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.