For several seasons now, there has been talk of an All Star Season for TARC. I know for certain teams were approached for the concept after Season 4, as a possibility for Season 5, but nothing came of it. It's come back again and again, but for some reason Season 8 looks like a massive possibility. Why? Well, word on the TARC street is that teams were being contacted about this in the middle of the airing of Season 7. And with an announcement of a renewal without mentioning the application process, the buzz is happening again. Whether an All Star will happen is up in the air. But whatever, I feel the need to write about it. I should be writing my next novel but I'm stuck on a scene so this helps me get my mind around it.
I'm not a big fan of the All-Star concept. I know many are because they would love to see their fav teams race again. But the problem with All-Stars, besides the facts it prevents fans from applying, is that trying to capture or recreate the magic, be it a team or moments from a past, rarely works. Part of the reason that teams or whatever in TARC past (or other times in life) was so magical was it was unexpected and we were experiencing that magic for the first time. Trying to recreate those types of events is darn near impossible and in the end can just cheapen the original moment(s). Always best to live in the moment; remember the good things from the past and enjoy that remembrance but don't live there. Season 11 of TAR (and partly Season 31) shows that an All Star can work but it can also suck as we've seen in any of the other TAR All-Star seasons. I'll admit that there were some moments in those ones but overall those seasons were flat. Especially since it seemed CBS was trying too hard to help certain fan fav teams get a win.
One of the problems I see with a TARC All-Stars is how chummy teams are with each other after the race, etc. I know each Season has their own private FB group so they can connect each other and there is also an overall private TARC former racer group so teams from other seasons can do the same. If a team is traveling to another city for work, vacation or whatever reason, they can get in contact with another team in that city and meet up. I've seen plenty of photos, private and public, of teams from varying seasons hanging out with each other as they've done it. Sure there are those who don't get along but overall, it seems like a chummy group. So I worry about teams being not being competitive enough or cut throat enough to make it interesting. TARC already has a reputation of having racers be too nice so will one with teams of friends who like to meet and have dinner with another group of friends when they're in town be even worse? Who knows.
Also, there are a good number of TARC teams that have (or believed they have) developed themselves as brands. Many of the athletic teams already have this (many of them have the same agent, which is always a worry around casting), and so do some of the other more fame seeking racers. Would these teams worry too much about their brand to compete harder or to make a difficult move to U-Turn a team to get ahead? Would they hold back on being themselves in certain situations because of a worry about affecting their 'brand'? If you watched Season 28 of TAR, the social media season, it was obvious that certain teams were very concerned about this and did not want anything they did or said to have a negative impact on there brand, some of them being highly lucrative. Hence, it was mostly a so-so season.
There are other reasons -one major one being teams have the same story they did in their previous season - but just for fun, who in the past 7 seasons would be on the All Star? There are some basic rules I'm applying but remember this is just conjecture, there's no science or inside info on this except for info I've gleaned from watching and covering the race.
First rule: No winners will be invited back. Fans (as well as teams) don't really like it when a winning team gets a chance to win again. Second rule: Teams that were eliminated in the first two or three legs of a season will also probably not get invited back unless they were super interesting. There were a couple of teams like this but not sure if they are interested or will get the invite. Another thing to take into account is that couple team still together? And if not, will they race again together? (Probably not is my take.) One other thing is do they have the time to race again. Many racers have different lives now. They have kids, they have moved, their careers have changed or expanded, they have commitments that prevent them from competing again. One of the issues of having Olympians on the race on a regular basis is that there are Summer Olympics in 2020 and Winter Olympics in 2022. An athlete can take six or eight weeks off training maybe once in four years but they aren't going to do it to jeopardize their dream of winning a medal. Anyway, here's my time wasting thing.
Season 1: The three final teams of this Season probably won't get invited. Mostly cause Tims won and the other two teams are either busy with careers and/or other issues. One of the sisters, Vannessa has really upped her acting career as a character on Riverdale, among other things. And Jodi Mitic didn't run for political office again because he unfortunately had to deal with addiction issues. Last word he was doing okay so I hope life gets better for this Canadian hero. That leave two teams suitable for All-Stars: Hal and Joanne - Team Body Break; and Brett and Holly. Body Break, I'm sure, is keen to come back on the race to make up for their elimination at the hands of the Tims (still one of the smartest U-Turn in TARC history). And they will be entertaining and probably welcome. I'd be glad to see another older team out there. As for Brett and Holly, who knows. They were the first team that featured the couple where one partner is stressed and the other is relatively calm. It's a trope that TARC has used a bit much though. But will they have time? I know have at least one kid, maybe more and still careers in medicine. Busy people. But they did appear one of those Chevy About the Race spots the Steph and Kristine did in Season 5. So they might be open to it. I liked them, they were good TV and Brett never put down Holly, And he was always good insight into the behind the scenes of Season 1. I don't see any other team from Season 1 except for the the Gay Cowboys, Jamie and Pierre. It was too bad they got out early.
Season 2 - Natalie and Meaghan are obvious choices. They were the strongest team in the season but lost in the only leg that counted. I'm sure they would love to get a second chance for redemption. As would their fans. Natalie is also on the Insight-produced Battle of the Blades so she's still part of the team. so to speak. If there's an All-Star I believe this is the one sure team to be back. As for other teams, Sukhi and Jinder might be okay, they are fame seekers and would love to get more. But I believe they moved to LA to get some. I would love to see Pierre and Michel, the original TARC villains but I think they didn't get along with production as much as other teams. No Rex and Bob, Alain and Audrey were a different sort of couple, I liked their personality but Alain's stock has risen since he had a major role in Suicide Squad. Possible though. Don't be surprised if you see Cormac and Nicole; they had a lot of fans.
Season 3 - Brett and Sean were one of the three teams in the return vote for Season 7, and though they lost, they are an odds-on fav to get in. Nick and Matt could be though I'm not sure if they are still wrestling together. Nick's been doing a lot of solo wrestling as Indiana Jones type called Stone Rockwell. It's a really great character (Stone's from Jones, Indiana) so not sure. I'd love to see Brian and Cynthia back. They had a dry sense of humour and they were one of the last teams that reflected true body image of regular folks. Simi and Ope are favs but their story needs to have evolved. Big outside chance is Max and Elias. They could have been the Dave and Irina of their season but were eliminated. Not sure if they are still together *Hamilton and Michaelia aren't so don't expect really them to return as a team) but Elias is doing some acting. So he could use the career boost.
Season 4 - Amy and Frankie were also part of the Season 7 return vote and yes, I'm sure they would jump at the chance to get more fame, especially Frankie. Big Brother team Jillian and Emmett are no longer a couple so unless they get new partners, they are out. Julie and Lowell were fan favs but Lowell's training for the 2020 Paralympics and he put his 2016 bid on hold for Season 4. Don't expect him to do it for 2020. Recently won two silvers at Pan Am Paralympics so he's in a good spot for medals in 2020. Joel and Ashley could be a possibility and though she's insanely busy, she'll drop it all for another chance to compete. I don't think Rita and Yvette got a good enough edit so would welcome them back. That's about it, maybe the moms Anne and Tanya. Long shots would be Anthony and Brandon for redemption of first leg elimination.
Season 5 - Probably the weakest season for teams. The first choice would have been Team G'iver, I'm sure, but since the tragic death of Kenneth, that's no longer a possibility. So very sad, he was only 28. Korey and Ivana's appearances on those supplement sponsored race discussions may signal they are in line for all-star. Their edit wasn't that great, I think they had more potential than we saw. Karen and Bert are also a possible choice. I really can't remember most of the other teams from this season.
Season 6 - Which of the heroes will return. I don't know about this season. Martina also likes fame so would jump at the chance. Their Dempster's food thingy might be a sign of them being part of it. They were fan favs of that season and I liked them but I think she was trying too hard. Casting would probably lean on the second place finishers, Taylor and Courtney, as for the rest, it's a crapshoot and depends on who else is cast from other seasons. Again, not a strong cast.
Season 7 - Obvious choice is Irina and Dave. Great villains who didn't win and would like to. He's really pushing for it and I know he can convince her to do it again. Sarah and Sam are a no because of Olympics in 2020. Not going to pass up that dream. Aarthy and Thinesh are possible but it depends if they cast Brett and Holly or another team (Nic and Sabrina are also a good choice) that had very similar dynamics. They are fresh in everyone's mind and got more fan support than any of the other two. Trish and Amy were starting to come into their own on the show but they would mostly be fodder in an All-Star Season. I don't see any other teams in Season 7 that I would consider for an All-Star unless Jet and Dave get a third chance. I think Gord and I have a better chance of getting on than those two guys.
Final thoughts - though I don't mind the idea of an All-Star, it has to be done right. Teams have to have interesting stories that are different from previous seasons. They can't all be doing the same stuff they did last time. My suggestion, which I keep putting out there cause it has potential for me to get on but it's also something I would like to see, is to go the Survivor route; with some all-stars against fans. A Favs vs Fans so to speak I think it would be a great dynamic to see a few returning teams competing against fans who think they know it all. They could be some hero worship but there also could be some backstabbing. I think the dynamic would make better storytelling. Another idea that would be way too hair-brained for the folks at CTV and Insight to consider would be an All-Star Version of TAR Season 28. This was the one and only season in which all the racers were singles. Mix in a bunch of since TARC All-Stars with a bunch of single new racers and have them form teams the same way they did on Season 29. I case you didn't see it, it worked like this. At the start, there was one task. Racers were ranked by the order they finished the task an the highest ranked racer chose their teammate from the rest. And so on down the line until there were only two racers left were made into a team. That would a fun yet crazy way to run an All-Star. But as I said, probably too crazy for CTV and Insight.
Anyway, that's it. I might blog again next year. Or maybe when they announce the All-Star Teams and see how right or wrong I was.