The Challenge Season 37 Episode 1 Review: The List


After just one installment, one thing is true:

The Challenge Season 37 might end up like another War of the Worlds-like season, and I am so here for it.

The Challenge Season 37 Episode 1 confirmed what many expected:

The show needs new blood, and the veterans should be scared.

If you watch The Challenge online, you know the veterans always somehow return, even if they placed low on a previous season.

There’s no doubt about it.

But it’s hard not to be in awe of such a wonderful cast from around the world.

Many countries that have never been represented on the series are getting their time to shine, and if the veterans have gone after the Big Brother alliance in the past, it’s Survivor’s turn to feel their wrath.

Seriously though, Survivor players are much sketchier than Big Brother due to the sheer amount of politicking on the former show, so at least Tori got something right during the premiere.

Tori has never been my favorite player, and it comes down to her attitude. She aligned herself very quickly with veterans in her first few seasons, but she still has a lot to prove to get into that coveted hall of fame.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the show edits her in such a way that she has a superiority complex. It doesn’t make for good TV, and it makes me want to fast-forward her scenes.

Something tells me she would have been thrown into the elimination had one of the teams with the rookies won that first challenge.

Aneesa winning was hardly a surprise. She’s been on back-to-back seasons, including All-Stars, so she’s pumped and ready to go.

The hard part is that Aneesa typically starts the seasons strong and flames out, so if she manages to keep the veteran’s alliance intact, she might make it to the end this time.

The only way to play this game is by winning competitions and having a good social game and some strong allies.

But winning the first elimination paints a huge target on your back, so Aneesa may find that she’s targeted sooner than later.

The drama surrounding the list was bizarre, but it was easy for everyone to throw Michaela under the bus.

Michaela and Renan were vocal from the jump about taking down the veterans, giving me the sense that this would be a season worth watching.

Unfortunately, it just wasn’t in the cards so soon. I respect that Michaela wanted to take the shots early because she understood that Survivor contestants were the top enemies.

Emy stirring the pot to keep the target on Michaela was fun and all, but Emy has also painted a target on her own back for future weeks.

Emy telling Tori and Aneesa what they wanted to hear was always going to come at a cost, and let’s face it, it looked like she was sucking up to them because she knew they held a considerable amount of power in the game.

The elimination battle between Renan and Michaela & Corey, and Michelle was a high-stakes endeavor, and I genuinely had no idea who would emerge as the winner.

When the competitions are steamrolled, it doesn’t make for good TV, but seeing these two groups struggle with what was going on was compelling enough.

Losing Michaela and Renan so soon sucked, but hopefully, they can return in a future season because they both had so much to give to the competition.

Michelle is a bit of a wildcard. Her Survivor resume is stellar, and she was getting very close to Devin earlier in the episode, confirming there’s a good chance they will work well together.

Michelle opting to steal Devin solidified that they’re there to cause chaos, and I’m intrigued to see how well they work together.

Corey was given the raw end of the deal when he was thrown up there for something his partner did, yet she got to sit and watch from the sidelines.

He’s a beast at the competitions, and I suspect he’ll want to get some revenge, not only on Emy but also on Tori and Aneesa because they were part of the reason he was there.

My biggest concern about the premiere was the format of it all. Being able to infiltrate other teams makes people not want to throw competitions, but it also leads to some of the biggest changes in these teams, and it seemed like TJ was even confused when he was explaining it.

It’s not a good sign, and I hope it’s simplified in the coming weeks. The idea of infiltrating any team is fun, but it takes a lot of the strategy out of the game.

What the heck happened to Nam? This was his season to dominate. Something happened off-screen to take him out of the game. That sucks, but maybe he could return down the line.

We know the show gets shut down during production due to a COVID-19 outbreak, so maybe some of the people who have left will get the chance to return.

Did anyone else like the dynamic between Hughie and Ashley? I watched Hughie on Big Brother UK, and he has many similarities to Ashley. They both can’t keep their mouths shut if someone has gotten under their skin.

That will make for some fun drama!

As for Fessy and Amanda, where did that even come from?

Amanda is one of my favorite players because she knows how to stir the pot, but getting close to the man who betrayed one of her good friends was a surprise.

It wouldn’t be a season of The Challenge without some relationship drama, and something tells me Nelson will get the power to take a shot at Fessy, and Amanda will try to talk him out of it.

Then again, maybe Fessy will surprise everyone and save Nelson when he needs it the most.

“The List” was a bit of a mixed bag as a premiere.

The show is adapting, and it might become the case that the vets will be voted off early on.

We’ll need to tune in to find out.

New episodes air Wednesdays on MTV.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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