In one word: yes. Keeping all comparisons with Big Brother aside, we’re going to break down the season and make a case for why ABC should consider giving The Glass House a second season.
Last night, the show aired it’s finale, granting Kevin the $250,000, and the finale deserves a moment to be praised. From a close competition to heated confrontations to bringing the public on set for the final announcement, the finale had it all and then some. While many may have predicted the show’s winner, the events leading up to the reveal kept most on the edge of their seats.
Stemming from a lot of pre-show controversy, The Glass House had a lot to prove when its season opened in May. Under a mostly negative cloud of a lawsuit set forth by CBS (which they have since dropped), ABC pressed forward and continued production on this show until they might have been told otherwise. With the drama surrounding the show pre-season, allegations that this show stole its concept from CBS’s Big Brother, many expected the premiere to shatter ratings based on the fact that many might have tuned in to see what the hoopla was about. Contrary to expectations, the show didn’t even open its seasons with ratings one could boast about. But ratings aren’t all what makes a television show worthy of renewal. At least, they shouldn’t be.
Marred by a contestant who was more a cloud of negativity than the villain he thought America wanted him to be, The Glass House lost some viewer support when “Primetime 99” Alex Stein went on a rampage and verbally attacked the other players on a level lower than he should have. While, from a production standpoint, bringing Alex back after he was the first one to leave the house might have been a headline grabber, The Glass House didn’t mess with America’s votes and he was sent home packing … for good. As the season progressed, the show found its footing, like many new shows do, and we’re about to breakdown why it should return and what changes should be made moving forward.
The Cast |
We’ll start with the basics of what makes a good reality show – the cast. Without having anything to live up to, The Glass House had the ability to cast whomever they wanted for the inaugural season. By choosing the path of mostly average, everyday Americans, their decision proved to be one worth praising. Sure, they brought on a stuntman and an aspiring poet and there was bound to be an aspiring model, but the cast was, for the most part, a diverse group of Americans who wanted to play a game and then return to normal life. Should the show return, a similar casting approach needs to be taken – without the idea of upstaging themselves.
When the season started, there was this mystery robotic voice that many thought would become annoying as the season went on. On the contrary, Oracle, as was voted by the viewers, became one of the stars of the show without even trying. From her snarky comments on the live feeds to her demanding presence on the television show, Ori was arguably reality TV’s breakout star this year. While we may never see the face behind the voice, Ori proved to be one of the more dynamic reality “hosts” this summer and showcased why you don’t have to try hard to stand out. Take note Honey Boo Boo.
The Live Feeds |
Admittedly so, we were skeptical of the feeds when the season started. While giving viewers a look into the house a week before the show premieres was viewed as a strength, many doubted the worth of the feeds being so limited and fairly scripted. However, to the praise of the production team, our cries were heard an extra feed time was added a few weeks into the season. This time, the players did not know they were being watched. Still, the appeal to a show like this might be a look into the house 24/7, the limited feeds might have worked in this show’s favor considering the obvious competition of an established show like Big Brother. Part of the reason the feeds were limited was due to the fact that the players were actually taken back to hotel sequester each weekend. While this might give them reason to cool down and relax, they still delivered week after week on the drama aspect. Many cry foul about this, but we don’t think that has to be done away with if production wants to keep that format for season 2. Concentrating viewers and giving the players something to do while the feeds were on turned out to be a well calculated move, given the show’s continued skepticism. They may, however, want to consider adding more feed time for a reason we’ll explain below.
Online Interaction |
In a show that stressed how this was “America’s Game,” the online interaction was imperative to the show’s success. Here is where the show could improve and we’ll tell you how. Yes, the show’s presence on Twitter was profound with both Ori and the players getting to tweet, but the players tweets came out in droves and were almost always released too late. While we understand that the tweets can’t go live without being approved by ABC and production, there needs to be a better way put in place, should the show return, to release player tweets. The show’s voting also needs to makeover. And we’re not talking about doing away with the innovative Xbox Kinect stone casting. With a new show, viewers did not always log into the show’s website as regularly as the network might have expected. In doing so, many polls and votes were missed because there was no pattern made known as to when voting for XYZ will take place. If you so happened to see a poll during the feeds, great, but if you missed the weekend polls of pairing bed mates or giving the house a prize or punishment, it went unnoticed. Why? Well, there is another flaw. We weren’t able to view most of what we had a hand in determining. Because of the lack of feeds and a one-episode-per-week schedule, we never really saw the responses to what we voted on. Some of the time, we never really even knew which player truly followed our requests. Since we were to vote on our favorites, this might have taken a little bit of our power, and more importantly our motivation to vote, away.
Viewer Feedback |
The one place this show truly excelled, without debate, was their reception to feedback from the viewers. Not only did The Glass House encourage feedback from its fans, but the feedback did not fall on deaf ears. We wanted more feeds, they delivered. We wanted a live competition; they delivered. We wanted live eliminations; they delivered. Even from the start of the season when Ori called us fans, they quickly changed her script to “viewers” since we couldn’t be dubbed as fans from the get go. It’s refreshing to see a production team listen to their viewers and make reasonable adjustments to a show’s format or schedule based on our input.
Set Design |
Finally, we would be amiss if we didn’t mention the show’s set design. From the modern look of the house to the use of technology to the innovative and visually appealing competition sets, the team working on the show’s set deserves recognition. The penultimate competition of The Glass House turned apartment, showcasing rooms of it’s inhabitants, we genius and made for a visually stunning and exciting competition to watch. The creative team here definitely surpassed the expectation of many.
We could go on but these are the aspects we felt most strongly about discussing. We want to know your opinions? Should The Glass House get a second season? Would this show fare more in the winter time? What are your thoughts on how Season 1 unfolded?