The 8 Show

By | April 11, 2024

This looks Very Much The Sort Of Thing We Like, a new Format Of Death K-Drama starting on Netflix 17th May, apparently based on the web series Money Game. What’s on Netflix, via AsianWiki, has the plot down thus:

“8 people in need of money are invited to appear on reality variety show Money Game. The 8 people are to stay at the studio that consists of nothing but concrete walls. If they are able to hang in there for 100 days, they can divide the winning prize of 44.8 billion won equally. But, everything they spend for, including necessities like food, water, electricity, costs 1,000 times more than normal prices and are deducted from the winning prize.”

99 to Beat

By | April 3, 2024

I don’t know who’s giving the ITV commissioners a kick up the backside recently but TVZone reporting this evening they’ve just commissioned another interesting format, 99 to Beat. Not a massive fan of the title to be honest, prefer the Dutch title, De Alleskunner (the all-rounder) but there we are.

In it, 100 players take part in 99 games in a warehouse – largely simple stuff, think Taskmaster tiebreak. The aim is very simple: just don’t come last in any of them, because if you do you’re eliminated. After eight episodes and 99 games, the final person left standing wins a significant cash prize (which I’m assuming will be something like £99,000).

As you can anticipate, segments are quick and the games are largely simple. It’s been a sort of low key hit on the continent, a couple of countries bought it as quite cheap Summer filler and it’s ended up doing rather better numbers than anyone anticipated, it’s been running in Belgium in one form or another since 2018, it’s on its sixth series in the Netherlands which has also had celebrity spin-offs, a fifth is about to happen in Germany.

There are two full series of the Dutch show on Youtube if you want an idea. Doubtless the ITV one will have slightly different production values. Banijay are making it.

Edit: thanks to FOTB Tom F who wrote this in the Discord:

Right right as someone who actually took the time to sit down and watch a season of De Alleskunner let me give some thoughts:

  • The show is fast – they have to get through 10 events per episode, so a 5 min cycle of “explain, setup, start, game happening, tense moment as things shake out for the last few, loser identified, breathe, tearful farewell, applause, and straight into the next thing”
  • Despite this, after about 4 episodes, you do start to “know” the cast. “ah, there’s the journalist woman”, “oh no, not the redhead, I liked her”, etc…. They always briefly profile the “worst” 3 or 4 in each game, so if someone is an underdog who keeps cheating death, they’ll naturally become a main character.
  • If you watch closely, you’ll see similar ideas (an A or B quiz, an estimating challenge, something stolen from a legit sport, and yes, lots of student-party style ‘carry/stack/throw’ games) come up again and again. As the numbers get lower, we get some more serious set pieces, like climbing or go-karting (and some things that are council duels on Fort Boyard). On numbers like 64, 32, and 27, you can expect an N-player mini-tournament.
  • The games are gleefully, industrially, cheap. The chairs are cheap. The balls are cheap. Every single prop is cheap and looks naff. The set is the warehouse from Dutch Genius, but somehow worse.
  • IMO the best reference point is the Squid Games: The Challenge – that would be my guess as to why this got the green light now.
  • The magic is all in the tone – The disembodied voice in the dutch version is fairly snarky, catchphrase “There are 74 of you… but not for long”, and introduces each game and dismisses each contestant with a bad pun. The cast are mostly a friendly happy-go-lucky bunch. But the prize is serious, and losing doesn’t just mean missing the prize, but leaving the show but missing out on 98 more interesting challenges – so they do care. This means the audience are on a constant roller-coaster between silly, frantic, tense, and heartbroken – the light and dark of Belgian Mole on 8x speed.
  • Honestly, it feels very Dutch, and I don’t know if it will translate well — the balance of snark and wholesome, in particular, is very fine and might just feel weird on an ITV Saturday night.
  • A cosmetic point, but personally I think calling it the allrouder and making it about Just not being the worst in 99 things is much more compelling than 99-to-beat, which surely will just make people think of 1V100 and 1% club.

23 Days

By | March 27, 2024

As Bother’s Bar, a dying site representing a dying genre in a dying medium meanders towards its twentieth birthday (April 19th, don’t get overexcited), an increasingly expensive signpost to its rather more dynamic Discord (deets in the sidebar), you might want to know some things that are happening in that Discord this weekend:

  • It’s Schlag den Star on Saturday! 7:15pm UK, our clocks won’t have have gone forward yet so consider that if you want to come and join our watchalong.
  • We’re having a Jackbox and Friends Night on Sunday, 8pm UK (our clocks *will* have changed by then), come and join us for some interactive fun featuring Jackbox and similar things.

In other news, who’s been following the Marble Survival 100? 100 daily races (they’re up to 31 now) with all your favourite Jelle’s Marble Run teams battling it out to avoid weekly elimination in a series of minute-long races. Greg “Woodsie” Woods has maintained commentary enthusiasm throughout, will he still be as excited in another two months time? I can’t wait to find out. Somehow my Thunderboiz are still in the competition, in typical “useless but not quite useless enough to finish bottom” style and if they can maintain that all the way to the end then by default they will win.

This image spotted on the Remarkable website looks quite glam and sexy. I’m glad they dropped the “The”.

A new Fort Boyard game has been announced, The Challenges of Father Fouras, June 27th, if it gets a UK release I will OF COURSE have a video showing off the new (10) games, this time your adventure is governed by one of six modifiers, a bit like what they’ve been doing on the French show the last few years.

52.202175, 0.128179

By | March 23, 2024
  • Great news! the new Flemish series of De Mol starts tomorrow (Sunday) night. It is the best version of the show by a distance, that it’s still consistently coming up with creative, funny and dramatic challenges a decade since the reboot started is incredible really. Last year in the US we had a movie-inspired set of games, including an escape room set on a bus that couldn’t drop below 50mph, this year we’re in Sicily and we’ll be very disappointed if The Mole doesn’t get to leave a horse’s head in a contestant’s bed at one point. It is, unfortunately, a pain in the arse to watch with subs these days but if you’re willing to put effort in then it’s usually possible, keep an eye out on #molchat in the BB Discord (link in the sidebar) for news.
  • Physical 100 returned on Netflix on Tuesday! Episodes drop variously across the next two Tuesdays. It remains deliciously shot and directed, doing a lot with a massive dark studio and spotlights. It is questionable whether the opening challenge’s sea of treadmills is quite as strong visually as last year’s opener with 16-stone guys raining into a swimming pool. It’s a shame that the new-and-improved Murderball quest fills another two episodes, but even these feel more entertaining than last time. We really like the Maze quest introduced in episode four, played out three times so far but each one playing out slightly differently in terms of tactics.
  • Jungle? Check. Paradise? Check. Trust? Check. Netflix have blended their reality staples and come up with Fight for Paradise: Who Can You Trust? dropping 23rd April.
  • Monday at 9pm features a titanic multichannel battle of Loaded in Paradise series 2 on ITV2 AND ITVX, the first series of which I really got into and I’m pleased is returning, and The Underdog: Josh Must Win on E4 where celebs must try and rig a reality competition so Josh the loser nerd ends up winning over everyone else. Big ‘London media types will like this, general audience nonplussed’ energy about this one, but we’ll see.
  • Finally Celebrity Big Brother ended last night with a whopping 1.7m viewers. My early bet on Fern Britton winning didn’t pay off – where was the Fred Dinenage goss Fern? Anyway:

Lots of fun spin here so lets analyse:

  • Anytime anyone mentions “streams” take them with a pinch of salt, the numbers are nebulous at best, even if they capitalise MILLION to make it look impressive. We’ve no idea if that’s across the 17 main episodes, L&L and/or the live streaming. We know the first week’s episodes added about a million to their overnights.
  • Late and Live being ITV2’s highest rating show every night says more about ITV2 than L&L, bumping along around 400k consolidated.
  • Where the show probably has earned a second go *is* in its moneymaking A16-34s. We know from Thinkbox the Launch did 700k on televisions which slid to 400k by the end of the week, but we’re aware it was also doing around 300k in devices which won’t show up in those numbers and it’s fair to assume (although we *are* assuming) at least half are going to fall into that demo. These are not stratospheric numbers – Love Island will do better, The Apprentice will do better, even Taskmaster will do better, but they are extremely solid numbers that would be top ten most weeks of the year and getting them on a nightly basis, and provided the following fortnight’s numbers hold up then it’s done alright. I don’t doubt that overall the numbers are lower end of what they were hoping, but BB did alright for itself, CBB can be worked on.
  • All the losing finallists getting their interview on ITV1 and the winner getting it on ITV2 is rubbish though.

It’s the new Ultra Quiz

By | March 18, 2024

Alright, look, can people stop announcing stuff about half an hour after I’ve just done a perfunctory “We’re not dead” post? Thanks.

Amazon Prime have announced Beast Games. Mr Beast’s hosting, 1000 contestants, one top prize of $5m (“biggest single prize in TV history”, provided you don’t count The X Factor US, presumably). That’s basically the story. I’m presuming it will be a “lighter” version of Squid Game: The Challenge, essentially.