Totally Top Trumps
It's very difficult to dislike Challenge TV really. In the past year they've made their own version of Fort Boyard (which in my opinion was slightly better than Channel 5's version), they've given us the marvellous Jesse May Gambling Ninety Minutes (the slightly above average Casino Casino and the excellent Celebrity Poker Club) and now they've given us their own take on the celebrity panel quiz based on the card game Top Trumps.
For the uninitiated (that would be everyone below the age of ten, then), Top Trumps were special packs of cards all based around a certain theme. Trucks, for example. On each card would be, say, a picture of a certain truck and a list of lots of statistics to do with that truck. A player would turn over their top card and read off a statistic. Their opponent would turn over their top card and read off the same statistic. Whichever was better (faster, harder, whateverer) is the 'top trump' and the winner claims their opponents card to add to the bottom of their deck. The winner gets to be in control of the next go as well. The one who gets all the cards wins.
The first impression you get when you watch it through is that, actually, this is a pretty good idea for a quiz, isn't it? The show is split up into four rounds. In round one our teams are given a set of four people or things. They're given two subjects and have to work out which thing is the Top Trump. Round two sees lists of things being read out and on the buzzers our teams have to work out what Top Trump deck they could all come from. Round three is the Live Trump where an experiment is carried out in the studio and our teams have to predict which of the guinea pigs will be the most extreme at something. Finally there's a buzzer round where a thing and a number come up and the teams have to work out what the statistic is. Occasionally there are bonus questions where several of the Top Trumps fall into their own subcategory and points are given for deciding which of those are the Top Trump.
So far, so logical. So fair enough.
Each team consists of a resident team captain and a celeb (not bad celebs, B- list). Regular quizzer (i.e. I've heard of him) Jack Waley-Cohen keeps score and has been relegated to Statto position behind a bar.
Where the show tends to fall down a bit is that it's meant to be comedy. What we actually get is rather a lot of tumbleweed moments, especially the fake answers in the buzz in rounds. It's a bit of a shame really, as it does make watching it quite tough. Also: why do the teams have buzzers for round two but are relegated to small musical instruments for round four? It's not particularly funny and is surely a pointless step backwards.
In summary we're left with a bit of dilemma. On the one hand, they're trying too hard and it shows. On the other hand, it's actually not a bad format. Hmm.
Host: Andy Goldstein