Shedding light on my 'Total Blackout' experience

Jaleel White, courtesy Syfy
I am quite the fan of Syfy's competition series Total Blackout, hosted by Jaleel White (Family Matters, Dancing with the Stars). The half-hour show, which premiered April 25, involves contestants tackling their anxieties in a series of challenges - all of which take place in complete, impenetrable darkness.

So far the show, which airs each Wednesday at 10 p.m., has been garnering some great responses (including 1.4 million viewers for the May 9 telecast). I genuinely enjoy watching people get freaked out (and love the YouTube vids when a monster pops out of nowhere). It's cathartic to let your fears take over within a controlled environment, and just plain funny to watch others get scared by the same things that scare us.

But my fondness for Total Blackout might also be slightly subjective. Back in October 2011, I was selected as a member of the press to take part in a special dry-run of the show concept in front of an audience of reporters watching via closed-circuit TV in another room. Along with a couple other reporters, Colin Ferguson of Eureka took part in the segment right before me. None of us had ever heard the name of the show before and didn't know what we were getting into. We had no contact with other contestants after they took part, and weren't even warned that we'd be thrust into the darkness. In fact, it wasn't until I went into the light that all was reveled.

Anyhow, I wanted to share Colin's and my experience as part of Total Blackout. Perhaps after you watch, you'll understand why one Syfy executive humorously said that watching me was "disturbing" and that I'd "never be a contestant on this show."

-Aaron Sagers

And here's a clip from the May 23 episode of Total Blackout: