Confusing in its attempt to combine information, stunts and competition into a unified show, the opening episode of TBS’ adaptation of “The Worst Case Scenario Handbook” proves people jumping off buildings and running through fire can actually be ho-hum. The graphics, loaded with helpful emergency hints, are the best thing about this show, but it’s a puzzle why diving into a body of water from 38 feet could cause different injuries than a jump from 41 feet.
“Scenario” is a bestselling advice book on how to handle emergencies such as being stuck on the roof of a burning building. When that chapter is turned to video, and a stuntwoman delivers advice on how to hold your body and where to land, it plays as an odd safety infomercial, not a case of man vs. nature.
Jumping from a building fits into the category of “ripped from the pages,” one of the five elements of “Scenario” the show. Obviously producer Craig Piligian saw an advice show as having limited appeal and spread out “Scenario” to include the “volunteer challenge” — a woman confronts her fear of heights by jumping off a cliff into water — and the “faceoff,” in which two “outdoorsmen” battle each other in a “Survivor”-like contest. Even with the other categories of “caught on tape,” “five-mile radius” and “gear girl,” it seems quite a stretch to get this to last 22 weeks.
Show lacks in playfulness or, until we see footage of a skydiver stuck on the bottom of an aircraft, any sense of danger. Host Mike Rowe is stuck reading overheated scripts at the laughable Worst Case Institute.
On-location shots are of comparable quality to network reality shows.