So last night I saw the premiere if SyFy US’ Total Blackout, the format that’s been quietly sweeping large parts of the world.
In it, people are challenged to do and identify things in total darkness, and as such their imaginations are encouraged to run away with them. For example, the contestants are led to four boxes and have to identify the things inside, some innocuous, some less innocuous (cockroaches, a pineapple, an octopus and a bra in the first episode, for example). Or taste things (that are of course lying on bodies - like champagne or a cherry). Or smell things (peanut butter, a sweaty shoe, a man’s armpit). After each round the contestants simultaneously jump on a trap door, with the person who performed the least well falling through it. The last person standing wins $5,000.
It’s not particularly exciting from a format perspective – you’ve basically seen much of it before elsewhere but not in a warehouse – but the tone is much lighter (ironically) than, for example, Fear Factor. Watching people trying to build up the courage to put their hand in a mystery box, shriek and then discover it’s completely innocuous (there’s a lot of laughing-at-themselves interview splicing) is mildly amusing for a little while but I don’t really know how much longevity it has. Apparently episode two is a couples edition and much funnier, and I know the Scandinavian versions push the fear element a bit more, but I’m intrigued to see how many different ways they have to dress up the same idea.
I may do a proper feature on this soon as it appears to be becoming a thing. It got off to a very good start audience wise, apparently.