TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
No spoilers. For First Impression Review of this season, click here.
To be honest, I only decided to watch Peacock’s new reality series The Traitors because I’m fan of Big Brother and Amazing Race alum Rachel Reilly. And while she delivered fun television as only she could, The Traitors actually ended up being a refreshingly enjoyable and fun new experience.
The fresh reality-competition format harkens back to the early and less crowded days of reality TV. It’s a simple premise. A group of contestants head to a castle in the Scottish Highlands to essentially play a higher stakes version of the party game Mafia/Werewolf.
The players are called the “Faithful” and hidden among them are “Traitors” whose goal is to eliminate all the Faithful and claim the grand prize for themselves.
Each night, the Traitors secretly meet to decide which Faithful to “murder” and leave the game immediately. The Faithful learn of who is murdered the following day at breakfast before they all leave to take part in challenges to earn money for the prize fund. At the end of each day, the players gather at the Round Table and discuss who to “banish” by way of votes. The goal being to banish the Traitors.
If the Faithful reach the end and are able to eliminate all Traitors, they split the money in the pot. If any traitor reaches the end, they will take the money instead.
Guiding the players through the proceedings is Alan Cumming who is as perfect a host you can get for this series. He offers up a deliciously theatrical performance as a version of himself, complete with his uniquely striking wardrobe. Alan Cumming might just redefine what a reality show host is capable of doing.
And he helps to foster that perfect mix of theatrics and competition. The combination of murder mystery with familiar tasks and challenges of reality-competition shows and an extra layer of suspicion and drama really helps the series offer up a refreshing change of pace in the genre.
It brings in elements of social game and strategy from shows like Big Brother and Survivor as well as the teamwork-like competitions of the latter.
The highlight of the show is definitely the sleuthing of the Faithful and seeing whether or not the Traitors can keep their cover. The finger pointing and suspicion and definitely plenty of wrong assumptions make for a fun, if not hilariously frustrating time. But that’s the refreshing charm of The Traitors format.
Being so similar to games we might play with friends and family, that bit of relatability on a larger scale is an amusing and enjoyable experience. Especially as a contrast to some of the other reality TV formats.
If there were one thing NBC and Peacock could’ve done differently is to roll out the season one episode a week instead of unleashing the whole series all at once. It’s certainly a bingeable show. But being able to have a week to marinate on the drama and excitement of each episode is certainly a different experience that could help the show gain even more attention.
Overall, The Traitors is a welcome change of pace in the now-crowded field of reality TV. Its refreshing, though familiar format is easily accessible. And the personalities involved help to maximize the potential fun and drama such a format can provide. While there’s a couple of tweaks that could be done for possible future seasons, these theatrical and competitive ten episodes are enough to keep you hooked and wanting more.