Show Discussion: The Boss

By | April 24, 2017

Weekdays, 2:15pm,
BBC1

Susan Calman is in charge as a team of strangers led by a contestant referred to as ‘the boss’ build up a pot of cash in rounds of questions. Can The Boss stay in power and who will walk away with the cash?

It sounds a bit Weakest Link and a bit Greed. It’s got spinning podiums a bit like The Voice. It’s on for the next four weeks. Let us know what you think in the comments.

42 thoughts on “Show Discussion: The Boss

  1. MrCT2U

    Don’t talk to me about those bloody spinning podiums haha lol

    Reply
  2. Clive of Legend

    Not a bad format, shame they didn’t feel like telling us anything about it. I think we heard the same spiel about the Boss’s Questions three times but nobody bothered explaining the Team’s Questions or challenges.

    Once I figured it out I liked it, but goodness it moves fast. Was worried we’d see the prisoner’s dilemma at the end, but I’m actually okay with the “split or duel” idea.

    Reply
  3. Brig Bother Post author

    I’ll be watching this when I get in, btw, so if you did watch it feel free to leave your thoughts.

    Reply
  4. Andrew 'Kesh' Sullivan

    Might as well give the run-down.

    5 contestants start the game and have 90 seconds of quick-fire questions on the buzzer to determine the first Boss. Whoever answers the most questions correctly gets to choose whether they wish to be the Boss or choose someone else. The Boss then goes on to a raised platform named ‘The Boss’s Office’ and stands with Susan.

    The Boss then faces 5 questions to determine how much money a correct answer in the Team Questions are worth. For the first set, the money ladder goes £10 > £30 > £50 > £70 > £100. Starting on the £10 rung, a correct answer moves up a rung, a wrong answer moves down a rung.

    For the Team Questions, the rest of the team is given 2 minutes of multiple-choice questions with 3 answers. Each member of the team locks in their answers and The Boss picks one of them to answer it. When the time is up, we are shown how many of the questions each team member got correct as well as how much money has been earned. Only issue with these rounds is that Susan reads each question AND the 3 options which wastes time. Also, if a question is in process of being read out when the time expires, it’s thrown out, there’s no ‘started so I’ll finish’ mechanism in place.

    The team is then offered an opportunity to oust the current Boss in an attempt to take their place. If anyone does challenge, their podium spins around to face The Boss’s Office. If multiple people challenge, the current Boss chooses who they wish to take on, but if no-one challenges, the team battle it out amongst themselves. The challenge takes the form of a best-of-3 puzzle duel. As an example, the first was called Word Search. The participants are shown a word, e.g. FABRICS, and are shown 3 words underneath, such as BRICK, BIRDS and SCARF. The idea is to find the one word that can be made out of the letters of the longer word. Whoever loses the duel is out of the show.

    This is repeated twice more. For the second set of Boss’s Questions, the money ladder is £10 > £30 > £50 > £100 > £200, and for the third, the money ladder is £10 > £50 > £100 > £150 > £300.

    For the Final, there are 5 categories, each with a puzzle behind them. The prize pot is split equally between the 5 categories. The Boss and the last remaining team member have 90 seconds to work through the puzzles by having one buzz in to give one answer and the other to provide the second answer. If anyone passes or gives a wrong answer, the puzzle is thrown out and no money is earned. After the time is up, they both face a 5-second countdown. If no-one buzzes in that time, they both split the pot equally, but if someone DOES buzz, they play one last duel to determine who wins the entire pot.

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  5. Greg

    Just watched this on Iplayer. I thought it was good. I am not sure if I like the fact that it is puzzles to beat the boss not questions. I guess it adds a bit of variety. Susan Calman great host for this, bags of personality which this show needs from its host I feel. Unlike some other daytime BBC shows there is a potential for the jackpot to get to about the 10k mark which is not bad for the Beeb.

    When I saw we were going to have a split or steal moment at the end I almost shouted out nooooo. But they put a twist on it which made it easier to stomach and it fitted the premise well.

    Would watch again for sure.

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  6. Cliff

    A pleasant enough format, I won’t be series linking it or anything but if I’m in when it’s on I could quite happily watch it. The end game (the finalists having to give two answers to a single question between them) is probably the most innovative thing about it.

    I think having puzzles instead of questions in the leadership challenges is fine, but I’m not so sure about the share-or-steal twist coming down to a single, simple puzzle rather than something more substantial.

    One slight flaw which really ought to be fixed – and something that today’s boss took full advantage of – is that you get a second or two of extra thinking time after buzzing on the puzzles. They should take the puzzle off the screen as soon as someone buzzes, to ensure that they don’t buzz before they’ve worked out the answer.

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    1. Brig Bother Post author

      The two answers thing was also done on National Lottery Break the Safe, although I quite liked the puzzlier element they added to it here.

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  7. Chris M. Dickson

    A lot to like here. Susan Calman gets the balance right, knowing when to be witty and original, and when to play absolutely straight. (*) Someone above said this was fast-paced; for me, it was a good pace, at a speed that so few quizzes reach here. I do like the puzzles offering variety to break the quizzes up.

    If we assume 12 questions per two-minute round, then perfect play would earn 12 * £100 in round one, 12 * £200 in round two and 12 * £300 in round three, for £7,200 total, which isn’t shabby. That said, as the prize fund potentially gets quintimated several times, it wouldn’t be all that much of a surprise to see the final pair scrabbling over some fairly scratchy three-digit sums from time to time, which… while funny, and while in the right hands, would be anticlimatic.

    Strong contender for the 2017 Hall of Fame!

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  8. Brig Bother Post author

    Well this was the most 2004 show I’ve seen in sometime in both presentation and gameplay back when this sort of thing was pumped out industrially. That’s a very overwrought set and presentation package for a show that’s giving away low four-figure sums at two in the afternoon.

    I mean, it was fine but in being fine it was boring. It had lots of questions in it. It had eliminatory power dynamics. It had a money ladder. It’s game-y and everything in it works and is fine but we’ve seen it all before. It’d be like getting excited over Beat the Pack.

    I thought not having a much needed explanation graphic for Word Search was a bit rubbish, then discovered they could play it *with* an explanation and call it Colour Coded. Ingenious!

    Susan Calman’s the best thing in it by some way.

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  9. Callum J

    Susan should definitely do more game shows, she’s been fantastic in this and Top Class. That being said, I don’t think I enjoyed this as much as ‘!mpossible’, which is my #1 vote for the Hall of Fame this year so far.

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  10. Cheesebiscuits

    I rarely hate something but this is top of my list for hall of shame already. While I would usually enjoy a gameshow with a lot of questions, the constant references to office like words annoys me greatly.

    And while there are a lot a questions, the format around them feels as tacky as the technical words used. A money ladder with five questions but only four spaces to move up confuses me. The only way you’ll end up on the top rung is either getting all five right or only the first wrong. Perhaps the “boss” should be able to pass a question resulting in no movement on the board.

    The idea of the “office” round is sound but the questions are so long only permitting for about 11 to be read. I understand why Susan is required to read out the whole question (to allow the “workers” time to input their answers) but the only thing gained from the inputted answers is “Did you pick the right person?”. This tells us nothing, especially as it doesn’t tell us the questions they got wrong.

    The eliminations are currently structured badly. A best of three feels just a little to short and, as the “boss” had realised, you could buzz in before even seeing the third answer come up. As suggested above, hiding the puzzle may be a good way to prevent this. Having to wait to see if anyone challenged the “boss” is irritating as well.

    And so this repeats. Three times. Decreasing players, Increasing tension, Increasing money. Well, I say increasing money, hopefully the last round isn’t a duff on £10 because some jackpots may be very low.

    Finally the Final. I have to admit, the endgame is quite smart. That choice you have between going for an easy answer and hoping they get the other or spending time working out the harder one to give them the easier one, is quite creative. However, if you really have no clue, say goodbye to a fifth of your jackpot. Realisticly I imagine only about 3/5 of the questions will be fully answered each final so if you already have a low prize it will get worse and if you have a large prize, it will fall apart very quickly.

    And finally (again), the decision to split or play. I’m intruiged that they don’t give them fifteen seconds and give them time to try and convince each other not to. Say start to count down from 15 but they can only press their buzzer in the last 5 seconds. That might increase the drama a little.

    But then one puzzle for the prize? It suddenly falls flat. Atleast give this one the gravitas it needs and make it of equal length as the earlier games (and maybe a little harder). There is no time for you to get excited about who will buzz because someone has already done it.

    Sadly Susan couldn’t even save this one for me. Oh well, I wait with baited breath for Babushka to blow my mind next week.

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  11. Alex

    I haven’t seen this, but OH YES FINALLY a version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma that doesn’t make me want to headbutt pointy things.

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    1. MrCT2U

      Yeah having that decision of whether take your share of the winnings say for example £1,000 or risking it all on a one question shootout to double your money or win diddly squat certainly makes it more interesting indeed.

      Reply
  12. Andrew 'Kesh' Sullivan

    Just noticed. Only one more post on this site and it’ll be the 10,000th! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Ha ha, not quite – every autosave draft gets its own post number as well. There are 2,107 posts, 135 pages and 37,070 (legitimate) comments.

      Reply
      1. Andrew 'Kesh' Sullivan

        Oh, right. Might as well delete this thread then…

        Reply
  13. Mika

    Looked like a fun enough format, but as I saw someone else said somewhere, the tone and budget don’t really align. For a serious feeling show, a barely four-digit prize seems kinda silly.

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  14. Steve

    I watched the first episode and I think I liked it, but I think I liked it mostly because of Susan rather than the game itself. When I try to mentally substitute other hosts in her place, it doesn’t feel as fun anymore. I hope she gets to host more quizzes.

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  15. Paul

    Interesting. People here are more positive than people on social media.

    Reply
    1. Des Elmes

      Probably stating the obvious here, but many people on social media aren’t as open-minded. 😉

      Reply
  16. Brig Bother Post author

    856k/14.1%, I’m told.

    Actually a very reasonable start, but with the usual episode 1 caveats – that’s about what The Code was getting towards the end of last week, and that one episode is not a trend.

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  17. Tom H

    I don’t hate this, but from a stylistic point of view it sounds a bit naff to have such a small audience – would actually benefit from some canned laughter as opposed to the slightly awkward titters peppering the show.

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    1. Cliff

      I did wonder why there was raucous laughter when the contestant offered “Emma” as the first name of Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James. Did a large section of the audience think it ridiculous that a novel like that could’ve been written by a woman?

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      1. Matt Clemson

        Oh, no, it’s just that his train of thought was clearly going through two other names, and then Emma crops up completely out of the blue for his answer.

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  18. Danny Kerner

    I have now seen two episodes to give it a chance & sadly it’s not sunk well with me. In honest truth I wish they didn’t axed the Edge. That had skills & replayability & in truth I’m surprised they didn’t license it out for an arcade package

    Reply
  19. David

    I think the round to determine who gets to decide who the boss is at the beginning is too long- instead of to time, have it so it’s first to three right answers, with a wrong answer knocking you out. Maybe that would free enough time so that in the team question rounds, so long as the question has been started the team can lock in and the boss can pick if time runs out.

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    1. Delano

      The Algorithm (TV3, same tune), The 21st Question and The Million Pound Drop methinks.

      Whatever Marc Sylvan is composing (alone or with long-time partner Richard Jacques) seems to be copied from his earlier works. And personalized by dropping/raising the pitch and/or mixing tracks.

      Compare and contrast with Paul Farrer for example.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        Richard Jacques is a funny one – his videogame stuff is frequently outstanding, but his TV stuff with Marc Sylvan does very little for me.

        Paul Farrer’s themes aren’t usually greatly exciting but he has an incredible ability to come up catchy BGM and clock music.

        Reply
  20. Liam Davis

    Personally it’s an okay game show..

    But…. it needs some big tweaks to be better. At the start it should be a knockout round, where all 5 take on the questions given, whomever buzzes in and gets a question right can lock a player out, get it wrong they are out. Play goes on until one player is standing and that player becomes the boss. Then we play the game as normal. Then for the two players, instead of having the collected money being split up into 5 topics, it’s at £500 per puzzle that can be solved, however instead of it getting locked in place for getting it wrong a new puzzle can be offered. At the end both players choose on either they want to split or battle for the final round. If they split it’s an equal share, but if they battle, it’s a head to head quiz off with the first person to 5 points win.

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  21. Brig Bother Post author

    Bank Holiday caveat but this apparently got 1.08m yesterday.

    It’s looking like one of the best performing quizzes in the slot since The Link!

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  22. Brett Linforth

    I watched it for the first time yesterday and quite liked it. It’s by no means perfect but at no point did I feel that any part of the show could be scrapped – the pacing was just about right. Perhaps the team questions would be better if they lost the multiple choice options? Could it solely rely on The Boss’s chosen staff members ability to answer the question correctly as to whether cash is banked? I like the puzzles used – they ensure variety in the questions. Also, having not seen Top Class, this was my first experience of Susan Calman as a quiz host and she is a real find, easily the show’s biggest benefit! I’d happily watch it again

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  23. Scousegirl

    On today’s show, when asked “Which Star Trek character was played by Leonard Nimoy?”, a contestant answered “Dr Spock” which Susan accepted as correct!
    Good job it wasn’t crucial 😉

    Reply
    1. Crimsonshade

      A contestant appeal was made by the continuity announcer at the end of Friday’s show.

      Reply
    2. Callum J

      Great news! I really liked The Boss, not as good as !mpossible, but definitely better than some of the BBC’s other recent daytime shows.

      Reply

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