Show Discussion: Celebrity Crystal Maze (2019)

By | June 20, 2019
Hi!

Fridays, 8pm,
Channel 4

I can’t be bothered keeping track of what “series” it is, it’s the third recording block anyway and we’re getting six episodes now and seven later on.

Anyway we’re getting 30 new games, a new Eastern zone (if Richard uses the phrase “culturally sensitive”, take a drink) and a new MEGACRYSTAL worth 10 seconds in the Dome.

And it looks like they’ve doubled down on the audience baiting tone, with its archness and having Gemma Collins on the first episode and its irritatingly matey social media presence and trying desperately to go viral and having a game that’s a bit like the planets one from series one, because you lack imagination and you like that sort of thing don’t you Dave?

And I respect that, to keep doing the same thing in the face of severe audience decline isn’t stupid it’s clearly art. And that virtual room game looks good (even if, as has been pointed out, it’s basically that game from Sub Zero I was involved with twenty-odd years ago).

Anyway, let us know what you think.

106 thoughts on “Show Discussion: Celebrity Crystal Maze (2019)

  1. Will Stephen

    Already on facebook/twitter their spoilers of Gemma in the Knightmare room has gotten over 1 MIllion Views so for engagement alone that’s pretty much enough to get another commission probably, despite what some peoples views of her are personally. Controversy Creates Cash. And with USA picking it up hopefully we can see a Civilian run again (Just make it tea time Channel 4 for those ones, you know you want to….).

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      The Nickelodeon one might be quite interesting, because I suspect it’ll be slightly closer in tone and feel to what we’d like. As long as it isn’t *too* earnest.

      Reply
      1. David

        They’re casting for it now- Families of 5, at least 2 kids 9-13- so some of the games might be toned down a little at least difficulty-wise. Do wonder how they’ll work the cash prize- something like the more golds you have after deductions, the more money you win, or straight out put cash in the dome (and it could be a relatively big amount- Nick just started a new version of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader with a $100K top prize, so having say $100K in $50 and $100 bills in the dome is not out of the question- with not having to worry about deductions, they could get a lot of bills even with only 10 or 15 seconds-assuming a crystal is worth 5 seconds of course, they could make them worth 10..)

        Reply
        1. Jonathan

          Cash prize? That’d be a shame*. I’d have quite liked them to keep the exact level of British prize – and it’d gain an extra layer of joke by ‘sounding’ impressive as the prize involves a trip to England, not commenting that the people are already in Britain for the show.

          Basically I want them to send American families to Digger World.

          *in terms of making a show take off on US TV, probably not a shame

          Reply
          1. Alex McMillan

            I’d wager they couldn’t use anything other than foil because the lighting would be a total nightmare.

  2. Mark A

    I just hope we get a “MEGA CRYSTAL ALERT!” Like we got on earlier series of Jungle Run.

    Reply
    1. Crimsonshade

      Considering the suggestion is contestants themselves choose whether to make the game for the Mega Crystal, probably not.

      Reply
  3. TheLupineOne

    Forget Gemma Collins; surely TCM is Bar-baiting by having Carol Vorderman and Rick Edwards on!?

    Reply
  4. Danny Kerner

    Also we have found out today that Anne Hegerty is doing the maze sometime this year.

    Reply
  5. Pete

    I will never understand the hate BB has for this incarnation of the maze. It’s fun, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, the games are good and the contestants are shouty idiots. I don’t know what more people round here want…

    Reply
    1. Brandon

      I think one of the big complaints is that the shot direction was awful, but it has definitely improved.

      Reply
      1. Danny Kerner

        Plus the transitions don’t feel authentic and looks like a stop and go film scenario unlike the original which was authentic.

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        1. Pete

          I’m a nerd, I’m not going to insult you by asking whether such things matter – but certainly to me it has the heart and feel of the classic show, even if some of the trappings aren’t the same. That said, the new zone looks pretty cheap…

          Reply
          1. Danny Kerner

            Well to me it does as that was what made the original series feel real rather than a studio.

            The concern is with no sponsor it does feel like it has gone a slightly cheaper route. Also i am feeling Channel 4 might be giving up this year. Lets hope Nickelodeon make the show great again so the uk branch can jump when C4 drops it.

    2. Des Elmes

      It’s not good if *all* the contestants are shouty idiots.

      Also Ayoade *is* an acquired taste, you can’t deny that.

      Reply
    3. Chris M. Dickson

      Because it reminds us that we are all getting old and people like different things these days to the ones we used to. The new series was good enough, but no better. I don’t really have anything to add to everybody else’s hot takes.

      The Family Brain Games came up at the end of part three of Celebrity Gogglebox. I had it on mute so didn’t hear what they said about it.

      Reply
  6. Brig Bother Post author

    Eastern zone no Ocean is it?

    That being said, I think the games have improved a bit, even if the planets and Reverse Kongman are obvious retreads. The industrial games felt like quite good old-skool Crystal Maze in a good way (even if the cage maze was like the old cage maze but with more Ikea and four times smaller). Spot the Difference a good idea done in by camera angles, I think it needs to be more top down – at the very least this is where it would play to the craft of the show twenty years ago where they’d film some extra cutaways. The virtual room was clearly the star. As usual a couple of games that feel almost but not quite there, the candle one and the symbol wheels feel like they’re missing an element but aren’t bad ideas in themselves.

    It is what it is.

    Reply
  7. Danny Kerner

    Let’s hope we don’t see all 30 games before the halfway break point. Otherwise, what is the point of taking a break? I expect the VR game being one of the 10 Xmas themed games.

    Reply
  8. Will Stephen

    So a new series with new games and an improvement overall but let’s go in-depth like I normally do.

    Spot the difference: a good core idea camera placement isn’t great though if the viewer can’t see a side of the room. This could’ve worked far better in futuristic with a microchip diagram I reckon.

    Candle Tug: not much too it really. Definitely a two minute game, was expecting the lever to put the candle backwards so you always had to keep a hold of it. Seems a bit too easy but we will see.

    Milk Crate Maze 3.0: it feels really cheap for three reasons. 1: it looks too small because of the big open space in the middle. 2: teammates can look through the windows. (Should use monitors, in fact industrial should always use monitors why should 3 zones just be windows all the time when the rooms aren’t big enough. Remove the windows it’ll look grander) 3: cheap ply board to leave the maze at the end as a shortcut… just make it three minutes and get back, that should be the risk/reward for it.

    Gutter ball 2.0: a great hybrid of the set up from last year and year before but they may have actually made it too difficult with too many different axis. However you do want a game that is difficult but deserving and this would be it.

    Incinerate The Crystal: take the wire game they did last year, make it smaller and add a needless prop. Typical maze puzzle and there’s nothing wrong with it. I think they could’ve just made the board bigger so you can see all the answers at home.

    Corridor of Blades 2.0: my only gripe is the editing issue. No doubt it’s going to be the game of the series for a lot of people but they don’t explain before hand what is going on. They obviously give rules to the team but the viewer should know too. There was obviously a start point for GC to go to. On top of that did anyone notice the time fail with Richard saying 30 seconds with nearly 50 on the timer? Was this a mistake or did GC actually run out of time and they did a re-edit??? This was in the viral video too btw.

    Planets 3.0 I think this is the hardest version of them all. Felt sorry for Rick because his height prob made this slot harder compared to if one of the girls did it.

    Countdown: they said it was an ALIS but never explained why. I’m guessing make one mistake? Could it be three? Also I STILL hate those box drawers for the Crystal. Bring back the sliding door!! It’s a Cube game and it just doesn’t work properly in TCM but they still do it.

    Symbol Match: 3 minutes for finding a pair between 7 sets of symbols on each side? A cargo net which is too close to both. I’m guessing there’s unwritten rule that you can’t just sit on top and move them side to side otherwise it’s pointless :-p

    Crossword: should be an industrial game tbh but other than that the best puzzle game, simple and if not in the right mind set could easily mess people up. Great stuff.

    Overall I enjoyed the episode. Richard just didn’t feel out of place now (could that be because we are familiar with his demeanour on the show now) and really took on the GC.

    Also Mega Crystal was strange. They all knew they wanted to do it on this one and it was only game 3. I wonder if they thought because of Arg not being able to fit in the maze because of his size he would’ve been excluded automatically that she would stand the best chance of winning because she was smaller. Who knows, maybe producers have made it random and they have to act it, I think it should either be made harder or just randomly do it. Also by having this the max is now 55 seconds. Will they beat 45 over the series?? I hope not :-p

    Reply
    1. David B

      I know the first episode in a series is always a ‘treat’ with all new games, but this was maybe the best new-era episode I’ve seen.

      Crossword seemed too easy and needed an extra element to it. Maybe rely on confusion between M and W, or N and Z? Or have some two-sided tiles?

      When they started having to lock in three separate gates in one small section of Gutter ball 2.0, none of which were easy for the viewer to see, you could tell it was too complex. And the shame with games like this is that we rarely actually get to see the crystal do anything.

      I liked the ‘needless’ prop on Incinerate The Crystal! That’s the kind of plotline that the Old Skool series would’ve done. Something that raises the jeopardy a bit.

      I think I agree that the Corridor of Blades 2.0 editing was ‘well suss’. Nevertheless, as a game concept it was implemented really well.

      I don’t get the point of ‘one note’ games like Countdown, even if it did give a close finish. It really needed an extra element like (e.g.) having to step over some rods to get from place to place.

      I agree with the windows in the cells – they make the rooms look *really* small, and IMHO they make it too easy for the team to point at stuff and just go “pick up this, put it there”, rather than having the fun of communication issues.

      Overall, there seemed to be more fiddly games and (generally) better calibration with more closer finishes, so that really helped the enjoyment.

      Reply
      1. Will Stephen

        I’ll retract my statement about the incinerator after sleeping on it, absolutely right it’s like the old series (bomb defusal), It might have worked better as a hybrid of their candle tug to keep pulling the crystal out of the incinerator using various levers and switches on a Rube Goldberg style device.

        The deliberate Awkwardness that was there in the past series didn’t feel like it was there at all, it felt very smooth now. Like the old series, O.G. Richard really got in the groove after the third go (I think 92 and 93 were the best two series over the rest), New Richard has got full into the swing of things now, so this may well be his golden series…

        I wish we saw a kids special though, think it’s definitely deserving of one.

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        1. David

          I think they’re waiting until after Brexit to put the kids back to work in the Industrial Zone.

          Reply
      2. Brekkie

        Apart from the continual casting of Gemma Collins, which actually worked with Richard clearly hating her, this was a strong opener. Yes, they could still fit in 3 games in each zone by cutting the opening preamble, but overall I still think Richard is brilliant and there isn’t really a better pre-watershed show on at the moment.

        Not sold on the Eastern Zone – seems change for changes sake really.

        Reply
      3. Chris M. Dickson

        I’ll speak up for the Countdown game, which was probably my second favourite of the episode, behind only the virtual room. Perhaps I liked it because it felt like an inadvertent throwback to the Crystal Dome within the Cyberdrome Crystal Maze, with its lovely big buttons to bash. I definitely like that it did generate its own rhythm, eventually, and the close finish was indeed very exciting. Maybe it’s a joke that will only ever work once, not least because of Carol playing it, but playing the last few seconds of the Countdown clock at the end was a good gag. Carol’s “not the Mega Crystal!” was one of the lines of the episode, too.

        Here’s a question: were there any shots of the contestants posting the tokens into the Magic Letterbox during the Dome sequence? I don’t remember any. Is there any reason why the game wouldn’t be more satisfying if contestants didn’t have to post the tokens into the box and could just collect them on their person? I guess it makes the end of the collection time a little less definite, but otherwise I think it would stand on its own merits as just a different way of doing things.

        Reply
        1. David

          It could work twice. If the list I’m looking at has the teams in the right order, Jeff Stelling is in this week’s episode. Future lineups:

          Anita Rani captains AJ Pritchard, Tom Rosenthal, Hannah Cockroft and sports presenter Jeff Stelling.

          Nancy Sorrell captains Vic Reeves, Ferne McCann, Graeme Swann and Susan Calman.

          Sunetra Sarker captains Ann Widdecombe, Wes Nelson, Matthew Wright and Nikki Sanderson.

          Melvin Odoom captains Al Murray, Kara Tointon, Ashley Taylor Dawson and Olivia Attwood.

          Steve Pemberton captains Oti Mabuse, Jack Fincham, Anna Richardson and Russell Kane.

          The sighting of FOTB Anne Hegerty appears to be for one of the episodes in the other set.

          Reply
          1. Danny Kerner

            Sadly we know Jeff isn’t playing this game but is on a revolving chair.

    2. Alex McMillan

      I do enjoy these individual game reviews, but I can’t help but wonder how the original series games would review in hindsight. I imagine if you looked at those original series with fresh eyes, there would be quite a few games that wouldn’t stand up (my immediate thought was that odd game in Ocean zone where you had to answer quiz questions to get tokens for a fan)

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        The older show definitely has an advantage in that they spent time getting shots right to explain the games better.

        This being said, I still think New Maze lacks the shoutability of the old one.

        Reply
  9. John R

    The #hashtag thing is an unwelcome addition

    Surprised they missed out on a dig at Rick and !mpossible when they were talking about how Carol’s game was ‘impossible’

    And I have a sneaking suspicion that they chuck a rather amount of generous gold tokens in the dome for the celebs as no way should a team with the disadvantage of GC catch 99 Gold tokens in just 25 seconds!

    Reply
  10. John R

    0.8m – OUCH

    Sadly it won’t be staying in the 8pm Friday slot very long with figures like that!

    Just to rub salt in the wound, an extra 2 million people tuned in straight after for Gogglebox! (2.8m)

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Well this is just it isn’t it? It might feel like it’s improved a bit but the horse has bolted.

      Edit: 874k with +1 I gather.

      Reply
    2. Will Stephen

      We’ll have to see with next week’s for comparison if this was a result of the show in general or because of who was on it. But 2 extra million for Gogglebox is not a great sign.

      Reply
  11. David

    I feel like if you were in charge of scheduling this show and you had a new zone to show off, you might think it wise to include games that suit the zone in the first episode.

    Instead we got a generic spot the difference thing that didn’t work on screen and a game involving candles and portcullises that was literally more Medieval than anything these producers put in the actual Medieval Zone when they had it.

    Odd decision.

    Reply
    1. David

      There’s still a lot that could be fixed (we don’t need the “team nickname” bit in celebrity episodes, especially when the entire season is obviously a “civilians don’t rate” celebrity affair; Richard still needs to learn the difference between hinting in the right direction and outright telling them what to do; it still looks SUPER studio-y), but I agree with the notion that this was one of the revival’s best episodes. Low hurdle though.

      I think the new zone helped a bit (these producers certainly never really knew what to do with Medieval, much like the old version never really did anything with Industrial), but the actual zone itself is a poor choice. A bit weird that in the episode you use to showcase your Eastern Zone, the two games there feel like they’d have been better fits for Medieval though.

      Games were the usual mix of “above average but needs better staging” (the crossword needed the empty tiles in the grid to be a different colour, even if only a darker shade of brown; the 3D maze needed the camera on the other side so the tall wall was at the back, even if they had to move it to that cell with the second entrance they used for the pipe game a couple of years ago) and “poor ideas executed badly” (“remember that gutter game nobody came close to winning? Let’s make it even harder!”) we’ve come to expect from this revival, but I feel more confident about this season than I have about the past two production runs.

      Not a huge fan of Gemma Collins, but it was so bloody refreshing to see someone be a bit heartless with the lockins for once. The problem with casting in groups is they’re too matey to leave someone behind, but Gemma’s just enough of a bitch to not care, and it kinda really worked. Please never bring her back though.

      Reply
      1. Danny Kerner

        I agree with the intro bit not needing that unnecessarily celebrity tagline. Yes, those games did feel like Medieval would have had them. The lilypad exit sadly was cut short and did feel right. I want to know what the other exit would entail but from a trailer, it appears it is just a hidden door. This will be the best series to date even if the viewership ratings will hold around 700-800k mark.

        The negative I’m taking away is that they had an opportunity to redesign the map to have it feel more original yet they just cut and pasted eastern in.

        The irony would now be if Nickelodeon does a far higher job of producing the show if it is taken by another production company. I will be paying attention and if it gets higher viewership no’s. I believe they are planning to start broadcasting in September and depending on their strategy could either be shown nightly like Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader, or weekly like other shows.

        Reply
        1. David

          At least they changed the design of the map rather than just turning the Medieval map red for Eastern. They’re still using the old map of Futuristic.

          Reply
  12. Will Stephen

    Episode 2: “unbelievable” –

    Some new, some reimaginings and already some doubles for a good episode.

    Puzzle planets – jumbo sized slide the planet. I think this whole season they’ve not got the tempo of too easy or too hard. Having too many ways to put the planet into the side. Was the key necessary too?

    Spinning memory – my gripe with this wasn’t the execution. It’s a nice sort of memory adaptation but because of safety reasons they can’t get locked in as the chair has to stop to get off. Maybe a turn off button?

    Dragon tube – a nice reimagined game from the ETP era, love the dragon style, was not her game so will be nice to see how it looks with a win.

    Spot the dog – did they not have the last ring on the rug ages before hand???

    Yang Balls – Having honour rules seems really daft. Having a small slope and then a button to raise the target if the wrong ball goes in wouldn’t have been too hard to do surely? Crystal reveal was the best one yet.

    Safe puzzle – a two stage puzzle marred with bad camera angles. Couldn’t see that second part at all.

    Mega crystal on the maze again and on this occasion could’ve gone back the same way in the time limit…

    Gutter ball 2.0 – might as well call it impossiball now, on second viewing there’s over ten things to get almost perfect. And as said by someone before you don’t even see the crystal attempt unless they get it all the way. No one has even done halfway correctly .

    Ball Drop – another classic style puzzle. Nice drop on the crystal, I thought the path may have been too long to start with but might be just right. 3 minutes on a game like that? They don’t like doing 2.30 on games

    Water magnets – WHY TWO colours? Was the original plan to have them make both? Was it a red herring, there was literally no explanation here too.

    The dome: the amount of tokens in there to what was quoted seems off to anyone or am i paranoid? Granted with 45 seconds for when my team did it we got stupid amounts as well so maybe that’s just how it looks, as we didn’t get that in our episode for comparison. Weird they looked at the box for so long compared to all other episodes, but good to see. Also little note the lever didn’t close once time had run out. This is meant to stop tokens going in after the buzzer. Anything above the lever doesn’t get counted. Makes no difference since it’s for charity either way.

    Enjoyable episode again. Am I right I’m saying that Hannah genuinely only had the option to play the two games she did because of the games chosen? (She could’ve probably done the dragon but that would’ve been it). Also they’ve done away with the ocarinas. I want those ocarinas please!!! Lol

    Reply
    1. SamB

      “Safe puzzle – a two stage puzzle marred with bad camera angles. Couldn’t see that second part at all.”

      I suspect that may be because of how he did it. When he went in he was told not to move the central piece, but he did. My suspicion is that this piece is in the puzzle oriented the right way, so that when they complete it properly then the underneath is the right way round for the camera angle below. Whereas because he moved it, he did the puzzle upside down, so we couldn’t see the second half right.

      “Yang Balls – Having honour rules seems really daft. Having a small slope and then a button to raise the target if the wrong ball goes in wouldn’t have been too hard to do surely? Crystal reveal was the best one yet.”

      Interested to see this again to see if there was a barrier they took out to make it suitable for Hannah to play

      Reply
      1. David

        I suspect it’s not going to be a good camera shot even when they do solve the puzzle the right way around.

        I also agree with the thought that the pool puzzle is supposed to be both colours. Otherwise it’s literally just the Industrial puzzle on a wet log (uh, tightrope).

        I feel like the best way to play Spot the Dog is to get yourself and all the Glowing Quoits into the second room and just have your team shout things at you, instead of crawling back and forth.

        Not as confident about this season as I was after last episode (we’ve now seen 17/30 new games, and about five of them are any good?) buuuut it’s still an improvement on what these producers have given us before.

        Reply
        1. John R

          Maybe they couldn’t be bothered with good camera shots considering basically nobody is watching…0.8m last week, 0.7m this week :/ (although I suppose in fairness Gogglebox also went down from a Week 1 of 2.8m to 2.2m but still)

          I don’t really know what else they could do to help boost the ratings, if it was a civilian series I would be like yeah whatever but these are celebrity editions, maybe that fact wasn’t advertised too well – oh the glory days of the Stephen Merchant pilot fetching in 3m!

          Reply
          1. David

            I feel like the big important one is replacing the producers, to be honest. This lot seems to not only have no understanding of how this show should work, they don’t seem to care and insist on doubling down on the things people hate. Get new people in and it’s hard to see how it wouldn’t improve.

    2. Chris M. Dickson

      I’m tempted to wonder whether the presence of a wheelchair inside the Dome has a significant effect on airflow in terms of making it easier to collect tokens, of whatever colour.

      Not sure if I’m the first person or the last person to realise this, but I have a wild theory about why Richard gives that long and seemingly extraneous disclaimer about it not being a charity special, other than that they like including jokes that don’t – and cannot – work: in charity specials, they award the team an extra crystal, so they need to explain why some teams get an extra crystal and others don’t.

      Reply
  13. Philip

    With the videos from the official show featuring not only celebrity teams from the current first half, but Celebs from the second half, I was just wondering if people could figure out who is in each of the remaining teams. I have seen a list of names, but can only make out certain parts of each team.

    1. Ranj Singh, Tamzin Outhwaite, Phil Tuffnell
    2. Gareth Thomas Jordan Banjo, Perri Kiely, Laura Whitmore
    3. Richard Coles
    4. Debbie McGee
    5. Natalie Cassidy, Fleur East, Giorgia Toffolo, John Thomson
    6. Anne Hegerty, Nick Helm, Richard Blackwood.

    Can anyone possibly fill in the blanks from what is seen in the video?

    Reply
  14. Brig Bother Post author

    Episode 1 consolidated to 1.14m, 14th for Channel 4 for the week.

    It doesn’t make the Top 50 for A16-34. Taskmaster does though! So that’s fun.

    Reply
  15. Alex McMillan

    Really feel like Richard has warmed to the role this series. Pretty much liked all of the games this week, even if the industrial ball rolling game is a colossal tease.

    Reply
  16. Mark Leete

    Sad but if irony just now on CCM

    Richard to Susan Calman “it’s a good job you were here”
    Jim Moir “Thank god no one watches the show”

    Well I am, Mr Reeves! Sigh!

    Reply
    1. David

      Susan Calman saves everything.

      The tiered pagoda game was okay but I’m already sick of seeing it every season on Survivor, so that didn’t help.

      The Aztec reinvention of the first season’s pipe maze in the pool cell was great though. I assume the lilypads were there solely so we make the obvious Chambre Frog pun though, and: mission accomplished.

      Everything else though? Blah.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        Oh I quite liked the hidden letters game, although I hope it’s not going to be the same every time. Yes to pipe maze as well.

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        1. Will Stephen

          Pipe maze was fine but the ending should’ve been more clear for the viewer.

          Colour stacker was fine but when you’ve already got gutter ball it seems too similar to have on the same year. Much like the spot the letters is a variant of spot the difference, concept was ok but it feels so tiny by having the team look through the window it has a ‘cheap’ effect.

          The tiered towers with the fire on for no mistake, surely having them light up if a mistake occurred would be more sensible?

          On the positive the atmosphere feels more improved each episode this season.

          Reply
  17. Jon

    Thus far probably the best episode of the current era. Didn’t like them using the main entrances for exiting and entering the Eastern Zone and Industrial zone. But I have noticed them going round the zones in a correct order for the last couple of episodes.

    Reply
    1. Jon

      Also didn’t see the point in the maze game being an ALIS as it seemed pretty unlikely you could call off that thing and you had to stand on the floor to get onto it. So it seemed inherently flawed.

      Reply
  18. Will Stephen

    Some new games!

    I’m also sticking with my point that my team is still the best team having won 9/10 :-p

    Water puzzle still stupid, least he didn’t get wet!

    Sandy Shy: throwing targets and the look of it was great but Anne was hitting them and barely any sand was moving. Was she not hitting them hard enough or were the targets broken??

    Colour is Wrong: Mensa style puzzle which actually works really well. No complaints here.

    Planets: should never have been three minutes, way too easy as mentioned before.

    Simons Chair: I hope we see one winner just to see the crystal reveal.

    Cannon Shot: such a cube game. A game shouldn’t be doable in one and this could happen. If it was three targets that cascade I think it would be better but visually it looks good… except you could step over the barricade and grab it yourself….

    Candle Conveyor: good strategy using legs for all of them if you’re shorter. I’d imagine Anne wouldn’t be been able to do this

    Jarhead: yes let’s just give her fifty hints to win this… come on guys this was more fixed than the GC moment! Loved the mind moving here though.

    Spinning Maze: right two huge complaints before I do the positives. Firstly that maze can be done in like fifteen seconds as it’s not long at all. The spinning was easily stopped by Matthew. Now if you’re suspended in the air with nothing to hold onto apart from the maze with your hands, you’re gonna slow the spin of the maze. It’s one of those games on paper I bet they thought would work but in practice just didn’t. Had they maybe used levers to tilt the maze while it spinned it would may have worked out better. Visually the maze looks lovely though.

    Clock timer: Another game that looks good but is marred by having teammates see through the windows and not the monitors. There wasn’t enough clocks to risk a lock in realistically. Yep there was one or two occasions of back to back clocks but maybe should’ve been a couple extra ones.

    45 seconds and only that many tokens when their box looked full on the screen? There was a second take they showed with a camera guy in as that was mega full before time (not counting that) or was Loads of tokens considered after the whistle? Cause the top half looked more than the bottom half.

    Reply
    1. David

      Water Puzzle is possibly the worst game of this entire revival, and that’s really saying something.

      I think the trick to Desert Dunk Tank is the sand drains into an hourglass that’s also emptying as the game continues. Probably needs fewer, larger targets in order for it to be won, but it’s one of the first revival games that wouldn’t feel out of place on the original so I’ll give it a tentative pass for now.

      Colour Mixup… I don’t get why this show seems to think “Colours!” makes something Futuristic (see also: Cube Wall, Rainbow Piano, Tidy-Up Time, Neon Sticks, Box Stop) especially given the lack of colour is the point of the zone revamp. But it needs to stop.

      I get that Solar System Slide is supposed to be a modern take on the old slide puzzle games like Slice the Dice that used to turn up in Medieval, but it’s too easy even for two minutes.

      I like Office Chair of Doom but it’s not a Crystal Maze game. It feels like something Big Brother would have done in the Diary Room as part of a space-themed shopping task.

      It took me a full minute to understand the concept of Gong Bounce. I hate this revival’s insistence on overly wordy signs, but that game needed something, even if it was just a graphic illustrating the concept of “rebound”. Again though, another Eastern game that feels Medieval, maybe because the cannon is literally recycled from a Medieval game.

      Candle Guillotine is the game of the season, unquestionably.

      Adam Buxton in the Crystal Maze Gift Shop (and its predecessors Adam Buxton in a Jar and Adam Buxton in an Apothecary, and it’s successors Adam Buxton in a Miniature Smokestack and Adam Buxton’s Head on a Pike) is basically a free crystal anyway, so I’m not worried about Ann getting walked through it. It’s not nearly as much fun as Mumsey though, and I don’t think it helped that the staging on this incarnation failed to hide his shirt.

      Weird choice not to put the octagonal maze in Eastern. It can’t be because of the moving parts because the Yin Yang game spins too, so I wonder why one of the few games that actually would fit in that zone isn’t. If they wanted to put it in Industrial, you know what would have fixed it? That air gun from last season.

      Stop the Clocks, like Colour Mixup, is super tedious. This show is already lethargic enough without watching people do the same thing dozens of times to fill three minutes, especially twice in the same episode. Heaven help us if these two and Countdown ever all end up in the same episode.

      Overall a VERY weak episode after the first few. Still, given this version’s reluctance to reinvent games from the old version (as opposed to outright copying with new set decoration), it was a bit weird to get two projectile games, a slide puzzle, the riddle game, and a table maze all in the same episode. All we need now is a murder mystery, a remote control vehicle that doesn’t work, and an incubator (oooh… would Solar System Slide have been better in miniature if the player had to manipulate everything with incubator gloves?) and we’d have everything.

      Reply
      1. Danny Lee Kerner

        We are only three games away from a full house now. They are burning through new games too quickly. They need to fill 2 session blocks. Block A using 15 games and Block B with the rest or design more than 30 games. The second block at this moment is going to feel repetitive. The only question will be what will come first. The second block of 6 episodes or the US envisioning.

        Reply
        1. John R

          0.6m…oh dear

          Anne seemed to have been signed up to it without a clue about what she was signing up to!

          Reply
          1. Will Stephen

            The amount of negative/hate on Anne was surely going to impact the viewing on this episode though seeing how many people were vocal about not watching an episode with her in it. I’m surprised the research team wanted to bring her in at all. GC I totally get as some people just want to see her fail/make a fool of herself, this one seemed perplexing.

      2. David B

        I’m not sure the Colour Is Wrong effect works as well as the Stroop Test if you can work as slowly as one every 5 seconds. You can even cover the ball and not look at it if you want. I think it would have worked better if you had to switch between ball colour, text colour or text description.

        Clock Stopper was quite a fun idea in principle – it made you go “oh, no” as you saw the room – but needed more stress and pre-planning (i.e. less gaps between clocks) and might have been better as a game you had to do perfectly but you got the chance to reset.

        Reply
  19. Brig Bother Post author

    Episode 3: 1.026m (9%) all-in, 14th for the week on Channel 4. Consistent!

    Not in the A16-34 Top 50, unlike Taskmaster and Iain Sterling’s Celebability though.

    Reply
  20. Will Stephen

    One new game this week which we will get to as there was some highlights again.

    Letter Search: a much tougher word compared to before. Team was really good though.

    NEW GAME, coloured pipes. Sort of a hybrid with the ocean game of ball in buckets mixed with this series Mensa test in futuristic. Why you would put two similar games Is always a common theme with them isn’t it. Editing was on point when you couldn’t see properly I felt which makes a change.

    Ying Yang Balls. Now seeing the proper set up it does look really easy which prob didn’t help with how easy he made it look. I wonder if we’ll see someone getting the wrong colour in and has to force it out.

    The dragon with the extra height probably does make it harder than it should. IF it was the same level would it be too easy though?

    Jarhead interaction was nice. Free crystal is free crystal.

    Sandbags I loved the crystal drop.

    Water maze In a fast time and after a second showing its more the medieval key game but in water….

    Puzzle dials where even Richard knows it’s too easy if he’s saying you can just be on the middle, you would’ve thought it would’ve been banned.

    Proper Knightnare pro on the Corridor of Blades there.

    Will anyone beat the planets 3.0?

    Reply
    1. David

      Would puzzle dials be better if they did it was in the pool instead of the magnet jigsaw? Seems like if they made people cross a balance beam or something between the two dials it would (1) be funnier and (2) make the game more interesting if the dials weren’t facing the same direction. Just spitballing though.

      Reply
    2. Brig Bother Post author

      I thought the ball sorting game in Industrial was a pretty good idea, just a few establishing shots away from working on television, so the audience can see how the game actually works. It’s interesting that it’s a game that doesn’t really have time pressure – you will get fifteen balls or you will get automatically locked-in, you’re not going to run out only half done.

      Ashley in the virtual game was incredible. Celebrity Knightmare contestant for sure.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I’m actually surprised there hasn’t been more blindfold-style games in the past, they’re the sort of thing that bring along their own tension. Is there potential for other games with possibly other senses that require more input from the guiding team?

        Reply
      2. David

        I feel like it’d be much better with more frequent ball drops and no limit to the amount of errors, with a smaller time limit. It’s just too slow at the moment, especially for a three minute game.

        Reply
    1. David

      “aCtUaLlY oUr RaTiNgS aRe”nT tHaT bAd If YoU sToP aNd ThInK aBoUt It. wE hAvEn”t RuN tHiS bElOvEd FrAnChIsE iNtO tHe GrOuNd, ReAlLy!!!1!!1!!!!1!!one!!!!” – Crystal Maze producers, 2019.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I think what’s most interesting is that it’s fallen out of the Adults 16-34 top 50, whereas things like Taskmaster, Iain Stirling’s Celebability, Shopping with Keith Lemon, Celebrity Tipping Point, even Hey Tracey! mostly on digital channels (and fair enough, mainly after Love Island) are all featuring.

        Reply
        1. Chris M. Dickson

          I very idly wonder if it can attract better money from advertisers than other shows pulling in similar ratings and demographics because of its name and familiarity. If that isn’t the case, I don’t understand how the show survives…

          Reply
          1. Brig Bother Post author

            Well when it first started advertisers were making special ads with CM references in it for the ad breaks. That stopped pretty quickly.

  21. Danny Kerner

    I have some good authority to confirm filming for the american series has begun. No info regarding hosts has been confirmed.

    Reply
    1. Will Stephen

      That would rule out John Cena wouldn’t it as he was in America on Monday plus any other WWE guy, so the question is. Who is it??

      Reply
      1. Danny Kerner

        Sadly this is probably true unless they are doing six weeks of 3-day recordings. They do it for Ben when recording Tipping point to accommodate other projects. They may have this deal with John to accommodate WWE.

        Reply
        1. Danny Kerner

          Also, there is some sort of evidence to support potentially John Cena. A guy in a photo is wearing wrestling ref gear. A coincidence I think not.

          Reply
  22. Danny Kerner

    I have information regarding US production. From two RDF job listings on Facebook I have worked out it is being recorded in Mid August right up to mid-September. 4 weeks means it will miss the fall lineup so might not go out until the new year. Here are the job listings.

    RDF West is looking for a PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR to join our team for a returning game show for Nickelodeon USA.
    We are looking for someone to help with logistics for families once they arrive in England from America.
    This will involve meeting and greeting the families and distributing information/call sheets/per diems to the families.
    This role could also suit an experienced production secretary.
    This is a Bristol-based role to start on Monday 19th August until Friday 13th September.

    RDF Television is looking for an experienced studio Production Coordinator for a US series of The Crystal Maze. This person would need to be available to start in the next few weeks – the contract will run until mid/late September. Pre-production will take place in the London offices, and filming will be at a studio in Bristol. The role requires working weekdays in Bristol from 19th Aug-6th Sept (3 wks – accommodation provided) – the rest of the weeks will be in London, working alongside a London based PM.

    19th will be definitely day one recording. So if John Cena or any WWE kid-friendly wrestler goes missing for 3-4 weeks the week prior you will almost be sure they are the maze master for the states.

    Reply
    1. Danny Kerner

      Also if any future job listings appear in future regarding the crystal maze will confirm if series 4 has been confirmed by either Channel 4 or any other network if it is rejected by them.

      Reply
    2. Alex

      That date’s interesting. It’s about a week after Summerslam, so if anyone gets egregiously written out then it’ll make sense.

      …Finn Bálor requested a few months off after SS…it could be him.

      Reply
      1. Alex

        I dunno what train of thought I rode to get to “it’s definitely going to be a WWE guy” but there we go. I guess I’m a good decade and a half out of the zeitgeist so I don’t have a clue about any other names in the American kids’ TV sphere. What’s the British woman from Guts been doing lately?

        Reply
        1. Alex McMillan

          I stand by Danny Pudi being the premium choice, but unfortunately he doesn’t seem feasible.

          Ayoade does follow him on Twitter (although that is certainly because Ayoade directed an episode of Community)

          Reply
  23. Brig Bother Post author

    I think the rope swing could have been quite a good game, but really in Old School Crystal Maze there would have been something else to it, a sting-in-the-tail mechanic, like the hook “breaking” and them having to do it again to get back or something. In 2019 where the games are “more multilayered”, this seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.

    It’s interesting that the industrial game with the puzzle has changed from a jigsaw to a slide puzzle. I wonder which it was first? My gut would suggest after the contestant put the pieces in the wrong way round for the camera to catch the code it started off as that then became a slide puzzle to ensure it works for the camera, but it sounds like this was the second episode filmed, so dunno.

    Reply
    1. Danny Kerner

      Well there was mention in the finale that this was the second episode recorded. So i presume the puzzle became a jigsaw after. We will see what is covered more in the second half. i hope this isn’t technically classed as game 30. Maybe the game testers can confirm what variation they faced if not both.

      Reply
      1. Will Stephen

        I mean it’s not the first time a game in the old series got changed half way for being too hard/easy as well. The rubber band game in Aztec got made easier by having marker lines to show which location to put each band.

        Reply
    2. David

      This is the thing though. They keep saying multilayered, but even this many episodes in, all that seems to mean is “do a simple thing multiple times to fill three minutes” and “we took a game from the old version that was already hard and made it even harder”. There’s very very few games that seem to be set at the right difficulty level.

      Reply
      1. Chris M. Dickson

        Co-sign your last sentence.

        Aside from the fact that the show seems willing to insult its viewers (Ayoyade has acknowledged on-screen that it was better in the old days more than once, and at this point I’m just waiting for him to say “and that’s because we just don’t try as hard”) the second most annoying thing about the revival is that the difficulty of the games is often not well-balanced; a substantial proportion of the games seem almost impossible to win, a substantial proportion seem like giveaways, and only a small proportion seem to be likely to have their outcome highly variable. I don’t want there to be deliberately difficult and deliberately easy games, I want all the games to be finely balanced.

        There may be a bit of post hoc ergo propter hoc going on here; as we only see a game ever played a few times, it’s possible that we may read too much into teams’ practical success rates, based on a very small sample size. It’s also a criticism that could have been leveled, to a lesser extent, to the games of the original series. I do think that the quality of the games improved quickly after series one of the original series, and the quality of the games has not improved nearly so much in the revival. Some of the games are really pretty decent, which is why I keep watching despite everything, but it feels like the proportion might be something like a half when it used to be more like three-quarters.

        I also am convinced that standards for earning a crystal are lower than they used to be, in terms of the quantity of gameplay required when games have required similar sorts of activities in the revival to the original – for instance, the sliding puzzles have become much smaller, as have the crawling mazes. Granted there are only 10 chances to win a crystal when there used to be 15/14/13, so some degree of decrease makes sense, but still.

        Reply
        1. David B

          Regarding the last para, I mean… this is very evident, but also just part of the way things need to be. In the old days, you could have experts in particular game types, and aim particular cells at them. In the modern era, you might have five mates from Croydon, or even a team containing Ann Widdecombe. With that raw material, it’s hard to crank up the difficulty levels.

          I was also going to say that the original series was probably a lot more ‘cheaty’ — in that a 3-minute game in reality turned into a 2 minutes game in the edit, or that certain clocks ran faster than reality. But that said, after a quick scoot around YouTube, I’m struggling to find any concrete examples of that, so maybe it didn’t happen as often as I thought.

          I have to say, I’m really finding RA on top form this series, and – whisper it – I may even prefer him now to RO’B. Certainly, he seems unflappable and able to spin comedy out of most situations. Shame is, I just can’t swallow the constant refs to TV language (set, budget, cameraman, format point etc.) that keep breaking the fantasy. I know that’s fun to do sometimes, but it’s pretty relentless.

          Reply
          1. David

            In the old version they used to keep the clock on screen for the entire game, so there wasn’t any way to cheat like that. There’s a few games where the time limits changed from playing to playing, but usually this boils down to either “the previous players finished this three-minute game with 45 seconds left” or “the previous players went like the clappers and still didn’t come close to finishing this two-minute game in time”.

          2. Brig Bother Post author

            This is just it isn’t it? Ayoade *is* funny, and an officious MazeMaster is a fun concept, but undermine the team all you like but don’t undermine the show. The problem with having a “look, we know this is a bit shit and it’s only a TV show” attitude is that the audience starts agreeing. People can look past flaws, but not usually when they’re pointed out constantly.

            I’m a big fan of the phrase “three mins, a good amount of mins.”

          3. Alex McMillan

            I really think this series, more than ever, Richard seems like he *is* enjoying it. Even if he’s keeping up the allusions of ‘that’s because of editing’, it feels a lot more tongue-in-cheek than sardonic. I really do hope we get to see another civilian series, because I imagine Richard made be slightly less cynical again around them. Plus, I don’t want the Eastern zone to be VIP only.

          4. David B

            Re: David, there is a way of cheating the clock even if it stays on the screen, which they did use, but I’m leaving that as an exercise for the reader.

    1. Danny Kerner

      i presume it was all down to the lack of nobodies being involved that week. Just shows if they choose correctly they can get a ratings winner.

      Reply
      1. Jon

        I wouldn’t say the line up was much more high profile this week than any other.

        Reply
        1. Danny Kerner

          yes but less chance of someone saying “i hate [this person] i can’t stand [this person]. I’m expecting Anne’s ep to be a strong number later this year.

          Reply
  24. Chris M. Dickson

    I have just discovered a Blogspot entitled The Crystal Maze Fan Group Blog with scads of good, fannish stuff, including further Cyberdrome memorabilia. (Could well be the case that some of the people over there post over here, too, which would be most welcome.) Most excitingly, it has an interview with one Charlie Wheeler, prominent in the games design team for the TCM Live Experience in the West End. Charlie’s name keeps rolling around from time to time, having displayed ahead-of-his-time prodigious talent in his fan-made Blockbusters opening credits when he was aged 14 or 15.

    Reply
    1. Mr Babbage

      That’s reminded me I need to chase something up, with one thing and another I’ve not been doing much on the site, and this was a fairly big thing I wanted to work with.

      Reply
  25. Philip

    Just curious to know if any body has heard any news as to when the remaining Celebrity episodes for the current series will air. The year is almost over. Has there been any announcements yet? Do you think that they would hold them until next year and just have the Xmas special this year?

    Reply

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