The Lie

By | April 2, 2014

Prosaic quiz week continues! TV3’s 3 Studios have prepped The Lie and Crossfire for international sales and whilst Crossfire is basically really boring, I reckon The Lie might have the chance of being a minor success. It’s already had one series in Ireland fronted by Jonathan McCrea, and a Scottish version fronted by comedian Susan Calman began on Monday and if you’re in the UK should be viewable on the STV site.

It’s a simple game – couples are shown a group of statements and must decide within a minute which one is false. The prizes start at £100 at level one (which is the demonstration level as it only has one statement which has to be a lie), £250 at level two (two statements), £500, £750, £1000, £1500, £2500, £5000 and finally £10,000 at level nine which has nine statements. Players get eight categories to play levels 2-9 with. Contestants get one chance during a game to bank money after a level to guarantee a prize – the longer they leave it the more they guarantee but if they haven’t banked and give a wrong answer they leave with nothing, and of course they can bail after each round. After level four they get a “lucky three” lifeline which reduces the number of options to three, but then they only get ten seconds to lock in a decision, for some reason. The well-worked upside down pyramid motif suggests that someone has thought the whole thing through.

It’s a simple game and it avoids a lot of production pitfalls in only being half an hour – reveals are not especially tedious (although obviously there will be one during a throw to break) going straight for the “is that the lie?” when they could have easily gone round the houses and generally the show doesn’t outstay its welcome. It also has quite swish minimalist graphics (although streaming online the writing is a bit small on the 21 inch widescreen monitor), quite a nice simple set and quite a neat ZX 48k Spectrum-esque soundtrack.

It’s not a must-watch and it doesn’t bring anything very new to the table, but what’s there is competent and reasonably engaging. It also feels quite winnable. I think if I was to make one small suggestion, maybe an optional way for contestants to “green out” the statements they believe to be true on the screen might aid viewer (and contestant) understanding when there’s a lot of statements on screen, Picross style, as long as everyone’s aware they only HAVE to lock in a lie.

10 thoughts on “The Lie

  1. Greg

    I have just watched The Lie and Crossfire. Crossfire i did not enjoy, questions were too easy for that sort of format. They needed to have some sort of risk. I would suggest maybe giving the contestants the chance to nominate the difficulty, may throw a bit more strategy into the mix and get some harder questions into the game.

    However i did enjoy The Lie, a simple format but i would say everything is done right it feels a lot more nippy having to get everything in the 30 minutes. Its hard to fault anything about the show. A big tick for me is the contestants setting their own bank level. This is something i think suits this format very well as it encourages tactics and gambling as they have their own safety net. The lifeline also encourages gambling as it gets more powerful each question they get right.

    Very much my type of show

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I’ve always thought setting your own safety net is a fun mechanic, the only times previous I can remember it being used is in the The Cube pilot and (sort of) on The Chair.

      The Lie has got the feel of a show that’ll sell well. It’ll never be a show you’ll base your schedule around but feels like a good supporting player, similar to The Kaiser Chiefs getting rich off of being everyone’s sixth favourite band.

      1. David

        Didn’t one of the WWTBAM variations somewhere have something similar to it-they could pick from 3 lifelines and 2 milestones, or 4 lifelines and only 1 milestone?

        And there was a early 2000’s Middle Eastern show loosely translated to “Your Weight in Gold” I stumbled upon a while back that had something similar- the player earned markers at the beginning of the game (up to 5) that could be used to switch a question or if the player was sure of a right answer lock in their winnings to that point- and so long as they had markers, they could do it multiple times, increasing the safety level…

        1. Delano

          Yep, WWTBAM Germany, Austria and Poland do/did it.

          And Russia went even more extreme: brave contestants can choose one guaranteed money sum, meaning worst-case scenario losers could lose all at the last question.

  2. David B

    I rather liked this! My one only regret is that, since one wrong answer means game over, they have to make the questions rather easy.

    For me, a very large proportion of the questions were solvable by knowing that something was a common myth rather than discounting the right options which is kinda what you want. I feel the writing on Perfection has a better handle on getting the contestants to play hunches and lead them down wrong paths.

    The font size issue is annoying given that they clearly had the real estate available to bump up the point size by a few notches.

  3. John R

    Quite amazing these days how you can stick a tablet computer with a custom app with a projector in a studio and have a game show these days too, I wonder what spec the WWTBAM computers had to be in 1998!

    1. Delano

      WWTBAM was quite up to date: went from Windows 2000 to Vista, if I’m right.

  4. Setsunael

    The Lie has earned some interest @ MIPTV it seems – Nagui’s Air Productions has bought the format for France.

  5. Delano

    Series 2 started yesterday on TV3, some changes:

    – Couples are now eight levels away from winning € 10,000, the gag first level is gone.
    – The first three levels now last a snappy 30 seconds, after that it’s the usual one minute per level.
    – Whenever the Lucky Three is applied, the board is cleared and three statements (The Lie and two random truths) reappear one by one as opposed to reducing the board to three.

    Plus sides include the host speeding up the program (not reading out the remaining categories at the start of a next level) and the increased legibility of the statements, improvements for the better!


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