Sunday, August 13, 2017

REVIEW. M-Net's My Kitchen Rules SA is a reality drama dish you've seen on TV before - but it's well worth a second helping.

The first local season of My Kitchen Rules South Africa starting on M-Net (DStv 101) this evening (Sunday) at 18:00 is from a particular type of reality drama dish menu you've ordered and eaten from on television before - but it's well worth a second helping.

On Friday M-Net gave 3 journalists, including this TV critic, an exclusive sneak-peak screening of the first episode of My Kitchen Rules South Africa with the 18 episodes of a diverse group of couples that will be plated for viewers from M-Net's TV kitchen in the coming weeks.

My Kitchen Rules South Africa most closely resembles BBC South Africa's successful Come Dine With Me South Africa, except that here its couples instead of individuals taking turns to host each other.

There's also the two judges - David Higgs and J'Something - both pulling out chairs to tuck into whatever the competitors are whipping up in their respective kitchens and adding their scores to the overall tallies.

The first episode set in Bloemfontein with the first two contestants - the "Bloem Besties" Liz and Leanne - has a slightly washed out and coppertone appearance which is probably due to the Free State winter landscape in which it was filmed.

The show makes excellent use of establishing and panoramic aerial drone shots, and of introducing the first 5 couples who will be competing. Also great is the framing the various couples as they dish about the dishes.

Some small technical mistakes will probably go unnoticed by ordinary viewers, like the plastic tubing of David Higgs' earpiece being visible (and moving to different sides from one moment to the next due to editing!).

A "countdown clock" is introduced but never really appears enough, or counts down with enough visible screen time to accentuate the drama build-up.

The lighting is remarkably good given that it's being filmed in contestants' real homes and David Higgs as the strict, more Simon Cowell-ish judge and J'Something as the more smiley face Paula Abdul-type makes for a well-balanced, good-cop/bad-cop judging duo.

Clever one-liners in My Kitchen Rules SA ranging from "Sandton kugels in Bloem","the rocket is great" and "literally us on a plate" makes the show a delight - as does the unexpected and emotional - reaction from several of the contestants.

Get ready for tears and drama with one contestant literally starting to shake in her boots.

Several of the contestants gossip in whispers as they talk about each other - you can still hear fine, but they will hopefully loosen up and speak louder as the series progresses.

Like Come Dine With Me SA the contestants all get an amount of money and have to come up with their own menus.

In My Kitchen Rules SA they however have to come up with a name for their "pop-up restaurant" as well and decorate accordingly.

For the next five weeks the first 5 pairs of contestants have to create their instant restaurants in their homes where their food is scored by their rival contestants as well as the two judges.

At the end of this round M-Net viewers will say goodbye to the pair with the lowest overall score.

After that viewers will meet more pairs who will go through the same process and from there the action moves over the the My Kitchen Rules SA headquarters in Johannesburg where several challenges will determine which home cooks will continue to whip up more delights.

The winning pair wins a big prize that gets announced in the first episode of My Kitchen Rules SA.

My Kitchen Rules SA on M-Net is not to hot and not too cold but just right as an entertaining Sunday evening bowl of new local reality TV porridge.