We’re at this point 27 seasons into “The Amazing Race,” and overall we would say that this is a show that has figured itself out rather well. It knows some of what it does best, what it struggles with, and also its place within the reality TV pantheon.
Yet, there are at times ideas that go array, and people get a little too asleep at the wheel constructing narratives. While we enjoyed this season very much, you are about to see in our latest Midseason Report Card entry that we also find that it suffers by and large from a fundamental flaw.
What worked – First and foremost, pretty great locations. It was nice to revisit some places from early seasons of the show, and while they did not stay long in places like Paris or Hong Kong, we’re always happy to see the show visit them since sometimes legs in India can feel a little nebulous since they sometimes fail to properly celebrate local culture. With that said, at least the show tried to do something a little more innovative with the Indian wedding leg relatively close to the end.
Also, the casting this season turned out to be much better than we thought it would be going in. Justin & Diana were wonderful casting, diehard superfans of the show who proved to be lightning rods throughout for the other teams. Sure, the majority of viewers seemed to dislike them, but at least they brought about a reaction! Also, Denise & James Earl were a lot of fun, Tiffany & Krista were super-optimistic, and Ernest & Jim would’ve been gold had they lasted longer than a few episodes.
What didn’t – The editing this season was pretty atrocious. Maybe there was no way to make it less obvious that Kelsey & Joey were the winners, but it became apparent around the halfway point of this season that this is where we were going. The editing of the show has suffered in many ways for seasons, given that Laura & Tyler were also pretty obvious during season 26. Maybe if the show hadn’t emphasized just how many times the Reporters had finished in second place, it wouldn’t have been as bad.
There are also a few little design things that need to be fixed. For one, putting a U-Turn at the mat is completely useless since almost no one is going to use it. Also, Tanner & Josh’s over-powered Speed Bump was a little too unfair, and if you are somewhere like India or another country that is super-crowded, maybe you should opt against doing a leg at night. It proved itself to be a little too uncomfortable for some of the teams.
Overall – Kelsey & Joey were great winners, but the show making it so on the nose dampened the overall spirit of the journey. Good locations and mostly good challenges throughout, but there are still far better seasons over the course of the show’s history. Grade: B-.
What grade would you give season 27 of “The Amazing Race”? Vote now in the attached poll, and head over here to see a preview for net season! Also, sign up here to book some more TV news on everything we cover, sent right over to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: CBS.)