Show Discussion: The Crystal Maze

By | August 23, 2017

Fridays, 8pm,
Channel 4

Usually available to watch on Thanks 4 from Wednesday night.

(The post for the Celeb editions and the several hundred comments they generated can be found here).

And so we come to the year’s main event, the civilian run of The Crystal Maze.

Merely two months ago, 22 years of excitement and hope, bolstered by two years of advertising by other people, broke down to “I mean, it’s alright,” and “I really think this should be better”, now we meet the 15-episode civilian run with a sort of non-committal nod of the head and a disinterested “Oh, OK then.”

We’ve already seen most of the games. We get that Richard Ayoade is hosting seemingly under the impression it’s not very good. Can it turn things around in having fewer games to focus on the personalities of the contestants?

It’s probably wise not to read too much into the overnights for this (although it will be difficult to spin “around a million” into a positive), but watch-out instead for how many it adds in +7 catch-up as a trend, where it had been adding a great deal.

190 thoughts on “Show Discussion: The Crystal Maze

    1. SamB

      I enjoyed this episode, probably my favourite so far – fun team who seemed like they weren’t trying too hard to be fun or clever, but played quite intelligently.

      A shame not seeing any new games – and it’s also a bit boring knowing which game it’s going to be as soon as they’re outside the cell. I think I’m right in saying the water cell in Aztec is the only cell that’s had two different games in?

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        Not at all, in fact it has had three – scales, wet log and put the bricks in the idol. Similarly the airlock room in Futuristic has planets, guillotine lasers and avoid knocking the asteroids.

        There are about five games still to be seen, and Jessica Hynes hasn’t showed up in a civvy episode yet.

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        1. Danny Kerner

          Yeah they seem to have ignored the Medieval entrance this half of the series. People’s theory that the Celebrity run was filmed last looks to be true. Maybe she was hired Midway through recording which explains her absence from the first 8 civil series

          Reply
        2. SamB

          I hadn’t registered that the airlock room was all the same room, actually, but that makes sense.

          Reply
      2. Alex

        There’s one cell in Industrial that I believe is the “we’ve ran out of ideas room”, because that’s had I believe the clocks game, the phones game and the ‘connect the boxes’ game.

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        1. Danny Kerner

          And the lights out game as well. Like I said they should run a competition for people to send their game ideas. Winners get to see their idea come to reality

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        2. SamB

          Are they all the same room? Didn’t realise that. Are there three rooms on that stretch, or just two? (The lights out one, plus the one with the rotating platforms)?

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          1. Danny Kerner

            Just two. Two at the front, two at the back one on the side by entrance and of course the pipe maze behind the stairs

    2. Danny Kerner

      Yeah awkward numbers this week. I’m trying to think what might have caused this huge dip from last week. I think the Richard effect is the blame along with the repetition of games. A whole zone this week being ALIS. Poor planning on the producers front there.

      Reply
      1. David

        Here’s the situation: ALIS. Almost Like It Sucks. It should have been an easy show to knock out of the park, in spite of its large scale for what is essentially a studio-based game show a la The Cube, but instead we have… this. A bare minimum of actual gameplay featuring games that are generally underwhelming and repetitive, bookended by an absurd amount of filler (no, we don’t need a ‘how are you feeling?’ interview right before the start of every single game) and an even more absurd amount of abortive and unpopular catchphrases, with a host who’s being deliberately impersonable and giving off the impression he doesn’t want to be there, plus copious fourth-wall breaking, plus production design decisions that make the entire thing LOOK like a cheap and nasty piece of TV filler that’s only there to stop fans complaining.

        They have made LITERALLY every possible error they could have made with this show, and then some. The question isn’t what caused the ratings to tank so suddenly, the question is why it took so long in the first place.

        Reply
        1. Brig Bother Post author

          Difficult to argue with. Although ratings have tanked pretty much since the last celeb special.

          You are no longer making the Nostalgic Ironic Crystal Maze One-Off, you are now making The Crystal Maze with its legacy to live up to.

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          1. Kester J

            I commented to my partner during last night’s episode that if I’m honest with myself, the only reason I’m still watching is the forlorn hope that it might become good.

          2. Brig Bother Post author

            You go into forums and there are people claiming it’s just as good as the original, which suggests they’ve never watched the original.

  1. Danny Kerner

    I have had an idea regarding making transitioning zones more believable if C4 recommission. In the case of Futuristic to Aztec, if they use one of the other side doors to build a fake lift set they can use that, so when they transfer to the Aztec set they can pickup from that lift set which can open up into the wall element and if they can make it a Two way system then there is still the believable element there. If they still want to do a random zone choice then they still use the transportation graphic. For Industrial to Aztec if they build a pipe track in whatever available space is left in the studio they can do the old fake trick of cutting from the Industrial set pipe to this maze track & then cut to the entrance way of Aztec. Again a believable element is now created. Like I said this could only be utilized if S2 is commissioned.

    Reply
  2. Brig Bother Post author

    It’s the most exciting time of the week, the All-in stats!

    Team Well Read And Underfed: 15th for C4 for the week, 1.553m otal (slight increase!) 1.007m live, 162k +1, 384k Timeshift (that’s up on last week), 30th for week in A16-34 with 460k, making it not as good as Hollyoaks on E4 but better then The Simpsons.

    So there we are.

    Reply
  3. Brig Bother Post author

    It’s the last of the first half of the series tonight, a team from Wales who all used to work in a Pizza Hut. One of Richard’s better episodes I thought.

    But don’t despair! The Official Christmas Cash-in Book is already down to £7 in hardcover from £15 on Amazon (in fact it’s £7.49 on Kindle, wharraswizz viewers), and that’s out next Thursday.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crystal-Maze-Challenge-Games-Begin-ebook/dp/B072W48W6K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1507896219&sr=8-1&keywords=crystal+maze

    Reply
    1. Danny Kerner

      Confirmed return Dec 2017 for at least the Xmas special. Whether it carries on the week after we will soon see.

      Reply
        1. Danny Kerner

          If they are sticking to the Friday format i presume it will be broadcast either 22nd or 29th December. Any earlier than the 22nd will feel too early. From what we know that if they try to run it on either three days of the 24th 25th or 26th it will be drowned out by other programmes on the BBC such as Doctor Who, Eastenders & Mrs Brown (all three pretty much guaranteed on Xmas Day)

          Reply
  4. Will Tennant

    Very disappointed by the episode, not so much for Richard but the team was just very unenthusiastic to all the games, it just made it very boring to watch, and I never thought i’d say that about the Crystal Maze

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    1. Kester J

      I was surprised this team made it through casting, given how much of a point was made about the number of applications received. It was almost like watching something that’s been made so the contestants can go home and tell their mates they’ve been on the Crystal Maze, rather than to make an entertaining show for viewers.

      Reply
    2. SamB

      Yes, that was incredibly dull to watch. There’s very little worse to watch than people being slow and standing around not accomplishing anything. Bethan was relatively fun and engaging (and was the only one to really get on with it when going into the room, as shown on the water log game), the rest… what a waste of a slot.

      Reply
  5. Alex McMillan

    I really, really wish this hadn’t been so much of a struggle to keep up with.

    It’s strange, I still feel like I’m waiting for The Crystal Maze to come back.

    Reply
  6. Brig Bother Post author

    Right, Footballers Team, 1.2m all-in, 17th for the week.

    Thinkbox hasn’t updated with a breakdown yet.

    Edit: Here we go.

    800k live, 119k +1, 281k on catch up for 1.199m total.

    42nd for all channels in A16-34, 355k, putting it slightly ahead of Family Chase and Grand Designs but well behind Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away! on Five.

    Reply
  7. Brig Bother Post author

    Before it drops off the list of recent new shows there’s just time for our favourite Crystal Maze “it’s just as good if not better than the original” consolidated ratings!

    Final episode of series 1b:
    C4’s 14th for week, 1.39m total (well up on week previous), 896k live, 146k +1, 348k catch-up.

    35th for week in A16-34 with 451k, again up on previous week.

    And since nobody asked, how’s the book doing? The Hbk is 2,010th on Amazon (but #7 in trivia and #9 in TV Tie-in Humour), the Kindle edition is #140,481. Although I’d buy the hardback over the Kindle version as well if I had a second chance.

    Reply
  8. Brig Bother Post author

    Just one little extra fillip to this. How did Food Unwrapped and Travel Man: 48 Hours in Rome do?

    Food Unwrapped:
    14th for C4 for the week, 1.14m live, 158k +1, 152k catch-up for a total of 1.462m
    Doesn’t appear in Top 50 A16-34.

    Travel Man:
    7th for Channel 4 for the week 1.33m live, 216k +1, 530k catch-up for a total of 2.079m.
    36th in all TV for A16-34, 428k.

    Reply
  9. Chris M. Dickson

    Polling wonkery site 538 asks a question about The Price is Right and, to wrestle this comment onto the topic for this page, further down answers the question that MAYBE EVEN LITERALLY nobody was asking: how do you play the totem pole dragon game perfectly? There’s a pretty chart and everything.

    Reply

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