Well, I found one of my new favorite reality TV competition shows and it is THE TRAITORS, with all episodes available now on Peacock. It is one of the best new reality shows I have seen in a long time. Would you judge me if I told you I watched the entire season within a 24-hour period? Not only does it combine some of my favorite reality competition moments, like insane challenges, strategy, and treachery, but it stars many of my favorite reality all-stars from SURVIVOR, BIG BROTHER, REAL HOUSEWIVES, SUMMER HOUSE and BELOW DECK… and did I mention the fabulous Alan Cumming is the host? His wardrobe could be a show in itself.
Based off of the BBC series (and the Dutch version of the show before that), the series is part THE MOLE, part SURVIVOR, part BIG BROTHER. Twenty contestants, half celebrity and half regular joes, are isolated in a castle in the Scottish Highlands and vying for a cash prize of $250,000, which is earned incrementally through daily competitions. Three of the contestants are secretly chosen to be “Traitors”, who vote each night to “murder” one of the remaining seventeen “Faithfuls.” The contestant who doesn’t show up to breakfast the next morning is the victim. Meanwhile, at the end of every day, the entire group gather and vote to banish a member of the group who they believe is a traitor. On their way out, the banished house guest reveals whether the group was correct.
Should a traitor fly under the radar enough to remain in the group until the very end, they will receive all of the money. However, if there are no traitors left, the remaining contestants will split the earnings. My one gripe is that it does get a little silly at the end because it becomes clear that the the competitions didn’t actually matter and the contestants were going to earn the $250,000 regardless of how well they did each week. But whatever, it’s less about the journey and more about that final ceremony.
When I saw the celebrity cast, a part of me wondered if I had cast the show myself because they seriously pulled in some of the best of the best. I’m talking Brandi Glanville (REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS), Kate Chastain (BELOW DECK), Rachel Reilly (BIG BROTHER), and the SURVIVOR queen herself, Cirie Fields. And these contestants aren’t only great television, bringing the juicy interpersonal drama each episode, but Rachel and Cirie are two of the best competitors in reality TV history and I was super excited to watch them in action once again.
Admittedly, the regular joe cast left little to be desired; there weren’t any standouts that I would like to see back on another season. But when you have such TV gold as the contestants I mentioned above, I’m glad the series focused more on them. You don’t even need to know the celebrity contestants to enjoy watching the show, but I imagine you will pick a favorite right off the bat. I knew Kate Chastain was going to be good TV, but she is the MVP of the series, clearly understanding her assignment to bring the drama and good TV. Without getting too much into spoilers, she made each episode entertaining based on her personality alone. Cirie, on the other hand, was a joy to watch from the other end of the spectrum; instead of bringing the drama, we got to watch her do what she does best, strategize, make relationships, and kick ass.
I wish I had a little more self-control in my viewing habits so I could still be reveling in the entertainment that is THE TRAITORS. But here I am praying it gets renewed for another season so we can breathe fresh air into the reality TV competition genre I love so much.
My Review: B+