Hunt or be hunted is a popular program format, that much is clear to me after a few months of paid television viewing. And there is little that gets me as worked up as that. Because whether you empathize with the hunter or the loot, in both cases it’s a lot of screaming ‘cunt’, ‘fuck’ and ‘goddamn’, constant rushing and rushing, and the end of the song is (almost) always that the hunter wins. So why start with it?
Hunted (AvroTros) I managed to avoid it for nine seasons, bad if it’s for my rest. But now I’ve been following six couples on Monday evenings for two weeks now, who for weeks have to avoid the hands of a team of tactical and technical detectives who have all possible technology and all tap, hack and track powers at their disposal. And I notice a thick Amsterdam accent. In any case, it is the sport to talk in jargon as much as possible. The hunters do not hit an empty house, no, the house is “one hundred percent negative”. They locate, race and listen, streets are kept ‘closed’, ‘attentions’ are thrown in the air and also arrows, by the way, in the hope that somewhere ‘balloons will pop’. And meanwhile the prey just run, cycle, ride with strangers to escape their certain catch.
I can’t help feeling that the brainstorming session for this program was attended by one or more investigative agencies that have a vested interest in showing us what they can and are allowed to do, should they happen to be looking for us. The millions of surveillance cameras that film you all the time, everywhere. The cell towers that tell you where your phone and laptop are located and so you probably do too. And then not one muscular man in a T-shirt and black combat pants has come to your family and friends to inquire where you are hanging out.
Pen and paper
In the new game show The Genius (NTR) attempts were made unsuccessfully on Monday evening to generate the same kind of tension. Ten candidates in a cachot-like situation, a distorted voice-over that says it’s about eating or being eaten. But here it did not happen chasing and chasing, but sitting and with pen and paper. The candidates play a kind of Werewolves or live Stratego with each other, games that I couldn’t keep up with all my attention in primary school.
That’s why I bent on the hunt for the golden Televizier ring. An audience award, viewers vote and thus determine the nominees and the winner. Next Thursday, the final vote and the award ceremony will be broadcast live on television, but there is already a disgrace that programs have surfaced (again) due to flat voter recruitment. satirical program Until here of BNNVARA would be a ‘regular’ contender, but the RTL docu-drama The Beavers not. Well John de Bever and his husband / manager have indeed mobilized half of Brabant to vote for the real lifeseries about their lives. Highway banners, radio calls, TV appearances. But the third nominee, The Hunting Season from SBS6, could just be really popular. Especially when it was still a YouTube program, a few million young people followed how a well-known Dutchman had to stay out of the hands of the three guys from StukTV for four hours. Bit of the idea of Huntedwithout tracking techniques (just a GPS signal) but with the same cursing and hysterical rush.
John de Mol took over StukTV in 2020, now duos are hunted in the TV variant and the candidates are also recognizable for an “older target group”. Followers became viewers, added together that is probably a lot of voters.