects. Starting to make sense now? All that's left is finding a way to implement explosions (randomly placed land mines?) into the show.
It will be interesting to find out more about the director's role on this project as time progresses. He is holding many hats right now. Bay is currently in Chicago filming Transformers 3, setting up base camp in the famous Studio City. Yesterday, scenes were shot in Gary, Indiana, but soon the production will head to the heart of downtown Chicago, filming on the "Magnificent Mile."
What do you think? Is this a good move for Bay? Will his involvement make the show more popular or watchable? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.