Often my gripe with reality TV is that it's lacking the reality aspect, but that's certainly not the case with my new obsession SAS: Who Dares Wins where they "genuinely don't give a f*** if you make it to the end or not".
The show lands on TVNZ 2 tomorrow but I've had a sneak peek and I daresay it might have everything I want out of a reality series.
It follows 25 men and women as they undergo a concentrated version of the Special Air Service selection process, cramming the most TV-worthy parts of a gruelling 6-month training regime - which, by the way, has a 90 per cent failure rate - into just two weeks.
There are intense physical challenges (including a lot of trying not to get hypothermia in the near-freezing ocean in Scotland and abseiling down cliff faces) as well as brutal mental challenges, including one episode which promises to give the would-be recruits a taste of interrogation training.
What this translates to as a reality series is the psychological game of Fear Factor , the how-long-can-they-hack-it game of Survivor , pushing the physical limits like in Ninja Warrior , the emotional confrontation and healing of Dr Phil (ok, that might be a bit of a reach, but I can explain), and the general camaraderie of 25 people going through hell together a la every reality series ever.
Now back to that Dr Phil reference: It's obviously not as in-depth but here, you've got people dealing with abuse, trauma, gang life, prison life, anger issues and deep-seated anxiety, and when you're in a situation like SAS selection, all of that gets dredged up.
Recruits are sleep-deprived, starving and physically pushed to the limit each day so there are a lot of tears, but there are also a lot of hugs, second chances and people opening up about their demons in order to move past them which is beautiful to see, particularly in an environment which you would assume to be harsh and unforgiving.
The other thing that's important to note about this series is that it used to be for men only, right up until last year when the actual SAS opened the door to female recruits, at which point the production followed suit.
And let me tell you there is no special treatment.
The women have to carry the same loads, endure the same psychological torture and take the same punches as the men - literally. Last year's season made headlines in the UK after a woman was "brutally beaten" by a male contestant in the show's one-on-one boxing challenge.
While at times it can be difficult to watch, it's also extraordinarily refreshing to see women kicking ass on the same playing field as men without being underestimated, belittled or hypersexualised for it.
It's also important that recruits can opt-out at any time without judgement or shame and they have access to a medic and psychological help at all times.
But mostly it's just truly amazing what people will go through to prove something to themselves and test their limits, and SAS gives you that insight as well as the good ol' fashioned entertainment value of watching people do things that make you go, "why the hell would you even sign up for that?"
And at just six episodes for the season, during which recruits drop like flies and it's far too easy to pick favourites, it's an easy and addictive watch to boot.