Ok, so I’ve watched the premier episode of Top Shot twice now. For those of you in the shooting community who’ve been living under a rock, or have yet to upgrade to one of those newfangled television things, Top Shot is a new reality show that’s airing on The History Channel. The central conceit is that they’ve selected 16 of America’s best shooters from various disciplines, split them into teams and then make them compete with weapons from various historical eras (hence the justification for the show being on The History Channel.)
The show pretty well follows the established formula for a reality series, throw a bunch of people into a situation, record their actions, and then stick them into an interview chair for a bit of navel-gazing and/or backbiting.
That said, the premiere episode was pretty short on interpersonal drama, and compulsively watchable. Of course, it probably doesn’t hurt that I’m familiar with a couple of the competitors, and at least one of them has an excellent blog and podcast deal chock full of shooty goodness.
As for the shooting in the show itself, the competitions are built to have maximum impact with the viewer, utilizing a lot of high-speed slow-motion photography, and having the competitors shoot at targets that explode. It makes for a pretty potent visual marker of who’s hitting what target, and seems to be a great solution to the problem of making a shooting competition into something that a spectator would actually want to watch.
If you’ve been paying attention by now, you’ve probably read every possible diagnosis of what happened when Mike Seeklander was shooting an 03 Springfield at a target at 100 yards, and failed to hit it despite firing somewhere around 30 rounds at it.
Well, it turns out that the sights on those rifles are some sick Victorian-era Rube Goldberg Device. Couple that with having to shoot an unknown firearm under stress, and I’m not terribly surprised that Seeklander crashed and burned.
Still, if you haven’t watched the show, I’d suggest catching a rerun of it on History Channel or streaming it via Hulu. Whatever misgivings you might have about the show, there’s one thing about it that’s pretty revolutionary:
For the first time ever, there’s a show on television aimed at the general television audience that portrays guns and gun use in a thoroughly positive light.
Even five years ago, such a show would have been completely unheard of.