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Primetime Picks… 7/16/20

Jul 16 Posted by in Features | Comments

Premiering tonight on The CW is the hilarious new reality competition series Killer Camp. The 5-episode limited series originally aired last Halloween on ITV in the UK, but makes its U.S. debut tonight. 11 British strangers thought they were going to appear on a Love Island-like series called Summer Camp, but soon make an explosive discovery that they are on very different show, and that Camp Pleasant doesn’t really live up to its name. Set in an American style sleepaway camp from the 1980s, the campers learn that they are going to be killed off one-by-one by the monstrous camp handyman Bruce. Bruce is acting under the instructions of one of their fellow campers, who is secretly the killer. Each episode, the campers will compete to earn money and clues towards the identity of the killer, and whoever manages to survive will split the money the campers have earned. Guiding them through this nightmare is wisecracking camp counselor Bobby (Canadian comedian Bobby Mair).

Each episode starts with a cash activity, where the campers work as a team to earn money for the camp prize pool. However, the killer is also trying to sabotage their efforts as and money not earned by the “innocents” will go into the killer’s pool. The campers are then split into two teams to compete in a second challenge, where each member of the wining team will receive a clue to help them identify the killer. The campers can choose whether or not they want to share their clues with the others, or even lie about what they say. Next, the campers compete in an immunity challenge, where the winner will be safe from being killed off, and also gets to choose a second a camper to save. Then it’s time to gather around the campfire as Counselor Bobby reveals the two names the killer has selected to take a fun nighttime walk in the woods—one of them never to be seen again. He excitedly tells a scary campfire story to the remaining campers, recounting the gruesome fate of one of their friends, as viewers see the over-the-top murder play out.

This show is so much fun and so ridiculous. It combines the usual competition elements of a reality competition series with elements of a classic slasher film. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the FOX series from a while back, Murder in a Small Town X. However, that series had much more of a horror vibe, where this series is going for more of a campy (no pun intended), fun vibe. Killer Camp embraces the humor, especially with over-the-top kills (the second episode is so insane that I don’t know how The CW is going to air it!). The host of the series is a hoot, constantly poking fun at the plight of the contestants, matter-of-factly talking about how they are going to be murdered, and trying to sell their doomed walks in the woods as fun excursions. The show also embraces its 1980s setting. The contestants are a fun mix of typical stereotypes you would see in a summer camp slasher film, including the jock, the cheerleader, the film geek, the music geek, and so on. The campers are clad in throwback outfits comprised of short shorts, tube socks, and Day-Glo colors. And the series features an awesome 80s soundtrack. There are lots of twists and turns to the show—see if you can figure out who the killer is!

(Update: Unfortunately, it looks like The CW has replaced all the great recognizable soundtrack with generic “upbeat 80s music”.)

Tonight, I’ll also be watching/recording Holey Moley, Don’t, To Tell the Truth, 30 Rock: A One-Time Special, Celebrity Watch Party, Cannonball, and Chrisley Knows Best.