Mini-Recap: HaMerotz LaMillion (The Amazing Race Israel) Season 9 Premiere

Mini-Recap: HaMerotz LaMillion (The Amazing Race Israel) Season 9 Premiere

So I decided to check-out the premiere of season 9 of HaMerotz LaMillion aka The Amazing Race Israel. I haven’t really watched TARI very much because of the language barrier and their unique take on the format with its very long Legs and very long episodes. But I certainly recognize that it has been a bit of a trailblazer in some aspects with other TARs adopting and incorporating some of their unique twists.

I was very interested in this season because of its pretty amazing route. (I won’t spoil it here.) And also to check it out after its move to a new network. (Channel 13 to Channel 12.)

Again, I haven’t really watched the series much. I think outside of the Philippine Legs of the show over the years, I may have only seen a few clips here and there. Though I do seem to remember they haven’t produced an opening credits sequence in years. This new season included. Which is a shame considering the show’s unique take on the iconic theme song as well.

Also, I know that after TARUS and TARAu, HaMerotz LaMillion probably has the most visually appealing production. And maybe a budget on par with TARAu, if not more. It’s interesting because I feel like TARI is the longest-running non-American Amazing Race franchise. Even though TAR Canada is about to premiere its 10th season and Israel is only on its 9th. I guess it has to do with HaMerotz LaMillion premiering in 2009 vs Canada in 2013. And the fact that Israel’s TAR actually travels the world and is really more consequential to the franchise in terms of format than other TARs.

So really, HaMerotz LaMillion is probably the #2 Amazing Race franchise in terms of overall production. Canada, Asia and Australia have their limitations that keep them in the next tier, production-wise. Read: Not quality wise. Because that’s a whole different discussion. Lol

Anyway, let’s get to the actual episode.

HaMerotz LaMillion The Amazing Race Israel Season 9

This season’s Starting Line is at Katla Geopark in Iceland. A very stunning location! The first task though was a bit dull. Even though it’s a completely appropriate and maybe the only potential task you could have here.

Teams had to climb a glacial wall to retrieve puzzle pieces for a snowflake. That’s fine I guess. But this first episode spent so much time on it that it really got old fast. Very repetitive. Very much like TARUS35 with how they stretched out tasks to fill the time. Lol

HaMerotz LaMillion The Amazing Race Israel Season 9

After the snowflake climb, teams drove into Reykjavik and were instructed to find a location related to an American president. From what I understood, it was the most vague clue ever. Lol So teams were going around asking for Trump or Biden. But in reality, the next Route Marker was a hot dog stand once visited by President Bill Clinton. So random! Lol Not even a location visited by Netanyahu or any other Israeli politician or something? Lol

Once teams found the hot dog stand, they need to head to Hallgrímskirkja. A very stunning Lutheran church in Reykjavik.

Before entering, teams had to vote at the U-Turn board. Which I think is completely unnecessary on Leg 1. But this is HaMerotz LaMillion of course and they invented their U-Turn votes. Lol

HaMerotz LaMillion The Amazing Race Israel Season 9

The task at the church though was to just look for a clue inside not knowing that the song being played by the organist is an Israeli song entitled “Up, Up” in English. And that meant teams would find the next clue by going “up” in the church. I dunno. Lol

And that was the end of the episode.

As for the new host, Yehuda Levi, he’s alright. He honestly looks and feels the same as Ron Shahar, the previous host of the series.

But honestly, it was overall a very slow and long episode. Like, you really felt it was an hour long. There wasn’t even any snow! Lol

The language barrier definitely made it even more difficult to get through for me. Though again, the visuals look wonderful with the stunning Iceland landscape and architecture.

HaMerotz LaMillion The Amazing Race Israel Season 9

So I might check out the episodes every week, especially since they’re so accessible. You can watch the episodes worldwide right here!

And again, I really am looking forward to some great locations ahead on the route. But HaMerotz LaMillion has never been a TAR franchise I could easily get into as much as others like China, Vietnam, Australia, Asia, Canada and of course the Philippines. But happy that TAR has continued to survive in Israel when it’s been disappearing everywhere else.

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