Series 7: The Contenders (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Series 7: The Contenders (2001)



Critic Consensus: Boasting no big-name stars, Series 7 is surprisingly well-acted. Its timing is impeccable, with its dark humor casting shadows over the enjoyment and popularity of today's reality-TV shows.

Movie Info

In this take-off on reality television programs (shot on digital video), a show entitled "The Contenders" has just selected six people at random for the high-rated series. Their mission: to assassinate one another until there is one lone survivor. Among the contestants are Dawn (Brooke Smith), the reigning champion who claims ten kills in two tours thus far -- and who also happens to be eight months pregnant; Tony (Michael Kaycheck), a blue-collar family man; Connie (Marylouise Burke), an emergency-room nurse who strongly believes in God; Franklin (Richard Venture), an aging conspiracy theorist; Lindsay (Merritt Wever), an average 18-year old high schooler with a set of interfering parental units; and Jeff (Glenn Fitzgerald), an artist dying of testicular cancer who also happens to be the long-lost love of champ Dawn (which is why the show's producers forced them to reunite under such odd circumstances). "The Contenders" must learn to outwit each other and create effective diversions in order to protect themselves, particularly Dawn, who is fighting for not only herself, but her unborn child as well. Series 7 is the debut feature from screenwriter Daniel Minahan (I Shot Andy Warhol).

Watch it now


Brooke Smith
as Dawn Lagarto
Marylouise Burke
as Connie Trabucco
Glenn Fitzgerald
as Jeffrey Norman
Michael Kaycheck
as Tony Reilly
Richard Venture
as Franklin James
Merritt Wever
as Lindsay Berns
Tanny McDonald
as Dawn's Mother
Mark Woodbury
as Dairy Mart Clerk
Tom Gilroy
as Dawn's Cameraman
Robin Borden
as Doria Lookalike No. 1
Lauren Ward
as Doria Lookalike No. 2
Aydin Bengisu
as Jeff Lookalike No. 1
Josh Mosby
as Jeff Lookalike No. 2
Babo Harrison
as Dawn Lookalike
Will Arnett
as Narrator
Adena Shea Loomis
as Ultra Sound Baby
Pamela Wehner
as Lottery Spokesmodel
John Ventimiglia
as Dispatch Operator
View All

Critic Reviews for Series 7: The Contenders

All Critics (83) | Top Critics (30)

A gritty, disturbing and very funny satire that points the finger as much at its audience as those who make 'reality TV.'

June 22, 2001 | Full Review…

Ends up straddling an uneasy divide between genuinely edgy artistry and bluntly indulgent bluster, leaving us uncertain whether it's the television show portrayed or the film itself that's the real turn-off.

June 7, 2001

A sporadically amusing but overambitious first feature that would have worked better as a short. Still, it provides a respite from blockbuster fare and a much-needed poke in the eye for reality TV junkies.

June 1, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Often funny, sometimes unsettling satire.

May 21, 2001 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Series 7 casts us adrift in a contempo world ruled by gladiatorial zeal and bloodless emperors.

May 14, 2001 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…


April 6, 2001 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Series 7: The Contenders


Hilarious! I love this film. They quicky push you to the edge of what Reality TV can be..then add a love story too. This film holds a mirror up to the American Culture..and reveals some pretty ugly things.

Hogans Hero
Hogans Hero

Super Reviewer

Little known biting satire on the horror of 'reality' TV which takes the format to its natural conclusion. Deserves a wide audience.

Gordon Anderson
Gordon Anderson

Super Reviewer

A caustic and darkly funny jab at reality TV. It's amazing how much this looks like the real thing. Don't listen to the narrator- he lies to you. I love the way the final show seems to manifactured, that the truth almost seems irrelevant in the face of such perfect entertainment. This not only skewers reality TV, but phoniness in general. This is the best parody of reality TV I have ever seen.

Emily Armstrong
Emily Armstrong

Super Reviewer

Series 7: The Contenders Quotes

News & Features