The Mole: The Complete First Season

Since 2000, when the original Survivor premiered, the four main American networks have waged a battle with one another to outwit, outplay and outlast each other in the reality ratings game. CBS was the early winner with Survivor and The Amazing Race; Fox played sleazy with Temptation Island and Joe Millionaire, finally finding long-term success with American Idol; and NBC settled for third-best with The Apprentice. But what about ABC? Arguably the network that foreshadowed the reality craze with the pre-Survivor Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, ABC failed to find much success. Their first stab at the genre was 2001's The Mole, a mild success that spawned a half-unaired second season, and two poorly rated "celebrity additions." Its first season, worthy of its place alongside Richard Hatch and company in the reality television hall of fame, was just released on DVD. The Mole centres around ten contestants who complete a series of physical and psychological tests while travelling around the world. However, one of the ten is a "mole" trying to sabotage the tests so that the winner will take home less money. At the end of each episode, the group is given a quiz about the alleged "mole" and the player with the least answers is eliminated. I know, it sounds complicated, but it becomes clear quite quickly upon watching. Though its intricate and well-executed scenario is certainly beneficial, The Mole also has a great host (Anderson Cooper, now a CNN anchor) and a well-cast group of contestants (particularly Jim, who rivals all for the coolest reality show contest of all time). The DVD contains numerous conventional extras that complement the series, including deleted scenes and casting tapes. Though the idea of releasing reality shows on DVD seems silly (if you know who wins, the show is much less entertaining), The Mole makes a welcome edition to anyone who disagrees DVD collection. (Eagle Media)