Show Discussion: Boyard Land

By | December 21, 2019

Saturday, 8pm (GMT) / 9PM (CET)
France 2

…and hopefully Youtube.

It’s not every day you get an entertainment show that lasts thirty years. Even fewer that after thirty years get their own spin-off series (A Question of Sport: Super Saturday?).

But here we are, and it looks like it’s got a budget to boot. Willy Rovelli opens up Pere Fouras’ old theme park (where he made his golden fortune, before falling in love with a fairy and exiling himself to Fort Boyard) to two teams of celebs, who armed with an initial 100 Boyards, will go round the park and its various rides and events trying to earn more gold for their chosen charities. Unfortunately for the celebs, the traditional sideshow games have been given a Boyard-esque twist, with games promising to be equally funny and horrible. In the end, teams will race to climb an 18m ferris wheel – whether this is as iconic as the Treasure Room remains to be seen.

Really it’s amazing more people haven’t used theme parks and carnivals as a base setting for something – they have a natural inclination towards games of skill and chance and unusual fun other things. Adventure Line seems to have gone pretty all-in on this and we hope it all works out for them (although not to the extent they stop putting effort into Fort Boyard, obv.) Four episodes to come.

Also of interest on France 5 on Sunday 22nd December at 4:30pm GMT, a documentary film Les maîtres des jeux télé, promising more footage of the Fort Boyard pilot. I’ll have to watch that on catch-up, but an exciting potential Christmas present!

37 thoughts on “Show Discussion: Boyard Land

  1. David

    Looks like that documentary is on French gameshows in general, which should be interesting…

  2. steve

    sounds like itll be fun but i’ve tried with fort i just cant get into that i have no idea what saying but those that can hope you enjoy it

  3. Lee Turner

    While it isn’t Fort Boyard it does just fine as its own show. Nice to see both teams actually win some money for the charities.
    Interesting to see they got inspiration from Desert Forges, Gladiators and Takeshi’s Castle.
    Glad it was more focused on the fun side rather than scary.
    Good that they didn’t edit any of the games in terms of timers.

    Downside will be the limited amount of games they have. But for 4 episodes it may be ok.
    Will be watching next week that’s for sure.

  4. Brig Bother Post author

    Bit of a mixed-bag this. Largely fun with some good ideas… but it’s not Fort Boyard – it’s a pretty different beast that’s largely going to trade off the back of its mother show. That’s a fair enough decision of course, if you’ve got it you might as well flaunt it, but for me it was enjoyable without being all that compelling.

    I thought the games were pretty good (even if some of them were direct lifts from Gladiators and Takeshi’s Castle, and others using old FB and Desert Forges setpieces). The strategy required for the flying chairs is clever and fun (and not something you’d initially think of doing on such apparatus). The Clown House was a v. decent reimagining of a menotte-style game. Disappointed there was no actual rollercoaser on the Boyard Coaster although it’s nice to see a game with a given time limit actually being shown without the elision. Mini Golf a bit unfortunate with how it played out – presumably they want the contestant to get in the grave but she found a smart way out of doing it. Mainly surprised by the lack of horror relative to FB, the games largely lack will they/won’t they moments that’s made FB so compelling over the years. In the non-scary games, I didn’t really feel like I was watching someone do something impressive. Amusing sometimes yes, but nothing that felt like a “moment” that FB challenges are still able to provide on a good day.

    Big Wheel end game not especially iconic to be honest. It felt like something that would make for a decent FB Adventure but lacks something as a grand denouement. It doesn’t have the sense of being worked towards, having everything in the show preceding it feeding into it or much in the way of tension or jeopardy.

    I really like the idea of paying more money for more time/a better chance at a game. Televisually though I don’t think the calibration is *quite* there, 5B/10B to win 20B doesn’t feel like all that great a return, and indeed I wonder how worth it paying those extra Boyards for a 25% advantage is worth it in the long run. It’s a really interesting idea that’s worth playing with though. My ultimate feelings throughout is that I hadn’t especially bought into wanting the teams to do particularly well or badly.

    Enjoyed the presentation and characters in the main, spent a good couple of minutes racking my brains to try and consider who’d play the Fairy in a UK version. Music not quite doing the same thing for me it does in FB (although they’ve clearly lifted the key changes wholesale). I think the way they’ve run with the theme park theme throughout is pretty well done all told – the map is a great idea.

    What makes this difficult to judge is that I’m not 12 years old in the same way I was when I first saw Fort Boyard, so I’m seeing a pretty good show whereas if I was a kid I might have loved it.

    1. Tom F

      The fairy is brilliant, up there with Avanti’s Jinx as one of the Top Gameshow Characters.
      At first I was thinking Rose Matafeo would be perfect, but I actually think you’d be better with a more actor-y comedian, an Ingrid Oliver or Jessica Hynes type.

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I’ve just had Roisin Conarty as an idea in my head all day, although it’d probably be played slightly differently.

    2. Chris M. Dickson

      I was thinking of giving this a pass until you commented on the decrease in intensity from trad. Fort Boyard, and I may well be unusual in welcoming the step down. This was very, very all right, without threatening seriously to get particularly far into “good”. I enjoyed trying to work out the inadvertent callbacks and how many different shows this could be compared to; it’s perhaps disappointing that there was little truly novel. It’s almost as if someone is trying to do Epic Game Show, but compressing a whole series of parts of other shows into a single episode.

      This comparison is, of course, fatuous; while we might think “well, that round’s just Pyramid from Gladiators“, but France never had its own version of the big G, so fair enough. Likewise, a comparison to the Cubiscus from Families at War is not something that’s going to be thought of by French audiences; there was never a native French Fun Maison so the Fun Kart Grand Prix may be original to them. I don’t think even the original stuff felt particularly new; there was almost a feel of Scavengeurs to some of the games, and as much as I felt the “grab the bear” motif was appropriate and jolly, I still ended up giving it Thumbs Up.

      The whole thing looked excellent, but merely conventionally excellent rather than transcendent and ground-breaking. I’m glad to get the impression that there will be at least a little variety from week to week, though the biggest set pieces will rightly get played each time. (Also worth noting that there were very few instances of the two teams doing the same thing, one after each other; I’m happy that they’ve dialed up the novelty, even at the expense of obvious fairness.) I don’t really feel the need to give it a second go, though.

      I did skip most of the way through between the games, and even through some of the games, and don’t particularly feel I missed too much, though I did go back to see (and hear) the Fairy. Presumably they’ll be trying to sell the format to other countries where the Boyard name has any currency, because it’s too exciting a set not to do so. Given that most other countries’ versions of the Fort are much less flabby than the French original these days (which I consider to be the 12″ Fort Boyard remix, plus two parts Gladiators, plus one part The Cube, plus surely some other stuff as well) it would be tempting to wonder how other countries might cut this down to a more conventional single hour. But does the feel of the show inherently doom it to skew young demographically, where budgets are surely more tight? It would be a very expensive kids’ show for most countries.

  5. Liam Davis

    Okay, after watching the first episode, I felt like the show was quite a fresh feeling to the Fort Boyard format. With a duel game style it does make it feel nice to have two teams to battle.

    Now a few things though are a little picky.. The fact that there’s too much clustered into the show for a 2 hour plus show.. Naturally i would change the game up a little bit. For example.

    The show starts with a team duel to earn control of the game. The winners then go off to their game first as the opponents go next. After two single games are played, then another duel game happens, then another set solo games, then one of the mandatory duels set by Willy either the arcades, the bear search or the museum of marvels then two more games and then another mandatory Willy challenge and then the final solo games making it a total of 12 events. After that the Ferris Wheel for one last push for tickets than boyards. Winning that will give the teams a final tally to take on the big top (Treasure Room styled finale)

    In the Big Top, the teams will try to collect as much popcorn as they can within their time limits determined on how many tickets collected from each team. The more popcorn collected the bigger the reward. The big top has a massive popcorn machine which dispenses popcorn and each person is given a popcorn shovel to collect as much as they can and placing it into their own buckets. Depending on how many tickets gained in the games determines the length of time for the popcorn collection. For example over 300 tickets collected will give the team full time of 4 minutes.

    But that’s my opinion.

  6. Rob Francis

    Just a note to say that I interviewed Anthony “Stake Out” Davis last week for the TV Booth Podcast. It’ll be available for download on January 6th via all the usual podcast providers. 🙂

  7. Mart With An Y Not An I

    I know Chatsworth Television produced a non-broadcast pilot for Channel Four after The Crystal Maze finished called ‘The Magic Carnival’.

    Was Boyard World, a reworking of this format – because it reads like BW found some of its cues from that show.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      No don’t think so, in fact we were discussing The Magic Carnival on the SdS Watchalong last week. Boyard Land mainly exists because Adventure Line’s creative director recently moved near a theme park, apparently.

  8. David

    My thinking going into it was “If this show didn’t have the Boyard branding, would it still work?” And I think it did for the most part.

    If my quick math is right, if a team went for the lower ticket option on the solo team games. and won every game, duel, and the Ferris Wheel climb, they would end up with 471 Boyards. Conversely, if a team went for the higher option on each game, and lost all the games, they’d end up with 36 Boyards. (And a team can go for the higher option in the solo games and still get over the 400 mark). And since in most of the duels one team has to win, it looks like the producers are thinking a total combined win between the teams of about €15,000 (one team in the 150-250 range, and one in the 200-300 range give or take a bit- the Ferris Wheel is basically worth €4000-€5000 to the winners because of the category jumps)

    I think it’s solid- is it a one-and-done? Maybe, maybe not (if it holds the numbers the other 3 eps, I lean towards another run), but the producers can feel good about this- it holds the legacy of the show well, but again, if it was an entirely new IP, I think it’d work on its own.

  9. Mika

    Up on the Youtubes (unofficially) here –

    I thought it was… nice, but, like… 45 minutes too long. I feel like this would’ve been a lot better as an hour-long format rather than near two hours. And it was a weird mix of good pacing for most of the time, but when they padded with the vignettes, boy howdy did they pad. And a few of the games felt that little bit too long (the Fairy, the sports arenas, and love the crane game but that one was way too long for what it was).

    Really like the personalities in here, though. They really fit, and add their own touches.

    Agreeing that the big wheel, while a really nice challenge, and a great set piece, it just doesn’t really work for me as a final game. Wish there was something they could’ve done that used all members of the team somehow. And I do like “The more Boyards you win, the bigger your prize” idea so both teams’ scores matter, it feels like it should’ve been more like a Gladiators-esque “Make the total/difference mean something in the final game”.

    But I do think it was nice. Loved the presentation, the setting, the theme. Just wish the game had a little more to it.

  10. Will Stephen

    I did skip alot of the vignettes and lead up to alot of the games, definitely alot of stuff that can be trimmed down, but I still enjoyed it.

    Also agree that the wheel as the final game isn’t great. Using the 7 Doors game with each team member being used (perhaps locked inside each room like a bushtucker type trial?) may make a better end game.

    I didn’t like the idea of the teddy being replaced as a key almost, but as the episode carried on, it felt totally in place with everything.

    1. Lee Turner

      I still half expected the teddy bear to explode when they ran out of time on the roller coaster game.

  11. Lee Turner

    Few new games this week. Keeps the show fresh.
    Quite enjoyed the Snakes in the mine game.

    Not sure what happend at the end. We got like a 5 minute preview for the next episode. And then it ended mid game.

  12. Brig Bother Post author

    Catching up on last night’s episode, I thought the Mine Train was excellent as a medley of scary Boyard adventures and looked great – an excellent example of something that’d be quite difficult to pull off on the Fort because of space considerations (although they could probably do it in the various bunkers).

    Also thought Chambowling was a good Boyard-style skill game with the modern comedy trappings.

    1. TVs Michael Harmstone

      I was thinking about this after watching Mine Train – I suspect they could probably do it if they got rid of Fosse (which I think most people have been expecting will go at some point soon). It’s the only space I can think of that is underutilised and could probably fit the Mine Train in there.

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I’m interested to know if the underground rooms on the fort are useable, maps suggest there’s quite a few with nothing apparently in them.

  13. Brig Bother Post author

    “Did” a Tweet thread earlier, going to post it here for future posterity:

    – Right some musings on the #boyardland economy. The set up is quite interesting – for most games teams buy into a game for 5 Boyard (from an opening 100 pot) OR they can buy a 25-50% time suppliment for an additional 5B, with a successful completion winning 20B.

    – It’s a really interesting mechanic worth exploring. But right now I don’t think the return is greatly televisual psychologically – most of the time an even money (occasionally 3-1 if the team is feeling exciting) for what is usually a pretty big task.

    – Compare to a pay-1-win-20 for mini duel games (which they’ll face five times, plus the Freak Show which I will get to) , or pay-0-to-10-win-30 for duels on the big attractions.

    – I reckon 25 would much better psychological return, for not a massive outlay – feels properly worth winning. But it’s all very well when I’m not paying, so I reckon you could reduce the main attraction duel prize to 25B, and/or the mini duels to 15B. Probably ‘or’…

    – … rather than ‘and’ though. Finally I’d increase the prize in the Freak Show/Museum of Wonders to 25 a question/task up from 20, if only to avoid situations where it may be pointless…

    – Prize money is calculated by which band you fall into on a scale, and each threshold is 50B. If you go into it with 201B and win twice, you leave with 241B before the Big Wheel race, the segment is pointless for you.

    – ‘Winning’ is not that important in so much that both teams are paid off (the Big Wheel pays 100B for the winners which will bump them up two bands – an extra €4,000 usually), so it’s important to try and make every game worthwhile really.

    – Alternatively, the show is not wedded to round numbers, why not make it 4/8B?

    – Finally, because the winners don’t especially matter, don’t keep shifting the money graphic around, keep red on top/left and white on bottom/right.

    – Join me next time for You Can’t Just Throw These Things Together, thanks very much.

    A few more things I’d like to add:

    – I’m not a great fan of fixed point games, especially towards the end of a show, for these reasons: either everything rests on it or it’s completely pointless. Boyard Land gets round that with the way the teams are paid off, but the banding system introduces a new issue of its own with the Freak Show.

    – Adventure Line has good musicians working for them, surely, SURELY we can do better than the Apple iPhone alarm as a sound effect?

  14. Lee Turner

    Couple new games this week. Do think the endgame might need a change. Especially after this week’s outcome

    1. Mathew Palmieri

      I think they will, assuming it returns for next year (judging by the ratings, it likely, tho not holding my breath) Something similar happened with the parent show: Instead of “clue phase for unlockeing treasure room gold” it was the faster they got the x amount of keys to open the door, the more remaining time they have in a obstacle course though the treasure room to reach the gold, collect it, and get out before it runs out.

  15. Brig Bother Post author

    New games last night:

    The Enigma: It’s an (automated) Pere Fouras riddle with contestants on retracting planks above a pool of baby crocodiles. Of all the things the show has borrowed, this one doesn’t go far *enough* with its Dero Planks of Doom homage and is a pity. First one to shout out the correct answer wins, loser takes a dive. (Duel)

    The Carousel: It’s Speed Bizutage/Hazing on a moving carousel! Run round the carousel climbing poles to open the boxes which come in pairs, each pair has a cuddly toy in it. Find three cuddly toys to win. (1m/1m30)

    Suspension Bridge: Cross the Suspension Bridge whilst Mr Moustache and Ms Beard swing it about wildly. Last night featured the dictionary definition of heroic failure. (2/3 attempts)

    Also, End Game Spoiler, they somehow arranged to tie (splitting the cash) and the lever isn’t as bolted on as you’d assume.

    I gather the fourth ep is Jan 18th rather than this coming Saturday.

    1. Mika

      Feels like Enigma could’ve worked better as a chess clock type game.

      Suspension Bridge is a cool idea, but they either need to add a clock to it, or do *something* so it’s not “watch someone slowly snake across a bridge”. I hate to imagine how long it actually took in-person to run, and I was bored just watching it.

      Carousel I’m not a huge fan of. Having trouble thinking of it right now, but surely there could have been SOMETHING better than “single player bizutage”.

      Speaking of backseat producing, I actually had this thought after the first episode, but you know what game they should have stolen the end-game from, and it would’ve fit in perfectly with both the theme AND the location? The end-game of Storm the Castle, a one-off American take on Takeshi’s Castle from the 90s. Basically a bumper boat course with balloon popping (replace it with teddy/Boyard collecting?), and you could even end it with an easier climb up the wheel for someone as a final highlight as the last bit of the course.

      Or, heck, just take that middle game of searching the cabins (which is nice, but rather way too long for what it is), turn THAT in a relay or something so the whole team participates. That’d be a pretty decent finale.

      In any case, three eps in, and my opinion is still the same: Looks amazing, 75% of the games are rather creative and nice, but there’s way too much padding, one or two dead games, and this really could have just been an hour and I’d be happy.

  16. Lee Turner

    Pretty sure this was the first episode recorded. Since they seem to have changed the amount of boyards you could win in certain games. As well as really lower the time limit in the Train mine.

    Overall. I have enjoyed the series. A nice little behind the scenes to finish off the episode.

    1. Nico W.

      I think Mr. Moustache just confirmed on his Instagram that they will return. Probably means another season of Boyard Land has been ordered, but maybe he will come to Fort Boyard, I can’t say for sure. I haven’t seen any ratings for Boyard Land since the first episode.

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        It’s hugely successful amongst pre-teens, although I suspect there’s a rather large story to be told by what ISN’T being said by the ALP Twitter, if you catch my drift.

        1. Lee Turner

          You mean like.. these numbers?
          EPISODE 1: 2.62 million and 12.3%
          EPISODE 2: 2.19 million and 11%
          EPISODE 3: 2.10 million and 10%
          EPISODE 4: 1.83 million and 9.8%

  17. Jason

    I got around to watching this over the weekend, so chucking my thoughts into the pot…

    * As others have mentioned, I noted how heavily they were borrowing from other formats (their own, Gladiators, Takeshi’s Castle etc). If it gets another series I hope they’ll continue that diversification of games rather than “Fort Boyard… but in a theme park”
    * I was impressed how well the larger cast worked – Willy Rovelli did a great job (although they could do even more with his crazy energy), and I think Passe Moilesucre, La Fee Roni and Passe Nullepart were all great picks.
    * Nice to hear some new music, but was a little disappointed how much they lifted straight from Fort Boyard.

    * The show ran a little slow at times – I suspect they could fit this in a 1h30m slot without any real loss.
    * I think there are some balance issues with the solo challenges – La Train de la Mine was particularly evil (even with the amended clocks). The risk-reward factor is also an issue in places, so I wonder if they could also make the challenges easier or harder rather than time-based or turn-based.
    * Seeing Eric Antoine (Magic Academy) and Vincent Lagaf (Megagaf) showed the chemistry that Fort Boyard has – e.g. Eric messing around and Passe Muraille / Pass-Ivite driving off and leaving him behind!

    From what Lee mentioned, it did solid numbers – so hopefully we’ll see it back for another run!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.