Everyone loves a reboot - right up until they don't, and from what I've seen it seems pretty unlikely that Fear Factor is going to break that mould.
The much loved and highly controversial reality series returned to our screens on Friday and I get it - the (albeit warped) nostalgia is real. I used to watch every episode of Fear Factor with my mum and we would cringe and laugh at the idiots who thought it would be fun to have tarantulas crawling all over their faces and drink animal sperm. Whatever you're into, right?
• Premium - Top five columns of 2019: Siena Yates
• Premium - Siena Yates: The only reality dating show that takes love seriously
• Premium - Siena Yates: Netflix's Win the Wilderness has a sucker punch of a twist
• Premium - Siena Yates: Tales from the Loop, a perfect show to watch in lockdown
Now, nearly 15 years after the first series was axed, it's back and I have to admit I was low-key jazzed to see an old favourite return, especially now that ol' mate Joe Rogan has been replaced by the world's friendliest rapper, Ludacris, as host.
I'd watch Ludacris watch paint dry. I love the guy. But despite this being Fear Factor's second reboot - yes, this is the second time they've tried to revive it from the reality TV afterlife - Ludacris is pretty much the only thing that's new and I hate to say it, but that's not enough.
Somehow, right down to the stereotypical contestants, nothing about the show has changed enough to matter and, given it hit its peak in the early 2000s along with MySpace, body glitter and frosted tips, that's most certainly not a good thing.
They made some small, mostly superficial changes to the format; it used to comprise some type of physical challenge, a mental challenge (usually involving eating gross stuff or handling creepy crawlies) and then a final challenge where they'd basically do a Hollywood movie stunt.
Now those three levels still exist, only in a different order and with new names. Wild, I know.
"Beat the Beast" is the snakes and spiders and cockroaches (oh, my!) level, then there's "Face Your Fear" which is supposedly tailored to the contestants' worst fears, and "Final Fear", which is the stunt level.
What I will say is the Face Your Fear level is actually a really cool idea. If they did a full overhaul on Fear Factor based solely on this premise I would 100 per cent buy in.
But it doesn't quite work out when producers have to find a fear all six contestants happen to have in common and, in the pilot episode at least, the challenge ended up being a bit of a reach as a result.
Friday's contestants didn't necessarily share a fear, more just an inability to trust. So their challenge was to trust their teammate (in this case, their flatmate) to guide them through a minefield of mousetraps with the knowledge that Ludacris had bribed their teammate with $1000 to steer them wrong.
Was it amusing to watch the first team immediately unravel? Yep. Do trust issues qualify as a reality TV-worthy fear? I'm gonna say no to that one.
And that's the crux. Fear Factor is only good when there is actual fear involved.
Episode two cottons on to this fact and presents us with people who are genuinely terrified of the things they face - particularly when they face their shared claustrophobia in round two - and when the stakes feel higher, viewing becomes a lot more interesting.
But all that assumes people will stick around after what was ultimately a disappointing pilot and unless people are in it for the nostalgia, that's a bit of an ask.
Then there's the same old controversy that's always plagued Fear Factor, and that's the mistreatment of animals, for which the show has come under fire from the American Humane Association and animal rights groups around the world. This particular reboot sparked a Care2 petition nearly 100,000 signatures strong, calling for the cancellation of the show.
I don't know what to say about a show which, after nearly 20 years of controversy, hasn't changed even this one element, when change is clearly necessary - and mistreating animals and insects is not.
Here's the thing; if anyone has a legitimate fear of spiders or snakes, just putting them in a room with one is torture enough - I should know, I've slept on the couch many times because there was a cockroach in my room and it just seemed easier to let him have it.
So here's my pitch: "Fear Factor: Face Your Fears", where a contestant faces a series of their deepest, darkest fears in order to win a cash prize. Small spaces, being stuck underwater or trapped in a burning vehicle, getting locked in a room with a bunch of tarantulas between you and the door.
There used to be a series called My Extreme Animal Phobia where people confronted their fears - including one man who was inexplicably terrified of puppies, bless - and it was actually this really cathartic, therapeutic experience for many of them.
So why not take the best element of Fear Factor (the actual fear), minus the most controversial part (the mistreatment of animals) and add a chance for people to challenge themselves, grow and win a prize at the same time, rather than covering someone in cockroaches for shock value and crowning a winner based on who can complete a controlled Hollywood stunt the fastest?
It's 2020. It's bad enough we're being fed twice-reheated reality TV leftovers at all; the least they could do is make some changes that make a difference.
Like the old saying goes: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."
Fear Factor screens on TVNZ2, Fridays, 7pm