Just my views on your points.
1. Actually agree about wanting to see the "official" rules. Don't know if I want them spending the time specifically answering any problems that might arise. But on major ones, would be cool.
2. Well on casting, we all need to remember that (at least a lot of us) base our feelings on online conversations or people we view the episdoes with. But that is a small microcosm of the 8 million to 13 million people who on average have watched teh various seasons. And while it might be easy to say that certain teams aren't popular, based on the online forums (of which we are lucky if we represent one percent of one percent of the viewing audience). For example, many people onlne didn't care for David and Mary. Yet to the general audience (and specifically the older demo that CBS hits more then any other network) they were very popular.
We also have to remember that they are trying to get fans from all walks of lifes, age groups, racial backgrounds, religious groups, sexual orientations, ect. ANd becasue its a visual medium, a good number of the racers are going to be above average in looks.
As to ALL STARS, again the producers set out to cast not the best racers (of which most online fans would be upset with, since it would pretty much be all male young fit, or young fit couples), but to cast an ALL STARS series that reflects the typical makeup of a typical season. That means a minority team, a gay team, an older team, a couple all female teams, a couple all male teams, a team thats related to each other, a bickering team, an average Joe team, ect. They also had to deal witht he fact that some teams that they wanted for one reason or another didn't want to race again. Really the only new things they did was to exclude all fit young male teams and waiting a new team.
So I can understand (for the most part why certain teams were cast). Out of those types here would be my two or three choices out of those that fit that type of group and were at least above average racers).
A Black team: My choices would have been Frank & Margarita, Uchenna & Joyce or Chip & Kim.
A Gay team: My choice would have been Guidos or Danny & Oswald
An Evil Team: My choice would have been Guidos or Rob & Amber
A funny team: Ken & Gerard, Kevin or Drew or Jon & Al.
Female Teams: Dustin & Kandice, Charla & Mirna, Bowling Moms
Average Joes: Bowling Moms, Gus and Hera (I wouldn't have picked David & Mary, but they are popular, so I undestand why).
Bickering Couple: Colin & Christie (Couldn't), Kelly & Jon (supposesily backed out)
Family relation: Blake & Paige, Nancy & Emily or Charla & MIrna (Can understand, they have a lot of fans, I personally really dislike them).
General Couple: Kris & Jon, Kelly & Jon, Uchenna & Joyce
Male Teams: Eric & Jeremy, Rob & Brennan, Brian & Greg
Older Team: Teri & Ian, Guidos, Gretchen & Meredith
With the exception of John Vito & Jill (who I liked, but only race okay in season three), and how they excluded fit male teams and wanted a new one. I can uderstand every choice they made (even if I didn't want David & Mary who I felt never raced well. I might really dislike Charla & MIrna but htey were competitive in season 5).
3. THis is probably due to three factors. Having mobile casting calls over the country cost money and the production company isn't flush with cash. Also people in general casting are more exposed to people in larger filming areas (Which explains LA, NY and Miami). And finally I think people who travel to larger acting mecas are more likely to be the ones who submit tapes, hoping it will bring them a chance to get noticed. I am glad that they still manage to usually get three to five teams a season outside those three locals.
4. Amen. One of the problems with AR is how much it cost to due stunts (such as why they cut back on Fast Forwards). But their is nothing financial preventing a two hour season opener or closing episode. In fac they often have to edit something out of both. And as for ratings, they are usally higher on a two hour block. SO it doesn't make a lot of since, and on the opener it really helps us get to know knew teams.
5. I kind of agree. THe shows from season one to now has always had bboth really good, average and really dumb detours and roadblocks. Personally, there are several after India in season ten that I really enjoyed. But again with money an issue (not to mention after so many seasons its hard to show soemthing really cool thats new and doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
6. I actually like the mix. Why cabs can on occasion be a deciding factor (just as planes, car break downs, ect all outside a racer control). This last season on ALL Stars, cabs were only a real factor in one episode and in that episode we had two teams with problems one immediately corrected it by switching cabs, the other stuck with a cab that they were having problems with all day (so thats more a racing team not making a smart choice, then a real cab problem).
7. My single biggest compaint about AR. Now I understand why. The producers want a close finish. They don't want a team to steam role over all the others. Thats why they do things like plan a days events so limited flight option, why they typically ahve not one but at least two equilizers.
But I absolutely disagree, I think the finale leg should be the hardest one to win, that it should be based on the whole days tasks. But in fact its the easiest leg to win. Take season Nine for example, all the teams are equilized at the airport in Japan. But once the days events start, Eric & Jeremy get and complete all tasks and route markers first, except for the finale flag task. But thanks to the mid episode equilizer their lead goes to zero. Now they won fair and square by teh rules, but Eric & Jeremy actually (if you break it down) finished the days tasks faster. Now All Stars which some really didn't like that Eric & Danielle won, but htey did have the best leg of the day, and not just doing one tasks better. Hell in that episode, the producers even added a time element. Designed to specifically kep teams close together.
Now occasionally they will do a multiple equilizer episode (the episode for example that Rob & Amber got elimianted), but on that one, the teams weren't fully equilized and the two teams near teh end raced terrible the whole day long (in fact Rob & Amber made huge and small errors throughout every part of that leg) and so they diserved to lose.
But the producers ont eh finale leg absolutely should equilize the teams fly them to the destination state (or city) and then have all the days stunts and travel int eh final city. If one team manages to get a big lead, then cool they should absolutely win.
Hell in season ten, much is made about teh cab incident. But I don't think if Rob & Kim would have been able to follow Tyler & James. I still think (bsed on previous scenes of those tow teams running agains't each other) that Tyler & James would have still won. THe run to the final clue, should have been enough to seperate them.
8. Not going to happen. For the same reason the producers usually wont have teams drive anywhere dangerous at night. They are afraid that teams would drive dangerous or at excessive speed and don't want them or others to be in an accident. So thats why teh final city always (except famle edition) uses some form of public transportation.
9. They cast teams that they think will be funny in every season. But humor is very subjective. What I find funny, is different then what others might fun as funny.
Season Nine they thought BJ & Tyler and Eric & Jeremy would be comedy relief (and some found both teams to be)
Season Ten Tom & Terry (One of who does comedy), and Erwin & Godwin were cast to be funny.
All Stars they used Kevin and drew, Danny & Oswald, and Charla & Mirna of which they have fans who think they are very funny.
10. I love Europe. And since the US is a western based culture (for the most part) it will always be used. But hte show in every season does go to places designed to be specifically very challenging to the racers due to the change in cultures. I think ALL Stars had less time in Europe then any season.