I hate reality television with a passion normally reserved for religious cults, firearm nuts and Barbara Streisand fans, but even I must admit I enjoy seeing contestants scatter like spooked deer in Cha$e, the Sci Fi Channel’s new live-action video game show.
The show premiers tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern time, but you can watch the entire first episode online now in all its awkward and awesome glory. Sponsored by my favorite new distopian parkour simulator Mirror’s Edge, the show’s competitors are appropriately termed Runners, tasked with spending an hour evading (and sometimes hiding behind dumpsters from) Hunters, the Terminator-esque agents being continuously dispatched throughout a real life game map. The Runners earn money for every minute they stay alive in the game, but only the first one to make it to the exit point before the sixty-minute mark gets to keep their cash prize of up to $50,000. The Runners also get all sorts of gizmos to help them out, like deflectors which make the Hunters change direction, sonic stunners to freeze them in place for a couple of minutes, and invisibility glasses to make them pretend that “game show heavy” is an important and respected profession, no matter what their sister-in-law “Doctor Sarah” has to say about it, the self-important bitch.
As much as I loved watching Hunter Grant chase Bryan, a frightened and desperate IT consultant, in circles around a parked truck, this show would be much better pitting its “agents” against real life Traceurs and Traceuses, who could show them a thing or two about running, and by running I mean climbing cat like across a railing before back flipping onto a concrete embankment and dropping twenty-feet into a full fledged sprint.