The Climb Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online
What great athletes do is frequently described as art, but rock climbing had long seemed like a sport very close to art for art’s sake. There was no payoff, no applause, plenty of pain and no tangible point. Which was the point. Making it into a competition would have seemed contrary to the spirit of the thing.
That was long ago. Chris Sharma, one of the most famous climbers in the world and an engine of money in professional rock climbing, is the co-host of “The Climb,” an eight-part series that makes a maverick pastime conform to standard formulas, which is in many ways symptomatic of the medium: Competition provides narrative; TV needs narrative. And it is engaging enough, if you ignore the rampant banalities in the color commentary. There are 10 contestants, a large cash prize, and an equally valuable endorsement deal (with “my lifelong clothing sponsor,” whom Mr. Sharma happens to mention a little more than three minutes into episode 1). There’s also a sense from the characters that the feelings they express on the ground, which reflect the standard devices of competitive programming—instant camaraderie, indifference to winning, insights that are faux-philosophical—may actually be as real as a cliff face.
Jason Momoa, the actor, climber and longtime friend of Mr. Sharma’s, is the first thing we see, shirtless in Mallorca, Spain, but he shows up only about once an episode, at least for the first three installments (the only ones made available in time for review). The effort to make “The Climb” a human-interest story is noble but may be misguided: The people involved are devoted to a sport that is highly perilous and largely solitary. “I’m not used to climbing in front of other people,” says one young woman, uncomfortably, by which time it may already have dawned on the viewer that having a group of new friends howling “Whooo!” every time a climber makes a few inches of progress might not do much for his or her concentration. At the same time, there is a vicarious thrill to be had when someone crests a seemingly impossible surface, even if, like me, you wouldn’t be doing this in a hundred years, or for $100,000 in cash (which is what the climbers are after).
Professional climber Meagan Martin shares the hosting and guide duties with Mr. Sharma, providing technical information and critiquing the climbers’ efforts in places with such fun names as Pais de las Bicicletas. The events range from “deep-water soloing” off the Mallorcan atoll to “sport climbing” on the limestone cliffs of Catalonia and “bouldering” in Sant Llorenc de Montgai, Spain, a country with a wealth of rock-climbing destinations, all of which are breathtaking—both aesthetically and in their potential for crippling injury. TV sports are hardly in short supply, but “The Climb” is novel, inasmuch as there is a great deal of failure involved—the game, such as it has become, is won not just by summiting a particular wall of rock but by how fast one does it and, if you don’t make it to the top, how far you got. It’s actually heartening to see a TV competition in which skilled and sometimes agonizing effort is put into something without it resulting in instant victory (see: gratification). What may be disheartening for some is that the rules of nature still apply: Regardless of how willing the spirit may be, climbing is mostly about the flesh—younger, stronger, faster; everyone takes chances in “The Climb,” some more than others.