Picks and Pans Review: Series 7
The timing couldn't be better for this mercilessly dead-on satire. Taking reality TV to a brutal extreme, Series 7 is Survivor if it were a collaboration of action director John Woo and 1984 author George Orwell.
There are six lottery-chosen contestants on The Contenders, a program produced (read "enforced") by the government, a present-day totalitarian apparatus with an army of videocam operators. The latest contestants, including a middle-aged nurse and an artist dying of cancer, are armed (and required) to kill each other wherever they can—driveway, mall, field. The player left standing goes on to a new round of murderous game-playing in pursuit of an elusive prize defined merely as "freedom."
Series 7, which presents itself as a Contenders marathon, does a brilliant job aping the visual style of reality shows, and the entire cast-especially Brooke Smith as the pregnant reigning champ-manages to convey both knotted-stomach panic and tongue-in-cheek humor. (R)
Bottom Line: High-caliber fare
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