Just how high octane is new free-to-air channel Rush? TV thrillseeker Tara Ward ventures into the unknown to find out.
Rush burst onto our screens last month in a cloud of exhaust fumes and high octane promises. It was one of two new free-to-air channels replacing Choice TV, and it launched with a tagline of “experience more” and a schedule packed with “adventurous, high adrenaline” shows. Rush had Bear Grylls in the wild, it had race cars with loud engines, it was a single channel offering us more action and excitement than we’ve ever seen on TV before.
Rush wanted me to feel the rush, and given my most high risk activity at the moment is visiting the supermarket during a global pandemic, I was ready for it. Get those thrills, spills and skills directly into my veins, because I knew exactly how I would embrace the extreme: by watching Rush during work hours.
You heard me. I wanted to watch a diver fix a pipe under the ocean when I should have been in a meeting, or a comedian hunting UFOs when I was supposed to be replying to emails. I wanted to live life on the edge, and Rush was the perfect partner in crime.
So in the name of adrenaline and adventure, I stayed at home to watch television. As a sluggish, low-octane female, I know I’m not Rush’s target audience, but I dedicated hours to watching shows about deep-sea fishing and survival skills, old trucks and aquariums, plane crashes and street outlaws, just to feel the Rush. In the ad breaks, I watched the bonkers Dancing with the Stars NZ promo approximately four thousand times, and now believe the DWTS alpaca is living the highest octane life of us all.
I began my wild ride with Tanked, an American reality series about a family who make aquariums. This was followed by Cooper’s Treasure, a reality series about a treasure hunter who did not find any treasure. I watched Jungle Gold and Bering Sea Gold, two separate shows in which men dug things up to find stuff that wasn’t there. So far, there were a lot of men with broken pipes and hoses. In fact, Rush featured way more pipes and hoses than it did women, but who doesn’t love a high octane hose?
So many men, so many dreams. The testosterone flowed through the screen, and after only a few hours on a solid Rush diet, I fixed a broken handle in my kitchen using only a butter knife and sellotape. Things were going well.
I had survived the wilds of my kitchen, but what about the terrifying day when I ventured outside? Rush loves a survival series, and Bushcraft Buildoff taught me how to camouflage myself in the wilderness using only sticks and dung. I now have the knowledge to track a man through a field of cow poo, and am an expert on building a chimney out of mud and stones. I will never use either of these skills… or will I?
Then came Alaskan Bush People, a reality series about an unusual family who live in the American wilderness. If you want high octane, try wearing singlets in the snow like the Browns, or making a campfire tumble dryer out of an old steel drum, some number eight wire and a handle. They were geniuses without teeth, explorers with impressive sideburns who got their chainsaw stuck and couldn’t remember where they left their boat.
So far Rush felt more low key than high octane, but quitting was never an option. It was survival of the fittest, and I was more committed than Bear Grylls drinking his own piss. On day two of my Rushathon, The Deadliest Catch caught a lot of crabs, and the men were thrilled. The Abalone Wars caught a lot of abalone, and those men were thrilled too.
We were at battle with fish, we were at war with the sea. Something had changed. I started to grunt and sweat. The DWTS NZ alpaca looked thrilled too, and the chief mechanic on reality series Kindig Customs announced he was “sweating like a whore in church”. Extreme! Adventure! By the time Pete Nelson the Treehouse Man built a spa in a treehouse, I was all thrilled out.
I sailed the seas of adventure and lived to tell the tale. I watched a family install a fish tank in a caravan, a remodelled car have its hose replaced, and an explorer search for Amelia Earhart’s skeleton under a house in Fiji. If this was experiencing more, then I’d done it. You never see Bradley Walsh wear dung camouflage on The Chase, or Chris Warner build a house of leaves on Shortland Street. The only thing Mike McRoberts digs up is the news. Boring!
Rush promised thrills, spills, and skills, and even though the thrills were mostly hose-related, the channel delivered like an Alaskan bush family bringing home a broken-down washing machine. But now the Rush was over, and I had emails to reply to.
Rush screens on Freeview channel 14, with some shows available on demand on Three Now.