Friday, February 24, 2012

Toppest Shot: Imagining an All-Star Season

There has been a lot of talk on Twitter lately about doing an all-star season of Top Shot. While the idea is certainly appealing, it also raises a lot of questions. What would an all-star season look like? Is the show to young to pull this off? And most importantly, who gets to come back for another (and please pardon the phrasing) shot? I'll do a little theorizing and make some wild speculations, sprinkled with my own opinion of what I would like to see. 

So where to begin? 

Colby has seemed to imply that the all-star season is an idea that is being actively discussed, but for a show that only has four seasons under its belt, is it too soon?

This being Top Shot, the answer is yes and no. An all-star season of Top Shot would not be the same as an all-star season of Survivor. Survivor strives not only to bring back contestants that make it far in the competition, but also those with the most memorable personalities. (fact: I haven't watched a full season of Survivor since Season 2, which ironically is when Colby was playing). Top Shot is all about being able to beat the best, but while Survivor waited until Season 8 to do its first all-star season, giving it a large pool of contestants to choose from, doing an all-star season after only four or (more likely) five seasons might not be large enough to satisfy the Top Shot audience. Going under the assumption that the all-star season would only have 16 contestants, and that it would take place after Season 4, it would make sense to bring back four shooters from each season. 

While I enjoy the contestants from these seasons, I think they would be too familiar to the audience, and familiarity hurts the diversity of the cast, which is one of Top Shot's strong suits. 

I also wonder whether or not it would make sense to break them up into teams. I assume they would, but I can't imagine one of the winners being happy about going back to the team format after making it all the way to the end of the competition. It would be interesting to see everyone wearing a green jersey and have a completely individual competition season. However, this would also be clumsy and a bit of a slog to watch in the early episodes I imagine. 

The challenges could also be interesting. Now, it wouldn't make sense to have them compete in a best of style grab bag of the best challenges of the first four seasons, that would come off as lazy. It might make sense to bring the fans into the decision making process a little though. I'm talking about the weapons. The difficulty with Top Shot is that there is such a long time between filming and airing the episodes. This often prevents audience interaction. But imagine if each week, while they were filming the all-star season, History posted a poll with the choice of three weapons from past season, with the fans encouraged to pick the one they would most like to see the contestants compete with. The contestants wouldn't know the challenge or the results until the episode actually aired. Honestly, I really think the fans want to be involved in this show as much as possible, and it's a better avenue than the "text who should go home" option they are currently using. There should definitely be new weapons involved in this season, it needs to continue to be a challenge to show that these contestants to have the ability to master and overcome any screwball thrown in their path. It would also be better than just bringing back the best weapons from past seasons, because if you get a contestant that has proven themselves a pro with that weapon, it's dissolves the tension when they compete in a challenge. 

I think that covers most of what I wanted to discuss about teams and challenges and the like. I do, however, want to pick the contestants I'd love to see have another run at the title. I'm only picking from the first three seasons, and only picking four contestants from each season (the assumption being a all-star season taking place after the current season would include four contestants from each season). I'll pick three givens and one wild card, just to keep it interesting

Season 1
Iain Harrison - The first, and still one of the best. It would be hard for anyone to claim themselves Top Shot in an all-star season if they didn't go head to head with this man.

JJ Racaza - Third overall, but first in our hearts. Racaza's got amazing speed shooting skills, and a likeable personality that would make him a welcome addition to this all-star cast.

Kelly Bachand - One of Top Shot's youngest contestants at the time, he showed he could hold his own against experienced shooters. A few more yeasr shooting experience have undoubtedly expanded this kid's skillset.

Wild Card:
Tara Poremba - Now I can't take full credit for this, I stole this idea from a fan who tweeted Colby about it. Poremba was forced to leave the competition to go see her ailing father, but I would argue she would have made it to the individual portion of the competition had she remained. I'd love to see her come back for a fair run at the title.

Season 2
Chris Reed - Again you have to go with the champ. Not to mention Reed is one of the easiest going and earnest people that's ever participated in this competition.

George Reinas - If you're a fan of the show, you know Reinas pulled off one of the most unprecedented moves in reality-show history, seeming to throw away his chance of winning the competition to ensure Reed made it to the final challenge. Reinas grated on me for most of the season, he's got a big ego, but he's proved there's a lot more to him than what's on the surface.

Jamie Franks - For some reason Franks became Season 2's whipping boy. Reinas turned the other contestants against him by hyping up that he was dishonest about his background. I'd love to see these two get back under the same roof going head to head.

Wild Card:
Jay Lim - Not exactly the wildest card, but Lim proved himself a competitor. His amateur status meant he had to fight for respect the whole way, especially when the competition got down to almost all army personnel. But this all-star competition needs some amateur representation, so it might as well be Lim.

Season 3
Dustin Ellermann - Why break a good pattern? Ellermann smoked his competition proving adept with every weapon that was put in his hands, but I'd love to see how he fares against some of the pro's from Seasons 1 and 2.

Gary Quesenberry - Undoubtedly my favorite Top Shot contestant of all time. I wish I could tell you why, maybe it's his name, maybe it's his "I'm here having a ball" personality. Whatever the reason, third overall in this competition is nothing to be scoffed at, and I'd love to see him have another go around.

Phil Morden - I wasn't a huge fan of the rule Colby put into place after Jake Zweig left. I have nothing aginst Mike Hughes, I liked him from the minute he started shooting, but in this competition, I believe if you're out, you're out. Morden should have been able to advance, winning by forfeit, but unfortunately he was bested by Hughes in the elimination challenge. Morden deserves another chance where extenuating circumstances don't determine his fate.

Wild Card:
Jarrett Grimes - Pretty much just because he's Quesenberry's buddy, and I want Quesenberry to be happy.

There you go, four people from three seasons of Top Shot, I might come back and update this once season four is over. I know it's not the best cast in terms of diversity, but hopefully Michelle Viscusi or Gabby Franco can make a name for themselves this season and at least get the token two women in this all-star season.

Thoughts? Ideas? Other opinions that might not be generally positive? Hit the comments.

Follow me on Twitter @ cswiets

1 comment:

  1. JJ Racaza all the way. I still believe he is the most skilled contestant ever in Top Shot. I also want Chris Cheng and William Bethards back from season 4. And Mike Hughes from season 3 as well.