I've got to admit that I enjoy the odd dystopic vision of the future. Judge Dredd, Children of Men, even that silly dragon movie with Christian Bale. But that's what they should be: movies, and books and comics. And of course, that love even extends to some of Mr. King's novels. The one I'm thinking of is The Running Man. This is one of his "Bachman books" and the 1999 mass market paperback edition has the following as a back-cover blurb:
The runaway bestseller about the ultimate reality showIt's a good blurb and concept for a story set in a dystopian future. About a runner, being chased by hunters, on national television.
The year is 2025. The Running Man is America's favorite television game show. Ben Richards is the program's latest contestant-and the Hunters' latest target in a rigged game of death...
Now, imagine my shock and surprise when I saw it advertised on television. And no, I'm not talking about the silly mid-eighties movie. I'm talking about Cha$e.
My jaw about fell to the ground when I saw this ad. The about page describes the show as thus:
Cha$e is an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat reality-competition show that pits a group of contestants against each other in the quest for cash prizes, while being stalked by relentless "hunters." The action takes place in real time over 60 minutes throughout various Los Angeles landmark locations including San Pedro Harbor, Universal Theme Park and Descanso Gardens.Sure, it's not quite the same as the Running Man televison show in the novel of the same name, but it's nigh upon the same (I wonder if they just couldn't get the licensing rights while brainstorming names for this game show).
As the clock counts down, the competition gets harder as more hunters appear on the "game board," the perimeter changes, and tasks are assigned that test fraying nerves. Contestants earn money for every second they "stay alive." If they are overrun by a hunter, they lose everything. Once the exit point is revealed, the first person to find the location wins up to $50,000.
Cha$e is executive-produced by Rick Telles for Buena Vista Productions, Realand Productions and Fujisanke. Telles was the co-executive producer on Who Wants to Be a Superhero? for SCI FI and producer on MTV's Fear.
Allison Chase Coleman serves as co-executive producer, and was recently the supervising producer on The Amazing Race.
As I said, I love my dystopian futures, but that doesn't mean I want to live in one.