There are so many reality shows out there. And an even more diverse range of subgenres within including lifestyle based shows, competition,educational or even a bunch of strangers in a peculiar circumstance. Guilty pleasure show no one wants to admit they watch but are secretly laughing in front of their laptop about an outrageous housewife’s antics.
Many cater for different audiences but one I have enjoyed was always Ninja Warrior. The premise of the show is simple yet riveting, people trying to complete a very difficult obstacle course. In theory it doesn’t sound that interesting, however the talent they get, the production value and the investing appeal of finishing the course is all that attracts viewers and fans to the show. The competition based show brings ‘everyday people’ who have a passion for fitness and overcoming challenges to compete in the world’s most difficult obstacle.
Let’s bring it back to it’s original, before the name Ninja Warrior it was called Sasuke, started in Japan. The show had a very different format. It aired all at once ranging from a 3 to 5 hour long program showing all the competitors. The commentators brought some humour to it and emphasised the competitor versus the obstacle nature of the competition. The Australian Ninja Warrior airs a couple nights a week over a few weeks. The opening episode brought in about 3 million viewers which was pretty astounding. They bring in people from all over the country to compete in different heats, to make up the episodes.
The show has changed to fit the new audience. In Australia, every competitor has a package. A personal story that is either inspiring, sympathetic, overcoming adversity or even something funny. It is a lot of effort for someone who can possibly fall on the first obstacle, but without it why would anyone watch? Reality needs drama. Even competition reality shows. With it being such a new show they need to find what works. The show has lost a little of its original premise, when you have people dressing up as Tarzan and superheroes, it should be a little lighter hearted. Instead they are trying to establish the show as a serious competition that creates ‘heroes’. The sake of the run is not enough today, especially when you have other shows to compete against. Drama is everything, and an audience has to be able to invest. No sob story no TV time. Even though the format has changed, the change works, just by looking at the ratings.
The fan base has also changed. In Japan everyone who watched the was into it but it also had a light humoured spark to it. In America, they really owned it. There became a ninja warrior cult behind it where people were creating their own courses in their backyards and living and breathing the ‘ninja lifestyle’. But now it’s Australia’s turn. I think with the hype of having a ninja warrior, it has lost a bit of it’s original flair having to adapt it to a new audience. Even the audience didn’t really understand it. Some tweets ‘Is there a winner?’ and ‘Time limit ruins it for me!’
Viewers not understanding that it took 9 seasons for an American to complete the whole course. So with it’s new status on television the show is definitely doing well, only time will tell if it will be successful in the years to come and if fans and competitors can be more invested until there will be the first ever Australian Ninja Warrior.