There is, as with all things, an exception; Hell's Kitchen. Because let's face it, Gordon Ramsay is one hell of a character. He's just amusing to watch. He's the main reason I watch the show, and if it wasn't for him, well...I'm kinda considering dropping the show.
After four seasons, I've kinda clued in on all the tricks. The high-tension moments to go to commercials, exactly what the outcomes will be, etc. Oh no, he's doing something shocking! No wait, he's just merging the teams into one. Oh wait, the VIPs will just be the families of the remaining contestants. Why do they look so shocked?? Oh right, its just the big screens with the finalists heads on them.
There's easy enough ways to mix up those things, either what they are, do something different, or move them away. There's gotta be some way to make it seem less the same very year.
The challenges are the same year to year, for the most part, and the punishments might be different, but they've actually become LESS interesting. This year, almost all the punishments seemed to be to prep for service, or clean the restaraunt. Yawn. A lot of the fun in the show has gone away in that department. I suspect lawyers came along. Even the rewards seemed uninspired and uninteresting this year.
With each season, they've added more and more contestants, and the show just becomes too crowded. You don't get to know a lot of them in any major way, except for a few towards the end. A lot of the moments with Chef Ramsay are lost in the shuffle, pushed aside for the rest of the show. Which is pretty much a mistake. Gordon is the selling point of this show, you don't want to lose him in the mix. Even dinner services feel shortened, and have skipped showing us anything from dessert for two years now, with a few rare exceptions. They've tried making the show bigger and more sensational, but they're getting to be too big, IMO.
I've often thought of getting the first season DVDs, but thought how often would I really watch those? At least they're reedited to be less repetitious, since there are no commercials, and the swearing flows freely, but I've already seen the competition. Of course, I might be better off watching those again, if the show continues the way it's going. If HK is the same show over and over, why not just watch the good stuff? =)
Ah well, this is just me musing. Move along.