I purposefully went out of my way to not see any preshow sneak peeks to avoid prejudging the teams prior to the premiere and then ended up sidetracked by my life to the point that my review is uncharacteristically delayed. It won't happen again. I promise.
Anyone who is a huge fan of TAR was probably glued to their seats for the first episode of the Canadian version. We've been waiting for this for so long and always assumed that the American version didn't allow Canadians to race against them because a) we'd have an advantage with a Canadian passport because everyone loves Canadians, and b) we're just too damn nice. I guess we'll see how that works racing against other Canadians without the need of a passport.
Opening with Canadian host Jon Montgomery at the Niagara Falls starting line we get a quick introduction to the teams. They certainly played better on film than in their initial bios. Jon comes across a little stiff in his deliverance as he emulates Phil but he seems to be enjoying himself and I'm sure his delivery will loosen up as the race progresses.
The teams raced to the Butterfly Conservatory to grab their next clue(s). Remember that part as it's important. Why would anyone be afraid of butterflies? After that it's off to the airport where the teams have a chance to interact before their flight to Kelowna.
Their next clue is basically a stall to allow those teams from the later flight to catch up. I hate when production doEd this but I'm sure those teams on the second flight appreciate it.
Jet skiing across Lake Okanagan in search of a diving platform looks easy but it's a big lake so some teams are likely to get lost. Add to that the fear of breathing underwater as they search for Ogopogo and I wonder who's gonna crack. It's an easy task though as long as you don't get lost, or panic underwater.
task completed and off they go to Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park where teams get to challenge their fear of heights climbing over the edge of a trestle bridge and along a 12" wide support to their next clue. They're wired in so the only challenge is not falling off before you get the clue. It doesn't help that the support is only secured at one end and shakes the further you move along. Add to that the obligatory cliff-hanging cuts that TAR is so well known for and the reveal of who's still way behind and you can pretty much predict who's coming in first.
From here it's a quick race to Quail's Gate Winery (one of my favorites) and a jump to the mat. This is where those earlier mistakes catch up to the teams who made them. It's no surprise who wins the first leg as they're in their own backyard, but I was surprised by the second team . . . and Hal and Joanne did great despite being the oldest team racing. They'd have still been the oldest even if Wayne and I were racing against them.
I wasn't really impressed with Vanessa and Celina's reaction to their unexpected luck but that'll bite them later in the race. The last two teams almost tied to the mat but another penalty flips their order and it's "goodbye twins". No worries, they probably just went back to the winery to have a few shots before being put up in a nice resort for the duration.
Overall I've been pretty impressed with the team selection so far. Their interaction with each other doesn't come across as too phoney and so far nobody stands out as the bad guys.
Next episode the teams are off to Vancouver and Chinatown. Not sure what's urban jungle about that but I'm looking forward to it. Stay tuned for my next review . . . on time.