I've spent the last 24hrs. of my life working, barely sleeping, and marathoning all 12 episodes of a new Syfy Channel reality competition series called Opposite Worlds. Opposite Worlds is a reality game show that some have described as a combination of Big Brother meets The Hunger Games.
Before this week, I hadn't even heard about this series. On a whim, in a haze of boredom, I wander over to the Xfinity OnDemand menu, looking for something to eat up an hour of my time before bed.
I planned on watching just one episode, and the next thing I knew, I had just finished the first three episodes. I was physically tired, but just so enthralled in this show, I got up early the next day so I could watch two more episodes before work.
Now, I'm sure you're asking, "Can this show really be that addicting?" To that I would respond, "Shut up! Start a pot of coffee, and prepare to spend the next several hours on the couch yelling at your TV!"
The series revolves around a group of strangers who live in one house that is literally divided in half. One half of the house is the "future world" which is decked out with all sorts of smart house technology, and the other half is the "past world" which essentially is a cave with lots of hay and wood. To add insult to injury, the house has a glass wall running through the entire house, so each side can see how the other half is living 24/7.
Each week, the teams compete in physical challenges to determine whether they will live in the future or the past for the next week. Then each teams chooses a member of their team to be protected from elimination that week.
Viewers at home vote to determine which of the two protected players will be the "Decider" for that week. The Decider chooses one player from each team to compete in a live elimination competition. The entire series takes place over 6 weeks, and there can only be one winner. The last remaining player will win a $100,000 prize.
Immediately the team who started out in the "past," Team Epoch, have a disadvantage. They have to start their own fires with flint and steel, sleep on the cold hard ground, and they have to poop in a hole in the ground. They aren't as well feed or as well rested as Team Chronos, who are living it up in the future.
America's votes on which characters are their favorite and least favorite week to week, giving players rewards or punishments that affect the game. So even though Team Epoch struggles to stay in the game week to week, they have the viewers on their side, which helps them stay in the game.
I couldn't stop watching, because I wanted to see Team Epoch win a challenge and finally get to take hot showers, and sleep in a bed. It's an awesomely entertaining reality series, because it's a competition with physical challenges, but at its core it's a social experiment. Which side of the house the players started on definitely changed the way they played the game, and the bonds that were formed on either side.
Team Chronos is full of egos, and they come off as privilege pricks who refuse to give up their space-age tech, while Team Epoch has this tribal family bond, and they work so well together.
Without spoiling the series, the competition is intense, and the personalities of the players, and their extreme living conditions keep viewers entertained. I ended up loving a character I couldn't stand at the beginning of the series.
On a deeper level, I can't help but wonder how differently my feelings for certain players would have been if they started the game on the opposite side of the wall. Would Team Chronos have been more humble and likable at the beginning? Or are some people just jerks regardless of what environment they're in?
When I watched the first episode, and the premise of the show was explained, I thought, "I'm not going to watch this. It's sick and unfair." Some of the players walked away (or were sent home) with serious injuries. Part of me felt guilty just watching these people suffer, but at the same time I kept watching to cheer for the underdogs.
The physical challenges are brutal, but I can only assume these people knew what they were signing up for when they joined the show.
The finale of the series aired live this week, so I don't want to post links to their official website because it's riddled with spoilers! If you have Comcast go OnDemand, and watch this series right now. You will not regret it.