[image-1]Modern television may have struck gold with Hunted, a new series that combines the thrill of popular cop-dramas with the raw, and always ridiculous, emotions of reality television hopefuls. The premise is basically an anxiety-riddled, adult version of hide-and-go-seek. And this Sun. Jan. 22 at 10 p.m. you can watch as Charleston residents Christina Zapolski and Matt Sundberg are hunted.
The show follows nine groups of two “fugitives” as they attempt to stay off the grid and escape skilled investigators who are pursuing them with top-notch tracking technology. Fugitives must remain in a 100,000-square-mile area of the southeastern United States and evade Command Center investigators and “Hunters” in the field for 28 days. If teams can remain calm in this (unnecessarily, we think) stressful and self-imposed manhunt, they will walk away with $250,000. It’s a mission fit for a mastermind, attempted by reality TV contestants. Cue the insanity.
Zapolski, the former Miss South Carolina USA, and her real estate agent fiancé believe they have what it takes to elude the country’s most extensive tracking technology and techniques. On paper, their chances don’t look good; CBS’s website lists “relies on her parents for help” and “mama’s boy” as the couple’s respective character traits.
“Being on the run with Christina was unbelievable. We really had to rely on each other and work as a team — it was us against the world,” says Sundberg. The couple decided that there was no better way to test their relationship than by leaving everything behind and living as fugitives on the run. Totally normal.
The production crew was very hands-off, which led to authentic emotions. Christina and Matt admitted that they became incredibly paranoid, fearing that there was a hidden or disguised Hunter around every corner. “We really were in the mind of a fugitive,” says Zapolski.
But Hunted’s agenda is about more than simply scaring contestants. By abandoning their cellphones and personal belongings, the fugitives on the show will discover how reliant they are on technology. Even scarier, Zapolski and Sundberg realized that investigators knew their habits, possible hiding spots, and strategic moves just from dissecting their social media accounts. Zapolski says, “It makes you think about your own security and safety, and how easily anyone can access your personal information.”
Surely, Hunted flexes U.S. investigatory muscles in order to show viewers how easily professionals can find them. We can’t help but wonder whether this is meant to make us feel safe from criminals, or feel like criminals ourselves.
Questioning aside, it will be interesting to see what it takes to elude Hunters for 28 days. Zapolski added, “As a millennial, I knew I was dependent on social media, but I think seeing this on TV will open a lot of eyes. Viewers will ask themselves, ‘Would I be able to do this?’”