Image of contestants on the YouTube series Sequester

‘Sequester’ Is the Best Reality Competition Show Streaming on YouTube

The online social strategy series offers the spirited drama and tactical alliances that reality TV fans crave.
January 7, 2021
6 mins read

“Trust us, trust no one” is the motto for the online show dubbed “Sequester.” At first glance, it doesn’t seem like your typical reality show. The cast isn’t made up of pretty Instagram models just there for the cameras, and it’s currently only available for streaming on YouTube. Instead, the show features expert production techniques that any viewer would be impressed by, with a dedicated, diverse group of people eager to play the game.

“Sequester” is an online social strategy game created by former “Big Brother” contestant Audrey Middleton. The show is in the same spirit as “Big Brother,” as well as other hit reality shows like “Survivor.”

“Sequester” follows a house of contestants who are pitted against each other through numerous voting elimination rounds. The final two competitors have to plead their case to the jury of eliminated contestants, who then vote for the winner.

On the surface, you may think that it’s just some weird fan version of “Big Brother” and “Survivor.” You wouldn’t be entirely wrong. After all, many fans of these two reality giants make their own adaptations of the original games. For “Survivor,” there are numerous fan-made college versions of the show. For “Big Brother,” there are also many knockoff varieties, such as “Big Brother Columbus.”

At first, “Sequester” seemed no different. But the key is that “Sequester” had an interesting evolution. The series first started out as an online chat game that would play out virtually and over only a few hours. The creator, Audrey Middleton, however, saw potential in making a real-life version of the game that would be edited like a normal show.

Therefore, as a huge “Big Brother” and “Survivor” fan, Middleton was inspired by their premises and implemented the best parts of both shows, and successfully created a great reality game series.

Fans of “Survivor” and “Big Brother” often complain about a lack of drama or game-breaking twists. However, “Sequester” gives viewers the chance to see a new type of game with plenty of strategy and theatrics in 45 to 60-minute episodes.

Unlike other social strategy shows, where the gameplay often slows to a crawl, the format of “Sequester” has contestants standing on thin ice throughout the entire game. The series throws the contestants a twist every round that shakes up alliances, causes mistrust and exposes true allegiances.

Sounds simple enough. But one other factor of “Sequester” that separates it from the other reality shows is in the “battle match.” Usually, when a person is voted out of “Survivor” or “Big Brother,” they stay out. Sometimes there are chances for competitors to get back in the game, but across both shows’ histories, the returning contestants don’t do much to shake up the games.

In “Sequester,” however, when a person is voted out, they can challenge someone still in the game to a “do or die” battle match. If the eliminated contestant wins, they return to the game while the loser is out for good. This format discourages those annoying, big alliances that plague “Big Brother” and “Survivor,” as contestants in “Sequester” have to be careful of who to vote out; they might challenge them to a battle match and become in danger of elimination.

Also, the challenges are often gender and strength neutral and can be won by anyone regardless of physical prowess. This is important, because in “Survivor” and “Big Brother,” the competitions often favor physically inclined competitors. Thus, gender and strength neutral challenges make the game fairer.

Furthermore, the format of having some sort of voting twist every round adds a lot of drama and strategic maneuvering. For example, in the Season 4 episode titled “Olive Branch,” competitors are each partnered with another person. If one contestant in a pair is voted out, so is their partner, even if their partner didn’t get any votes. This forces people who aren’t usually aligned to work together to save each other.

Another surprise occurs in the episodes titled “Date Night,” which appear in the show’s second and third seasons, to shake up the game’s social side. This twist works like a speed dating game. Contestants are individually paired with another contestant to talk strategy for five-minute intervals. Once the five minutes are up, each person is paired with another contestant to swap info on what they learned during their own sessions.

What makes this obstacle effective is that contestants can’t check in with their alliances about who to vote for. Instead, they have to trust the info of each individual person they get the chance to talk to.

It’s these twists that make “Sequester” a much more fast-paced game than the main reality show heavyweights. Each episode is sure to be packed with strategic gameplay and entertaining drama.

Now in its fourth season, the show is slowly gaining a larger audience. In terms of production, “Sequester” has improved immensely. The first two seasons were filmed on a relatively low-quality budget, but fan support has allowed the show to drastically increase in production value. Even though the show premieres new episodes on YouTube, the quality is great enough that it could be on any network program.

All in all, “Sequester” is a superbly entertaining show that should be watched by many, especially by fans of other reality television series. With complex strategy, intense drama and great contestants, “Sequester” has it all and would be a great addition to your binge list.

Alex Luna, University of California, Berkeley

Writer Profile

Alex Luna

University of California, Berkeley

Student at UC Berkeley currently majoring in English. Lover of all things anime, literature, sports and debating the possibility of parallel universes.

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