The Quarantine Stream: ‘The World’s Toughest Race’ is the Next Evolution of Competition Reality Shows
Posted on Saturday, August 22nd, 2020 by Jacob Hall
(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Series: The World’s Toughest Race
Where You Can Stream It: Amazon Prime Video
The Pitch: What if Survivor…but without the game show structure? What if The Amazing Race…but actually physically grueling and mentally punishing? What if Man vs. Wild…but with 66 teams, many of them fascinating and relatable men and women who put themselves through hell for personal, frequently heartfelt reasons? You can see the DNA of The World’s Toughest Race spread across other reality shows, but I don’t think there’s ever been a reality competition series this harrowing, this massive, or this ambitious.
Why It’s Essential Viewing: You don’t have to be familiar with the niche sport of “Adventure Racing” to enjoy The World’s Toughest Race, a 10-episode series that follows the contestants of the 2020 Eco-Challenge race in Fiji. Hundreds of contestants representing dozens of nations race from one end of the island nation to the other, hitting various checkpoints and following certain physical disciplines, but otherwise given an astonishing amount of free rein to get from one point to the next. Over the course of 11 grueling days, some teams triumph, some of them fail, and each and every one of them struggles, pushed to the physical and mental limit by the elements and by one another. And goodness gracious, it’s thrilling stuff.