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TV Review: Top Shot

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The History Channel enters the "competition series" genre with a 10-week run of Top Shot. Sixteen shooters will compete for $100,000 and the title. The host is Colby Donaldson of Survivor fame. History comes into play as contestants compete using famous weapons to reproduce significant shots from history. Pre-series hype mentions use of a crossbow to shoot an apple and a handgun to re-enact the attempt on President Reagan.

Shooters are divided into two teams but compete among themselves as well as against the other team. After competition determines a losing team, two members of that team compete to see who gets eliminated. Voting is done by shooting at named targets. So a contestant who didn't participate in tonight's action could get eliminated. What happens if the voting shot misses?

U.S. Rifle team member

The premiere episode challenges the teams with four legendary military weapons including one from Russia and the American M-14. Tonight's guest instructor is a former Navy SEAL with experience using each of the weapons. His explanation for versatility with firearms is an old SEAL expression, "One mind, any weapon."

Top Shot has several things going for it with the diverse backgrounds of the participants and the historical angle of the competition. Unfortunately, as the first episode reveals, it also has some of the same detractions as cooking, interior design, model, fashion designer, and dieter shows. Do the producers think that displays of self-pity, bickering, whining, and back-stabbing make good entertainment? Apparently that behavior is good for ratings but, personally, I get enough of it in real life. I don't need more of it when I'm interested in escape. Some people have no interest in a program that involves shooting competition, maybe they'd rather watch tennis or golf. I foundTop Shot to be very interesting when the competition was being explained and the shooting began.

Can technology save Top Shot? With this series, The History Channel introduces an ultra-high speed HD camera that yields such slow motion images that you can actually see the projectile hit the target. This show has great potential and although they probably have all ten episodes in the can, maybe it gets better.

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  • Geoff

    This is the first reality show I’m watching. Just keep it “real” and not “scripted fights”

  • John

    Lame to the max, took it off my DVR list to record. These are the best marksman they could find? We’re is deep s@#$.

  • Mike

    I loved it. I hope they don’t show too much fighting between the cast, but so far its fun. I love the host from survivor too. He is playing it serious, which the host should do, and he is not trying to hog the spotlight. Also, I think those were some amazing shooters.

  • Dave

    This show is another “cooked up” reality show. Unfortunately I wasted the time watching the first showing locally. I won’t waste any more time doing that as I have a sock drawer to organize. The ‘History Channel’ gets worse and worse,if it isn’t a story about some drug dealing street gang, it’s about some prisoners being interviewed. Maybe they could actually present shows that have some “historical” significance! “Top Shot” is ‘Top Junk’!

  • Art Bray

    I agree with these other comments the show is lame. The only one that even comes close to being called top shot is JJ Racaza, but then he is pro might as well had the best in the world try ie Army Marksman unit, Jerry Miculek, Bob Munden, Bruce Piatt etc. Of course they had that guy that got elimanted, he was supposed to be a pro and he couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with 30 rounds to try with, if he works for a company in the capacity of a shooter his boss might want to think of downsizing. The other lame part of this thing is what has crawling on a rope got to do with Marksmanship if you can’t hit the target rope crawling isn’t going to help.

  • Drew in Texas

    Watched it with great anticipation, won’t bother with it again. Their “expert” shooters, how come NONE can claim a title in ANY shooting discipline? Like someone else said…Where are the Rob Leathams, Jerry Miculeks, Carl Bernoskys, or David Tubbs, or anyone from the Army AMU or USMC shooting team?

  • Drew in Texas

    Do we really need the players to vote? This is supposed to be about who is the best shot, not most (or least) popular. The majority of the one team has yet to fire a shot so they all have a score of ZERO, just like the show its self.

  • Jack Johnson

    Sir’s these are nowhere near being the “TOP SHOTS ” as you call them the little i saw was idiotic to say the least, I have instructed military long rifle for over 20 years and KNOW the US has far finer marksmen than those who appeared on this Show , i have represented Australia against the US’s shooting team at Pendleton a number of times , Sir the show is HYPE.

  • John in Texas

    Made it through 15 minutes before I wanted to puke. Where are the REAL shooters? When does the REAL competition start? Real competitors leave by losing the match, not by a “vote” of their rivals/teammates. I won’t watch the next one, too busy cleaning the septic tank….

  • http://etierphotography.blogspot.com/ FCEtier

    One aspect of the show that was NOT made clear, nor even discussed, was how these sixteen contestants were selected.

  • CL

    I too was a little disappointed in the program. Hell I can throw a rock 50 yds & hit targets that big. The wife made a good comment though. It does show firearmes themselves in a positive light as opposed to the standard TV/hollywood liberal antigun BS.

  • Marv

    Why not just have these guys just shoot?
    They will weed themselves out, they won’t have to be voyted off!
    If you can’t hit a target then you won’t win!

  • kimberly de mesa

    i really love the show…. most especially that i was early enthusiast of guns…. it was of great deal that i was represented those of the unit showned in the show.