Posted: 11/10/2008

 

Cha$e

(2008)

by Elaine Hegwood Bowen



Premieres on the Sci-Fi Channel this Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 10PM ET/PT


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Teams of ten race against the clock and unknown hunters are randomly disbursed into the game, as contestants—referred to as runners and who seem to work together—compete to get the grand prize in the end.

Sci Fi’s new reality competition series CHA$E is a real-life video game tag competition, with players charting their progress and location by a map. But one trick to the game is the runner’s ability to read the map and stay focused.
Invisibility glasses and deflectors are used to prod the hunters to change course, leaving the runner free to continue on. Players earn other valuable tools to fight off hunters, as the game progresses.

Episodes are shot at locations around Los Angeles landmarks, with the premiere episode “The Harbor 1.0” filmed at the Port of Los Angeles. An announcement is made when a hunter is going to jump into the competition to throw the players off.
Arielle is one such player from California who falls behind during an obstacle course maneuver, as she can’t quite find her deflector. Even though she says she’s a salesperson and uses her smarts in her daily profession, she seems a bit spacey, as if in the end she’ll be eliminated.

Another contestant, Jason a 37-year-old carpenter, says he entered the competition because he hadn’t competed in any sports for a while. He goes on to trip over a lamppost. And yet another player, Clevant, figures he has pretty good looks, but he dreads his calves—he vows to have calf implants if he wins the coveted grand prize that can total $50,000. Eva, Cynthia, Mecca, Bryan, Bill, Laura and Demetrios are among the rest of the crew.

One competition has players running one-half mile on an exercise bike, as hunters scope out the old warehouse. At one point, hunters are given motorbikes on which to ride to hunt down their prey.

CHA$E is filled with human prey, high adrenaline, high stakes and, of course, the hunters. The series is hosted by international broadcaster Trey Farley, and it promises “edge-of-your-seat” entertainment. Based on a successful Japanese format from Fuji Television, CHA$E takes place in real-time over 60 minutes. As the clock counts down, the competition gets harder, as more hunters appear and the “virtual game board” changes.

Contestants are awarded money every second that they “stay alive.” But no one is forced to stay in. Players, naturally, get excited about the pot of gold at the end of the competition, and scheme to figure out how to lay low and let the hunter run into someone other than them. Along with the grand prize, there are $25,000-banners strewn around that can be kept by the ultimate sole winner who reaches the secret exit point.

Sci-Fi hopes to gain the audience who love video games as well as those who love reality television competitions. CHA$E is like a grown-up version of “Hide and Seek.”

The review copy wasn’t the completed version, but even with that, CHA$E seems interesting enough and worth the time to give a shot at looking at a group of contestant’s perilous journey toward completion. Those who live in Los Angeles will enjoy watching the team run through familiar locations.
CHA$E and all its excitement begins on the Sci-Fi Channel Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 10 PM ET/PT.

Elaine Hegwood Bowen is a veteran public relations and journalism professional and former journalism professor. She’s publicist for her daughter, Hip-Hop artist Psalm One. A native Chicago South Sider, Elaine was a recent University of Maryland Bio Ethics, Health Disparities & Clinical Trials Fellow and winner of a Black Press Messenger Award.



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