It’s a highly-rated, exciting TV show where acknowledged experts compete in a head-to-head challenge on a playing field that changes with each new competition, but in the end, only one can be the victor.
Nope, Iron Chef.
The producers on Top Shot (and other shooting shows) could learn a lot from Iron Chef’s success, but number one on the list is how to use expert commentary to make an otherwise obscure procedure approachable to the average viewer.
For example, even though I’m the cook for my family (and not a bad one at that), I’ll never cook like an contestant on Iron Chef, but I still learn things from watching the show like how to quickly prepare a whole fish or how to improve my knife skills.
This hasn’t happened with Top Shot (yet). Yes, it’s brought in viewers (quite a lot, in fact), but those viewers haven’t been able to appreciate just how spectacular JJ was on the dueling tree in the last episode of Season One or how hard it is to make a 300 yard shot under time pressure.
Colby hasn’t done this, and more to the point, he can’t do it, he just doesn’t know what technique and skills are involved (Memo to Pilgrim TV: Bring back Iain and have him do it).
Ideally, the resident expert on Top Shot would be like the colour analyst in a sports broadcast: Someone who expands the knowledge of the viewers and makes them want to get more into the game.