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Top Shot

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The Long Shotby Pattye Grippo   Review by Pattye Grippo

How is this for a new concept in a reality show - get people who are actually among the best in the world at what they do together to compete. Unlike many other shows in this genre, the point of the show is not to push people to the brink for entertainment, but rather to push people as far as they can go in a field they already know. Like many other shows of this type, the contestants live together and are filmed constantly. Although each of the contestants possess skill in shooting, their specialties are varied. I was not even aware there were so many types of guns in existence, but apparently these people not only knew that but each have preferences among them. It is interesting to watch the contestants learn new firearms, under the training eye of a Navy Seal Instructor, and see the dynamics that arise among the group members.

Of course, no reality show is without its challenges. There are time limitations in learning the new weapons, obstacles are part of the routine, and some of the team pairings are a little tense. The competitors are divided into two teams for the first challenge, complete with ancient weapons from the First World War, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and an obstacle course that tests the contestants to use their skills without all the technology they are used to. After the first challenge, the losing team has to choose two of their team mates for the elimination round in a very public discussion and vote. The loser of the elimination round is then sent home.

The skill level of all the contestants is what truly makes this show different. As they discuss their strategies, learn new weapons, and actually compete they show ability that is astounding. A real highlight of the show is the host, Colby Donaldson, a former reality show contestant himself (Survivor). Donaldson delivers the challenges with just the right tone - serious but intense. He has the rugged look that makes him seem one of the crowd, even if he does not shoot any of the weapons, but his demeanor demands respect and attention from everyone and at no point is it not clear who is in control.

Being a bit burned out on reality shows in general, and not a fan of shooting as a sport, I expected to be bored by this series. In fact, it was the opposite. I found myself drawn into the challenges and interested in the contestants and even caring who won the elimination round. As we get to know each competitor more through other episodes, I am certain everyone will have their favorites. Who the eventual winner of the $100,000 will be is anyone's guess at this point.

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