Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How I Became Hooked on Hunted

I never had any intentions of watching the show Hunted on CBS. I saw the trailers, but it didn’t appeal to me. 

I got sucked into the show because of my oldest son. The TV was left on CBS the night the first episode aired, and he was all into it. He had to go to bed before it was over, so he asked us to record it for him. We did, and we ended up watching the rest with him. From there, I’ve continued watching every episode.

In a nutshell, nine teams of two are sent “on the run” in a designated area in the South. They are considered “fugitives,” but they are just average Joes who are taking a chance at evading the Hunters. The Hunters are then tasked with finding these “fugitives,” and they have an arsenal of high-tech gadgets at their disposal and years of experience hunting people down.

From the beginning, my entire family has found themselves yelling at the TV for the decisions the fugitives have made and what the Hunters are doing. There’s an emotional investment in wanting the fugitives to get away but also in wanting the Hunters to make a catch. It’s so much fun to watch and so frustrating at the same time.

I think what I find most appealing about this show is that it reminds me of a horror movie. The fugitives are in a no-win situation. They don’t have the same expertise or technology at their fingertips as the Hunters do, so in a way, they are doomed to fail. As an audience member, I don’t want them to fail, I want them to succeed, but like the characters in a horror movie, they often make stupid mistakes.

Take for instance Matt Sundberg and Christina Zapolski. To evade the Hunters, their plan was to get to their parents’ house and have them help hide them. They were nervous about their vehicle being spotted, so they decided to take a bus. To get the bus ticket, they used the ATM at the station, letting the Hunters know exactly where they were headed. Since they were on a bus, they were trapped and had no control over when they got there, so they were captured.

Another example is Sentra Tran and Thu Tran. They had it made. They had gone completely off the grid and were hiding in the woods, where the Hunters would never be able to find them. They made it for 14 out of 28 days undetected, then got caught because they came back into town for Taco Bell. TACO BELL! Ugh! It was so frustrating.

The list goes on and on. There are still some runners on the run, and I’m holding my breath that they will continue to make smart decisions. I get it, though, I really do. Like characters in a horror movie, the fugitives on Hunted are put into a highly stressful situation that is outside of the norm. They aren’t used to being hunted, just like characters in horror movies aren’t used to being hunted, so they are doing the best they can with the situation.

The Hunters, like a horror movie killer, are focused and patient. They aren’t stressed. They don’t have to worry about surviving; they just have to worry about finding their prey—and they are calculating and patient.

As with a horror mvoie, it’s easy for me to sit on the couch and yell at the screen and tell the fugitives that what they are doing is ridiculous—just like it’s easy to tell a character not to go into the basement in the dark by themselves. But it’s in vain because we all know they are going to do it anyway. It gives the audience a sense of empowerment and superiority because if we were in that situation, we would definitely do it differently.

But like a horror movie, we can’t ever truly say how we would react until we’re in the situation. The Hunters, like movie killers, are counting on us doing something dumb. That’s how we get caught.

As I watch the show, I can’t help but wonder if they are giving away too many secrets about how fugitives are hunted. It feels like if someone really wanted to learn how to evade law enforcement, they would get some great tips from this show. However, it’s cool to see how technology has become so ingrained into our every day that we barely notice it anymore or that it is literally recording our every move.

All in all, the show is awesome. I truly don’t believe that I would do any better than the runners on the show, and I applaud them for trying. I’m rooting for those who are left, watching with bated breath that they stay focused and smart, but I’m also hoping the Hunters get their fugitives.

It will be interesting to see if there are future seasons of Hunted. I would like to see them travel to various places around the country because each area will offer its own set of challenges for both the Hunters and the Hunted.

Has anyone else been watching the show? What are your thoughts?

This is my youngest during one episode of Hunted erasing his electronic footprint.

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