The premise is undeniably absurd, not only from a real world perspective, but also in the context of the show itself. Most of the characters don’t seem to have even wondered who the organizers of the race might be, what their motives are, or if their promises of wealth and/or harm are credible. Maybe there’s some backstory yet to be revealed that explains why most of the characters are behaving like thoughtless sheep or (let’s use a faster animal as an example) greyhounds who, once out of the starting gate, think of nothing but the rabbit in front of their noses. If so, I hope it’s revealed soon.
There are two characters this complaint doesn’t apply to: Alex Tully, the “rogue landscaper” played by Nathan Fillion, and his partner, Corinna Wiles. Each have reasons to be angry and/or seek revenge, and in demonstrating to the audience why, and what they’re willing to do to get answers, the show has already taken some disturbing turns. These scenes have been pretty gripping, at least to me, but I don’t think they mix well with the material written for most of the other characters. This show has gone through a crazy production process, which might explain the inconsistency of tone. Or maybe it’s just the usual startup pains of a new series. Whichever, it feels shaky, like it doesn’t quite know what it wants to be.
All that being said, I think it has some promise. The characters are not exactly likable (except for the charming and funny Violet Trimble), but none is repulsive, either. Watching them develop and start to mix more could be really interesting. The identities and motives of the organizers of the Race could be involving as well, as long as the creators actually know where they’re going and aren’t just stringing things out indefinitely like certain other shows who need not be named. In that regard, Minear’s long history of cancellation might actually be reassuring: he has no reason to expect that he’ll have lots of time to tell the story.
For anyone who’s curious, the show can be watched online here.