Posts belonging to Category Show Discussion

Show Discussion: Ultimate Beastmaster


From Friday 24th February variously worldwide,

Now this is quite exciting and no mistake, Netflix enters the obstacle course reality competition genre (Christ) with the Sylvester Stallone produced Ultimate Beastmaster, apparently filmed on the old [Total] Wipeout ranch in California.

In each episode 18 contestants, hailing from the US, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Germany and Japan compete to complete the ultimate obstacle course, the Beast. The winners of the nine preliminary episodes will compete in the final for the honour of being the Ultimate Beastmaster. Edit: We misinterpreted this, each episode has 12 contestants, there are 18 contestants from each country across the series.

Each of the six participating countries have their own set of hosts and commentators, for us in the UK we will presumably have ex-Millionaire host and American football player Terry Crews and FOX Sports broadcaster Charissa Thompson but it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if there were options for watching the other streams, or at least foreign dubbing.

We hope this leads to Netflix trying its hand at reality competitions (cough The Genius cough), or at the very least it will be interesting to see what they might buy-in for international audiences if this is successful.

Because of the nature of the broadcast, you must be prepared for spoilers if you enter the comments, non Beastmaster chat should probably go in the post previous.


Aww, we’d been looking forward to this for a while and… you know that bit in Race to Escape when two teams couldn’t see a code written in big numbers on a wall for twenty minutes and the editors stuck with it and let it play out and it was actually quite brave and exhilarating and funny? I don’t think we’re getting that here.


I think the art direction is OK (although there’s really not much to see in this one – a janitor’s closet and some crates mainly, but other previews suggest set-ups that are a bit more interesting). I think the adventure game style inventory works well. I think the puzzles are too low key for television being very in the main simple insert obvious key into obvious lock or solving obvious cipher code. Shows like this thrive on mystery and there is progression of a sort but it’s not greatly interesting, no great revelations at any point. Does this make escape games look cool? I’m not sure.

It’s been edited similarly to Tabletop so you get ‘kooky’ confessionals throughout. The room escape is edited down to fifteen minutes, of a 22 minute show.

I’m not sure whether to congratulate Geek and Sundry for giving it a go or lightly slap them on the wrist for being a bit disappointing. You can watch further episodes on the Project Alpha site for a fee or it sounds like they’re getting released fortnightly on Youtube. I think I can wait.

Show Discussion: Release the Hounds: Famous and Freaked

Thursdays, 9pm,

Or Celebrity Release the Hounds as normal people will call it. Anyway we gathered there was a third series happening and we were wondering where the contestant call-out for it was so when we heard that this third series is going to be exclusively (ITV sub-channel) celebrities playing for charity that rather explains it.

Anyway we like Release the Hounds, previous series have been very funny and featured entertaining scenarios (in the main) but there’s always been one or two production decisions that leave a nagging feeling, we’re keeping our fingers crossed this is the year that knocks it out of the park. And we do like a bit of Reggie Yates, the thinking man’s Stephen Mulhern.

Episode one features stars from TOWIE. If you like TOWIE it’s for you, and if you don’t like TOWIE you’ll get to see them in psychological hell so it’s win win.

Show Discussion: The Big Spell

Sundays, 5pm,
Sky One

Join Sue Perkins, Moira Stewart and Joe Lycett as twenty kids vie across eight episodes in spelling-based challenges in order to become champion.

The show is based on Endemol’s Spelling Star format which has had some success as The Great Australian Spelling Bee on the Ten Network in Australia.

Spelling Bee formats were all the rage about ten years ago (see Hard Spell, Spelling Bee) and then they just sort of fell off the face of the Earth.

I’m afraid we forgot this was on until halfway though episode one, but if you watched it or caught up with it let us know what you thought.

Show Discussion: Spies

Thursdays, 9pm,
Channel 4

Another year, another entry into the burgeoning Tough Occupational Reality Challenge subgenre, this one is Spies from the makers of the gritty SAS: Who Dares Wins.

This one features fifteen people being put through their paces by three proper spies and being eliminated if they don’t make the grade.

It’s not the first time this sort of thing has been done, there was a very well-regarded show on BBC3 back in 2004 called Spy (UKGameshows link) with a very similar premise, although doubtless this one is going to feel grittier. We didn’t really watch SAS: Who Dares Wins, we had just watched Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week which scratched our endurance itch and was basically the same thing, but it’s been a long time since there was a good show about learning the art of espionage (does Hunted count as espionage?).

It’s only four episodes. The first episode is promising a mole amongst the trainees, which is a fun twist. Let us know what you think.

Show Discussion: !mpossible

Weekdays, 2:30pm (2:10 for ep 1),

Rick Edwards hosts a new quiz from the feverish mind of Tipping Point‘s Hugh Rycroft where contestants fight it out to win a daily £10,000 jackpot. We’re not quite sure of the format at time of writing, but from what we’ve pieced together contestants answer questions and earn points with the highest scorers from each round going through to the final where the big set-piece exclamation mark will hopefully give up it’s monetary contents, but along the way anyone who gives not just a wrong answer but an impossible answer is eliminated. Losers come back the next day.

Presumably we’re looking at multiple choice questions here, we’re certainly intrigued to find out what makes an impossible answer impossible and whether this element is interesting and different enough to make the show stand out. Rick’s an intelligent guy but he doesn’t scream BBC daytime. We’ll see.