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.

Series 7: The Contenders Videos

Series 7: The Contenders Photos

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).
R (for strong violent content and language)
Comedy , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

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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
Nada Despotovich
as Michelle
Donna Hanover
as Sheila
Alex Yershov
as Nathan
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
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Series 7: The Contenders

All Critics (80) | Top Critics (26)

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

Full Review… | June 22, 2001
Seattle Times
Top Critic


Full Review… | April 6, 2001
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Series 7 is clever, hip filmmaking, admirable for its tenacious faithfulness to the world it creates.

Full Review… | March 23, 2001
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

'Reality' notwithstanding, the performances in this film are uniformly good, and Brooke Smith as Dawn is better than that.

March 21, 2001
The New Republic
Top Critic

It's as funny as you could reasonably expect without Christopher Guest being involved in the project.

Full Review… | March 16, 2001
Washington Post
Top Critic

It seduces us until, damn our black hearts, we've come to really care who wins.

Full Review… | March 16, 2001
Washington Post
Top Critic

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.

Keysha H
Keysha H

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

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