Yeah, I know that's stretching the definition of a game show a bit, but whatever.
I realize that anybody who's reading this blog probably knows exactly what The Mole is, but I like the idea of explaining it as if you've never heard of it, so here goes. The Mole is a reality-competition show that begins with your stock group of reality show contestants. These ten or so people travel around the world competing in challenges (of every imaginable type) that they must work as a team to complete. Success in these challenges is worth money, which goes into the pot for the season...HOWEVER...one of the contestants is the mole and has been carefully chosen by the producers to try to keep money out of the pot, and to do so as secretly as possible. The aim of the game is to figure out who that person is - and anything and everything could be a clue.
The show I described above aired five seasons on ABC between 2001 and 2008. During that period, it had three different hosts (if you must know - Anderson Cooper in seasons one and two, Ahmad Rashad in seasons three and four, and Jon Kelley in season five). It wasn't a major hit. It was a cult show, in as much as a reality-competition show can be a cult show. I was part of that cult.
What made The Mole great wasn't the challenges. I'm not saying the challenges were bad - many were amazing - but what made this show special was the overall challenge. Viewers aren't told who the mole is. Not only do you have the usual reality-competition show suspense of "Who will be eliminated this week?", you're also playing along - and when I say playing along, I really mean it. I used to watch this show with my sister, and by season five we were taking notes and going through some scenes frame by frame. That may sound dumb, but I challenge you to watch a few seasons of this show and not starting doing something like that. Top it off with a great host (all three were good choices in my book) and what more could you want?
I could start complaining now about how much I want this show back, but that would be a waste of time. The Mole is canceled, and barring a miracle, it will stay canceled. I'll just say this - the Emmy Award for Best Reality Competition Show was first awarded in 2003. It should have gone to The Mole Season Three in 2003, The Mole Season Four in 2004, The Mole Season Five in 2008, and I don't care in the least what wins every other year.
I'll also suggest that the first Emmy Award for Best Reality Show Host in 2008 should have gone to Jon Kelley, but only because there was no season of Solitary that year. If you can give me a clear answer to the question of who does the voice of VAL, I'll make up an award and give it her, just so she can have one for that performance.