Most makeover reality shows are unabashedly focused on changing people only on the surface, whether with a diet plan, a new hairdo, or a new house.
It's refreshing that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's new TNT series, Wake Up Call, which premieres at 9 p.m. Friday, seems so different, focusing instead on improving the life of the whole person. Seems is the operative word: While one early episode is about an at-risk teenager who turns his life around, another is merely about an obese high school football coach's attempts to lose weight.
Johnson, a would-be NFL player turned pro wrestler and action-movie star (Hercules, Pain & Gain), takes on the role of holistic life coach in Wake Up Call. Each week, he helps turn a life around.
In a particularly solid early episode, Johnson helps Florida teen Terrell Moore get a step closer to his dream of becoming a mixed-martial-arts champ. The episode opens not with a pep talk, but with an intervention - Terrell, who never finished eighth grade, is on the road to ruin.
His father abandoned him years ago, and his mother is in prison. Given a chance to live with his uncle, Terrell ditches school, does drugs, and gets into fights with authority figures.
Johnson, who fell afoul of the law when he was a teen, invites a group of Terrell's teachers and family members to tell the teen how he is throwing away his life. They tell him he has let them down.
The movie star then introduces the chastened Terrell to a team of world-class MMA trainers, who will give him free training if he cleans up his act and goes back to school to earn his GED.
The weight-loss episode also opens with an intervention: Javier, a Florida high school football coach who weighs 410 pounds, is confronted by his friends and colleagues, who tell him he must lose weight. The rest of the episode is a tedious retread of other reality programs.
TNT has not made an other episodes available for review, so it's unclear how the season will unfold.
Wake Up Call
Premieres 9 p.m. Friday on TNT.