“Games of the Will”, Bulgarianized to the point of unwatchability

If the Bulgarian viewer comes across Desafio – the Colombian original of “Games of the Will” – he will seriously think about not watching “The Hunger Games” instead.

The arenas are just as impressive as those in Suzanne Collins’ dystopia, and are large-scale facilities with multiple components and obstacles. The puzzles are a real challenge for the mind, and the participants are so ambitious, as if they are really fighting for life and death.

There is no room for intrigue, or at least the producers in South America have decided that there is no need to bother us with them excessively.

“Games of Will” in Bulgaria could have been the same spectacle, but, alas, we increasingly wonder if there is really reality in this reality, or are we watching a strange series with elements of a competition.

The Colombian racing arenas, which occupy a huge space and at least several locations, have been replaced by a modest beach next to Tsarevo, which houses all the competitions. The competitions themselves on native soil are more like pehlivan fights, which, due to the sand flying everywhere, cannot be photographed in good quality.

While in Desafio the games require real athletic skill, in Games of Will too often their teams just have to have one who swims well and one who has a lot of muscle. And, of course, there must always be a teammate to solve the now legendary puzzles.

The word puzzles in question sound like a riddle comparable to the rebuses of a Dan Brown novel, and producers and casting directors are bound to acquire at least a few brains that they proudly call “puzzle specialists”.

In fact, these slightly more intelligent participants are something like the one-eyed in the kingdom of the blind, and the puzzles themselves are like brought from kindergarten.

It’s as if some cameraman looked at the cubes of his five-year-old daughter and decided that sand fascinating enough and he dragged them onto the set so that the participants could play with them as well.

Even the names of the tribes evoke fits of awkward laughter. The “Invincibles” keep losing, in the “Superheroes” several participants are in constant lethargy, and in the “Fearless” there are contestants who are afraid of their own shadow.

But the real insult to the intellect comes when literally over half the screen time is devoted not to digging through the royal dunes, running from the team captain to the other tree and putting together a picture of five cubes. It’s a pain to watch the intrigues that the writers have dropped on the participants.

In these shots, the feeling that this is a reality show and not a Turkish soap opera is totally lost.

It is supposed to be a show about survival and fighting against difficulties, but over 70 percent of the episodes are occupied by petty fights and quarrels.

If there is not enough tension and enthusiasm for quarrels between the contestants, scriptwriters skilfully intervene and introduce the much-needed occasion for clashes – a shortage of food, a supposedly surprising dropout in a battle.

Yes, it’s normal for the environment, hunger and nerves to cause friction, but reality shows bring together people who are petty enough to fight over someone having one more slice for dinner.

By now, the dear viewer must have realized that if he wants to watch contested races, attractive races and a meeting of strong characters – he should change the channel and look for the original Desafio.

The saddest thing is that “Games of the Will” is not the first, but the next foreign format that has been Bulgarianized to the point of unwatchability.

If the reality show was recreated verbatim from its Colombian original, it would find quite a few loyal fans. The show could please fans of Bear Grylls and other survival formats like Survivor and Man vs. Wild.

You could, but you wouldn’t…

Some phrases are embedded in the heads of even those with the poorest vocabulary


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