The landscape of reality TV is littered with fame-seeking prima donnas and shallow egomaniacs, whose often deplorable antics have left many viewers cold to the genre. Even if you normally dismiss reality TV as a soulless affair, you may want to take a look at The Moment. USA-TV’s uplifting and surprisingly involving new program, like Extreme Home Makeover before it, uses the genre as a force for good in the lives of average hard-working Americans. (Watch the first episode of The Moment on their website here.)

NFL star Kurt Warner, a Christian who is no stranger to second chances himself, hosts the program. The setup is simple: the families of decent (but struggling) persons submit their loved ones’ story of lost hopes and unfulfilled goals, and Warner gives them a shot to pursue their dream once again. I was sent two episodes to preview. The first (which is the premiere, airing tonight) finds a loving wife and mother, with a tragic past, given a shot to pursue her dream of being a photographer with Sports Illustrated. The second has a devoted father and husband, who had to abandon his ambition to drive for NASCAR in order to provide for his family, provided with the opportunity to train and try out.


Though Warner is a bit bland as an on-camera persona, he’s undeniably earnest; his gentle sincerity makes up for his lack of charisma, and one can’t help but like him. The real star of the show is the format: contestants leave their families for two weeks while undergoing sometimes grueling training with “best-of-the-best” mentors, then reunite with their families and take a once-in-a-lifetime shot at their dreams. From an entertainment perspective, the fact that no outcome is guaranteed adds a genuine factor of suspense to the show.


Best of all, The Moment is genuinely heartwarming, with emotional beats that feel more legitimate and less staged than other reality programs. Emphasis, time and again, is placed on the love, support, and importance of families. In pursuit of their dreams, contestants must overcome issues like pride, past traumas, and fear. Both of the episodes I watched inspired me to be more thoughtful and caring towards others and to rise to my full potential. As entertainment that promotes virtue and holds viewer interest, The Moment is worth making time for.


For more on The Moment, please visit the official site.

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