The secret behind a long-lasting television show lies in its ability to grab the attention of viewers in the most creative of ways. There are the usual cliffhangers and plot twists that never fail to keep us on the edge of our seats, and the inventive storylines that keep us guessing and wanting more. The formula to good reality television is no different. Yes, dramatic moments do play a huge role in this genre, but so does consistency and thinking out-of-the-box.
The Reality Showed That Defined Our Youth
One of MTV’s longest-running reality shows that has seen one iteration after the other is The Hills. The series followed the dramatic and exciting escapades of several young men and women residing in Los Angeles. The first few seasons of the series mainly focused on the life of Lauren Conrad, who was also an alum of another MTV reality series called Laguna Beach, and her housemate, Heidi Montag. The reality show started on the right foot, as we were introduced to Conrad and Montag’s group of friends and love interests. Like in true Los Angeles fashion, friendships are as fleeting as the latest trends. It did not take long before Conrad and Montag’s friendship crumbled shortly after Montag fell in love with the fame-loving narcissist, Spencer Pratt. The falling out was a major plotline in the series that was carried over until the finale. It was even able to stir controversy long after the series ended after six long seasons. The entire The Hills franchise became a major player in the reality show landscape during its reign, and one that proved to be beneficial to its cast members who become overnight celebrities.
A New Era Has Risen
Fans of the series went on with their lives as soon as the series finale aired. There may have been bouts of separation anxiety at the beginning, but overall, the show seemed to have run its course already. We were gifted with a couple of epic confrontational scenes that qualified for reality television gold, as well as some other memorable moments that were worthy of binge-watching marathons. This might be the very reason why the announcement regarding a sequel to the hit franchise, The Hills: New Beginnings, caught a lot of us by surprise. It felt like a blast from the past that nobody anticipated, and one that came with a lot of unexpected surprises. The sequel was created with the intent to reunite old cast members and also introduce a couple of familiar faces, such as Mischa Barton, who was one of the lead stars of the famed teen drama series, The OC. The show’s creators were aiming to bring back the same amount of excitement, and rekindle old flames, such as Audrina Patridge and Justin Bobby. Their efforts were not put entirely in vain, as the new series ran for two whole seasons, but unfortunately, this was not enough for the new franchise to continue on,
News on the series’ cancellation after two seasons was not as shocking as expected. Its premiere did not garner as much attention as it used to, and its long-time fans did not seem to be as invested to the storyline anymore. The episodes tried its best to attract drama and intrigue, but the scenes felt kind of forced most of the time. Seeing the cast members who have aged, but who still seem addicted to the limelight, also did not play well. It was high time that the franchise closed the curtains for good, and the show’s creators move forward to new and more innovative concepts. The belief that all good things must come to an end has never been truer.
Cast reunions and reboots may sound nostalgic at first, but they usually have a lasting impact when they are short-lived. A television special or an interview could suffice. We are presented with so much new content on a regular basis that are so easy to access, and it’s ultimately up to the showrunners on how they can stay relevant. Reusing past storylines and re-introducing familiar personalities do not sound like recipes for success. The playing field for reality shows have become more competitive than ever, which makes it even harder for shows to succeed. The stakes are high, and the audience even more discerning than before. The Hills: New Beginnings was created with good intentions, but was a shot in the dark. May its short run be an opportunity for new ideas to be developed, and for more binge-worthy shows to make their way to our television screens.
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