Student-produced version of the Amazing Race airs online and is equally amazing

This fall, one venerable reality series is missing from the prime-time TV schedule: The Amazing race, which doesn’t return until mid-season. But if you’re desperate for a fix, students at Ithaca College have produced two seasons of a TV show called The Race that was inspired by the CBS series and is an excellent substitute.

In fact, while the show doesn’t have quite the scale or culture shock of the CBS version, it’s frequently easy to forget this is not a multi-million dollar production airing on CBS. The editing and music create tension, the establishing shots are striking; some of the contestants are likable, others not so much. Even the challenges are impressive, and some could easily have been challenges on the CBS version. In many ways, it’s reminiscent of early seasons of The Amazing Race, which were rougher around the edges but had more depth.

This race may not have the word in its title, but it is absolutely amazing. It’s no surprise that it required a crew of 50 for the first season and 70 for the second. The show is produced by Pete Berg, an Ithaca College graduate, who says on his web site that he “edited over 200 hours of footage into 9 hour-long episodes” for the two seasons.

The first season of The Race aired this past spring, and its four episodes are now viewable online. A second, five-episode season has now been produced, and its first episode is online; the show itself airs starting Sept. 17 on Ithaca College’s ICTV, which streams online. There’s also a video podcast so you won’t miss an episode.

The Race and The Race 2 [ICTV]