Opposite Worlds Episode 1: Future Welcome, Past Welcome

Opposite Worlds (Photo: SyFy)
Opposite Worlds (Photo: SyFy)

It’s Big Brother meets Survivor: Fiji meets Glass House meets the “Don’t tase me, bro” video on SyFy’s newest competitive reality series Opposite Worlds.

Opposite Worlds features 12 contestants in a battle through time in an effort to become America’s Next Top Chrono Trigger. Tuesday’s episodes will recap the previous week in the game and Wednesday’s show will feature a live challenge and elimination. Seeing as names are fleeting and storylines have not yet developed, I’ll go over the mechanics. This is a J.D. Roth production, so it will be needlessly complicated.

The Gist

Two teams of six players, each standing in their tighty-whities, are introduced before entering one half of a house. The first team, which will be known as Team Chronos, is sent to the “Future” side where everything is white, technology-driven, and fully catered. Team Epoch is sent to the “Past” side, wearing their caveman couture and dealing with making fire and the hole in the ground that serves as a latrine. There will be competitions, there will be eliminations, and there will be one person out of the 12 who will win $100,000.

The Format

After the players got accustomed to their surroundings, Team Chronos were made aware of a countdown clock. When the time expired, a curtain dropped revealing a windowed wall separating the two halves of the house. There’s the initial “sucks to be you” from Team Chronos and the inevitable camaraderie and scrappiness of Team Underdog Epoch. Later, the future team received instructions from Athena, the robotic narrator. Ok, why does Athena talk like Vicki from Small Wonder? Siri has inflection and she’s been around for a few years. Anyway, the teams are told to meet in the Present, which means “outside.”

Our host Luke Tipple can barely contain his enthusiasm (or Australian accent) as he describes the gameplay. Each week there will be a “Worldly Challenge” and the winning team gets to choose which half of the house they will live in. This week’s challenge has one person from each team running up a ramp to an elevated platform. On the platform are double-ended stun guns. The first player to knock her/his opponent off the platform scores a point. “The first team to four points controls the world,” Luke says, establishing that Beyoncé does not exist in this timeline.

Despite the safety precaution of covering the chest with rubber vests so people aren’t killed by the stun guns, the zappers are the least of everyone’s concerns. Particularly Charles, who gets tackled by Jesse before clearing a safety zone on the platform. Charles got the point by default, but he also got a full leg cast and has probably been dispatched from the game. The contest goes to the full seven points, with Lissette and Samm having to reset midway through their bout because it started turning into a wrestling match. I would like to read the waiver for this show at some point. Lissette wins the final point for Chronos, allowing the team to stay in the future.

The show ended with more mechanical exposition. Each team selects a player to be their designated Decider who will be safe from elimination. Then, based on social media and phone votes (because this is a social media experiment, as the show will not stop reminding us), one of the two will get to choose who competes in the Duel of Destiny. No, I did not make that name up. The winner of the duel—to be held Wednesday—stays in the game and the loser goes home. Lissette from Chronos and JR from Epoch are the nominees for Decidership.

Like Glass House from two years ago, there is a lot of clunkiness in this first episode. However, there may be some potential here, depending on how the show plays out tonight and next Tuesday. I’m optimistic-ish.

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About Mike McComb 656 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv
  • Aaron Mucciolo

    Hot. Mess.

    That said, I will watch Wednesday’s ep, and probably next week’s two as well.

    • Glass House had a TERRIBLE pilot but turned into an awesome show. I don’t think last night’s episode used its time efficiently, but I’m withholding full judgment until the week is done. I mean, it may very well be a hot mess, but it’s not the hottest of messes yet.