Sequester is the Show of Social Quarantine

If you are unaware of what Sequester is, it’s a half reality show/half online series. Originally, Sequester was an online show where players would communicate via Skype/Hangouts, and it was a deep niche internet show. Despite being an internet series, Sequester was able to get multiple former reality stars to play like Tiffany Rousso (BB18), Michelle Meyer (BB18), Ramses Soto (BB19), Jay Mitchell (The Challenge), Judd Daugherty (BB15), and many others. The ability to get some name recognition allowed for Sequester to get played live in a rented location where they gathered an eclectic group of players, mixing up reality TV fans and reality stars. After filming, they were able to edit their truncated time together into an actual season of reality television with confessionals, twists, jury houses, voice-overs, and even fan interaction through the TV Party App.

The person who created Sequester is Big Brother 17 HouseGuest, Audrey Middleton. Before she appeared on Big Brother, Audrey was a huge reality television and Online Reality Game enthusiast. While her gameplay on Big Brother wasn’t stellar, the girl has a brilliant mind in terms of what makes a fun and creative reality competition. Sequester is a reality show competition for fans of reality tv shows, and that’s the reason why it stands out. It doesn’t have the immediate widespread appeal or a large cash prize, but it’s a game people play because they love to compete and they love to get into the drama/politics of it all.

Before I go on this long spiel where I celebrate Sequester’s brilliance, I want to note: Sequester is a bit hard to get into at first unless you are motivated and invested. I’m someone who watched an episode or two and never came back because it was a little bit all over the place and hard to grasp fully. I’m telling you this: once you invest in Sequester and get in the flow, it is one of the best reality competitions out there, and is competitive with shows with substantial production values. The moment it clicks for you, there is nothing better.

Now, I’m going to break down some of the things that make YouTube series of Sequester special/as good as it is:

THE EVER-CHANGING FORMAT

Sequester is unique in that you can never truly feel confident about a player’s game because your game in Sequester can end very quickly out of nowhere. If anything, the state of perpetual fear that your favorite player can get knocked out any moment puts you on edge.

On Sequester Season 2, the format at the start of the game was a player who gets voted out by the house (evicted similar to Big Brother), then gets to pick two players who face off in an elimination (similar to MTV’s The Challenge). It forces players to manage their relationships in such a way that they don’t want someone to know they are gunning for them in a vote, so that way they don’t get put in a face-off. Likewise, there is a redemption twist on Sequester, where if you’re not a strong player either, they may put you in the face-off as they think you’ll be easier to defeat in the battle back.

Sequester is a game that forces players to play the middle while also not coasting/floating. There is actually a challenge within Sequester, where players nominate who they think is floating in the game. Then those players are voted on by the eliminated players get to eliminate the player they view as a floater. Another excellent twist is for one elimination; the vote out format is: the player with the most even-numbered votes gets eliminated. In a game of deception, players have to politic and try to work out the math in the hope that something doesn’t go awry. As a fan of Big Brother and the Challenge, I sometimes feel like producers are winging it when it comes to twists/formats, and you never get that feeling with Sequester. Even though a particular twist might upset you, the game itself is so well-thought-out that you have to appreciate the effort put in by production.

THE CAST

Another element that makes Sequester stand out is its ability to mix former reality stars and regular newcomers seamlessly. I’ll be honest, when you’re watching a YouTube reality show with people who you have no clue who they are, it’s effortless to get lost or even fall asleep because you don’t get fully invested. As a person who multi-tasks when I watch most things, I could finish an episode not know a single person’s name after the fact. Sequester mixing in people you remember from previous shows gives it legitimacy and also raises the value of the unknown cast members. If you loved or hated Judd or Hamza (BB Can) on Big Brother, you’re going to care who they are aligning with and who they are feuding with.

These past players are also fascinating subjects to drop into a game like Sequester. Going guns blazing after someone will get your attention for an episode, but it would put a target on your back in the short and long-run. Yet, it would also be dumb not to try and vote them out early as many of them have prior relationships/interactions with other reality stars. Not to mention, watching people who are reality fans play a game and either fail or thrive is remarkable. Fans watch reality shows and are quick to be like, “I’d kill it on this show.” Once put in the environment, everything goes out of the window, and it’s the Hunter Games.

THE IMMUNITY CHALLENGES/FACE OFFS

If you’re looking for ornately designed challenges that are more about visuals than the actual competitor, watch Big Brother or the Challenge. Sequester is full of social strategy games, and challenges that you can do from home. Occasionally, they’ll make use of a pool, or value physicality, but a lot of these challenges are similar to “Minute to Win It” games. As someone who plays Online Reality Games, that’s awesome. I’ve played games where you have to go on Facebook Live and create a card pyramid in the fastest time possible, and when the game gets real, you sink or swim. One time, I had a simple flip cup challenge, and I practiced for two minutes, where every flip I went for was perfect. The challenge itself required me to flip 3 cups. I went live, and I fell apart. I was there four like four to five minutes flipping cups, and was having a meltdown.

These challenges may not be jumping off a building crazy, but they can test human emotion, fear, and mental fortitude very quickly. Not to mention, you can practice these challenges at home, apply to them to an online reality game you play or host, or at the next family cookout/game night. Anyone can become a Comp Beast in something like Sequester.

The LOS

LOS stands for Locus of Safety. It is a small device that acts as a hidden immunity idol/veto that can get played after a house/face-off vote. The LOS is a bit of an overpowered tool that makes for incredible television. You can make the argument that the fact it gives automatic individual immunity after the fact isn’t fair, but Sequester a whole, is an ever-changing game where you’re never truly safe. Playing the LOS essentially reveals the cracks in everyone’s game as now a new target is put on the chopping block, and the game itself explodes.

As much as I love Big Brother, it’s gotten a bit too easy to expect the unexpected. A LOS dramatically shifts the game, and even though it won’t always be positive, it creates a dynamic viewing experience.

The Fact It’s on YouTube and Has a Thriving Social Media Community

I’m generally two seasons behind on Survivor because I don’t have cable, and I don’t want to pay CBS All Access to only watch Survivor. I wait for Big Brother in the Summer, and then I binge whatever I missed from the past year, along with Young Sheldon. The fact I can watch an entire reality show on YouTube is perfect. I can stream it on my phone, laptop, or Smart TV. The best ability is availability, and the fact I can then go on Facebook and join the Sequester group where Audrey and former cast members will interact with you is fantastic.

Most of the time, it doesn’t feel like Big Brother cares about what we want, but Sequester caters to fans and gives us quality content.

RHAP Coverage

If you are a fan of Big Brother/Survivor, then you need to subscribe to Rob Has a Podcast on YouTube and I-Tunes. Their coverage of reality television gets done at such a high level, and their hosts have excellent non-pretentious attitudes. They welcome fans and talk about our favorites shows in a serious and fun fashion. With time to spare during off-seasons, they’ve begun covering Sequester, and it is a significant help as Sequester is a very specific game, so having these reality tv experts dissect it and champion it is a welcome-sight.

I’m hoping I can blog about it when Season 4 comes out down the line.

Sequester Celebrity Mini’s

Recently, Sequester has been killing it with the Mini competitions, wherein one night, players can play an entire night of Sequester online. On Friday the 17th, they had a Big Brother vs. Big Brother Canada Sequester mini that included legends like Ika Wong, Rachel Reilly, and Matt Hoffman, among others.

Audrey has it where no more than 3–4 players are allowed to be in the same video chat (room) at once, and it forces players to jump around and play the game. Watching blindsides within seconds happen live is unique and exciting. And not pre-meditated blindsides like on Big Brother. Plus, you add in the fact that people watching live get to comment and tweet about the show; it makes more like a sport than other reality shows that like to highlight their sports atmosphere.

The fact you can play Sequester

One of my best friends’ from Online Reality Games played in a Sequester Mini (shoutout Carlito), and two people who I have hosted/played with on Online Reality Games have been on the YouTube reality show. Sequester allows its Patreon Patrons, to get in on Sequester Mini’s, and there are applications to play on the website. Imagine if Survivor or Big Brother had something like this? Again, this a show who cares about their community and understands that without fans, they wouldn’t be able to accomplish their goals as a reality show/game.

WHERE TO START WATCHING?

Start with Season 2 of Sequester. Season 1 is good, but it’s a bit different. Similar to Big Brother, Sequester finds its groove in Season 2 and takes off from there. Again, the first couple of episodes are a bit rough as there are a ton of players, and you don’t fully understand the game, but once you get to like Episode 5, it’s hard to stop watching, and you care about everyone in the game.

There’s never been a better time alive to binge this show with everything going on.

25 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.