Plot: What’s it about?
If ever you’ve wanted the chance to eat a bowl full of bugs or get attacked by a rabid dog and have the chance of winning $50,000 in the process well, my friends – here’s a show for you. “Fear Factor” debuted back in June of 2001 amongst the onslaught of reality TV shows and though this never had the prestige of “Survivor” or “The Amazing Race”, it did find a niche with the younger audience. Granted, the show started casting men who all looked alike and women who almost exclusively had breast implants, but the theme of the show remained the same: look fear in the eye and conquer it. The show is hosted by Joe Roagan, the man who looks perpetually hungover, with his five o’clock shadow and all. Roagan is actually a good host; he interacts with the players, encourages them and in an episode on the most recent season, gets in a literal fist fight with one of them. How many game show hosts can say that? “Fear Factor” isn’t for the feign of heart, in fact just last year a man was watching the show and became so nauseated by it, he lost his dinner and saw fit to sue to show’s producers (he lost, naturally). But for those like me that are jonesing for more reality TV on DVD – “Fear Factor” has arrived.
The first season was distinctly different than the later seasons, but as I mentioned the concept of the show was still the same. Each episode has six fresh new faces, three men and three women. They’re brought in from all around the country and compete in a series of three stunts, each stunt eliminates some of the contestants until there’s only two or three left at the final stunt. The winner of the final stunt wins the $50,000 prize and the title of “Fear Factor Champion”. This first season didn’t have a whole lot of the more nauseating stunts that the recent seasons have featured (eating beetles blended with bug larvae in a blender, etc.) but were more physical in nature. The cast is full of arrogant and eccentric contestants each vying for the cash prize and it’s pretty entertaining to see who comes out on top each episode (it’s not always who you think it might be). Suffice it to say that this show and others like it show what extremes people are willing to go through to make some money. Fans of the show will rejoice because it’s on DVD, but some supplements would have been welcomed.
Video: How does it look?
“Fear Factor” is presented how most reality television is shown – in full-frame format. That said, the image is very crisp, with some good detail enhancement. While we would get some more detail if the image were anamorphic, it quite simply isn’t possible. As an avid viewer of the show I can say that these DVD’s were well on par with the digital broadcast that I’ve become accustomed to. I didn’t notice any edge enhancements or artifacting to be found. Suffice it to say that “Fear Factor” looks just as good as when originally aired a few years back.
Audio: How does it sound?
Audio-wise this sounds as good as one might expect. A reality television show isn’t really known for dynamic audio and the Dolby Surround mix on these discs is more than enough. Dialogue, the main factor in “Fear Factor”, sounds warm and natural. When watching a television show on DVD there are different factors to consider as opposed to when you’re watching a theatrical release. This set more than adequately represents the same audio experience you’d get if watching it on the actual broadcast – nothing more and nothing less.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Unfortunately, the only supplement is a preview for “Fear Factor: Season Two”.