Here are two Food Network shows that we've been sampling (damn you, Food Network -- it's so easy to get sucked in by your shows) and one has made it onto our Tivo SeasonPass(tm) list and the other has not.
In each episode of Dinner: Impossible Chef Robert Irvine is assigned a near-impossible culinary task. Like, make 7000 hors d'oeuvres for 4000 guests in 18 hours. I think a commonality in many of the shows I really like is skilled people doing a task well, and Chef Robert really delivers on that ground. Tivo thumbs up.
Throwdown with Bobby Flay might seem to fall into the same category: each week a cooking expert is told that they're having a Food Network profile filmed, but really Bobby Flay is going to challenge them in their area of specialty. Flay is rarely an expert in the same field (wedding cakes, for example, were very much out of his expertise) and there's some interesting stuff as he researches the style in his test kitchen. And neither Flay nor the show is at all mean-spirited. But nonetheless, these folks are set up to believe that they're simply being honored, when suddenly a famous chef shows up to challenge them. One episode we saw culminated at a woman's birthday party where she thought she was going to be cooking for her friends (and the cameras) and then she was faced with Bobby Flay and a guest judge of her cooking. We don't like innocent people getting suckered around here. Tivo thumbs down.