007: Road To A Million (2023) Season 1 Review – A Reality Show With A Licence To Thrill

 

Season 1

 

 

Episode Guide

Episode 1 – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – 3.5.5
Episode 3 – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – 3.5/5
Episode 6 – 3.5/5
Episode 7 – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – 3.5/5

007: Road To A Million, we have been expecting you. 

When Amazon acquired the rights to MGM and all of its properties (including the 007 movies) in March 2022, we all knew a spin-off to the Bond franchise would arrive eventually. 

This first spin-off is a reality series which throws 9 pairs of ordinary people into the world of James Bond with the incentive of a £100 million cash prize. Of course, as you’d expect from a show taking its inspiration from the Bond movies, winning the money is no easy task.

The contestants are forced to leave their comfort zones and do things that the superspy does before eating breakfast. Scaling gargantuan rock faces, diving into the depths of the ocean, outwitting snakes and crocodiles, and climbing across the exterior of a speeding train are just some of the challenges awaiting the participants of this exciting show. 

The daredevil adventures they undertake aren’t the only things fans will recognize from the Bond movies. As we watch the contestants risking life and limb for a chance at fortune, we hear familiar themes from the Bond franchise play out in the background, with recognizable tracks from John Barry, Monty Norman, and David Arnold.

Also recognizable from the movies are the locations where the challenges take place, including Jamaica (Dr No), Italy (For Your Eyes Only), and Switzerland (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). There are other elements from the franchise that are also integrated into the show, including gadgets, casinos, and even the Aston Martin DB5 which comes complete with the modifications that we see in the films. 

At the centre of everything is Brian Cox as The Controller. He’s the person who sends the contestants racing around the globe as they look for clues and take on missions that will bring them one step closer to a chance at fortune. With his smug exterior and coldly calculating tone of voice, Cox’s character is more of a Bond villain in the style of Blofeld or Scaramanga than someone like M, though we are never explicitly told whether he’s meant to be a baddie or a fictional head of a secret spy organization. 

Not every pair of contestants gets a lot of screen time. There are some who never get past the first couple of challenges, so they are quickly eliminated from the competition. We assume they weren’t thrown into a pool of sharks or crocodiles as a consequence of their loss, but this being a Bond spin-off, we guess anything is possible! 

Of those participants that we do spend the most time with, there are a few that particularly stand out. These include James and Joey Bone, aka The Bone Brothers, two siblings from South London; Kamara and Josh, a married couple also from London; and James and Sam, a father and son from Belfast. The reason why they stand out is because they are in this competition for more than just the prize money.

James and Joey take part in the show for the once-in-a-lifetime adventures they can experience together. Kamara and Josh are on the show because it’s a way for Josh to regain his self-confidence after a brutal attack years before left him traumatized and fearful. And for James and Sam, the journey they take is a way for them to bond and spend more time together, as James is away from home for half the year working offshore on oil rigs. 

These reasons for participating make the series more emotionally engaging than it would have been otherwise. Watching Josh climb to the top of a volcano alone, pushing himself to conquer his fear of heights and trauma-induced anxiety, is genuinely moving because we know how important the trek is to him.

Similarly, seeing James and Joey enjoying one another company’s while doing extraordinary things, such as jumping onto the side of a moving train, is heartwarming, because they’re spending valuable time together as father and son and creating memories that will go some way towards repairing the void in their relationship.

For contestants like these, the prize money is insignificant in the grander scheme of things, so we know that even if they lose the game, they will still win something that money can’t buy. Still, the need to win the prize pushes them ever forward as they travel around the globe in search of the silver briefcases that contain the questions they need to answer. 

Getting hold of these briefcases is no easy task as our contestants need to push themselves physically and mentally to acquire them. In the very first episode, Kamara has to climb up and along an enormous crane to get the briefcase, while Josh waits for his courageous wife hundreds of feet below. Later in the series, the two of them have to enter a crocodile enclosure to get the briefcase, which may well scare the living daylights out of you when the crocs stare at them with mouths open wide.

The journies each pair undertake provide everything you would want from a James Bond-style adventure and are somehow even more exciting than the films because the people taking part aren’t superspies but everyday folk that we can relate to. 

So, if you’re a fan of James Bond or survival reality shows in general, you should enjoy 007: Road To A Million. It’s a genuinely gripping series with all the ingredients you’d expect from a 007 movie, so can be recommended.

And as the ending seems to set up a second series, you might want to apply to be on the programme yourself if you have ever wanted to experience the life of the super spy. After all, you only live twice…erm… once, right? 


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  • Verdict - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
7.5/10

2 thoughts on “007: Road To A Million (2023) Season 1 Review – A Reality Show With A Licence To Thrill”

  1. Hey Jim, you’re right actually. Some of the questions were rather unfair considering the contestants had to do a lot to actually get given a question. I think scenarios where they face Bond like traps would be far more appropriate. It could be worth pushing that on forums linked to the TV show in the hope that somebody from Amazon reads them.

    Lee

  2. I like the concept, but I hate that each challenge ends with a trivia question. Some of the questions are just ridiculous. Either the space where the question is asked should provide clues; or, scrap the trivia and make it an escape room challenge. Actually, I like the escape room challenge. You could set it up similar to scenes in which Bond was to be killed by one of his enemies… like the laser table, or a slowly retracting floor. And to escape the contestants have to perform a sequence of events like an escape room. The way it is now, you could scrap the fluff around getting the question… no one fails that…and just give them the trivia questions. The escape room challenge would be more to keeping with the whole Bond theme and would require skill rather than a guessing game.

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