Streaming Round Up – Trip for Biscuits, Ultimate Beastmaster, & White Rabbit Project

Trip for Biscuits

TL;DR – This was a lovely bunch of fun zany episodes, which are wisely only 10 minutes long each, so they never really outstay their welcome

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Trip for Biscuits

Review

So what would you do if when you were young your parents left in the back of a burrito track in mysterious circumstances abandoning you in a playground … and they didn’t even like burritos, well it might be searching for them your whole life until you decide to find a detective agency to help you, a detective agency that deals with aliens and one of its members has their brain in a jar.

If I was, to sum up, Trip for Biscuits in one word it would be ‘zany’ and I don’t mean that in a negative way. So often when you create ‘children’s television’ it is usually code for it being not that good. Just put up some flashing colours, have people talk for a bit and then call it a day, but not here. It is clear that a lot of attention has gone into the details, like how given its short run time, even the opening titles are used to propel the story forward. So when I say it is zany it is because it knows what it is doing, so it always sits on that line between absurd and fascinating. Part of this is because even though the cast is playing relatively broad and well know character types, they are all putting everything into the performances. So you can have conversations about not wearing pink glasses, or being invaded by the alien mafia who are all old grandmas, or running over the last velociraptor in a truck, because everyone has that kind of commitment. Another benefit is because the episodes are quite short (all around the ten-minute mark) they never outstay their welcome, and there isn’t that kind of padding you see in a lot of other shows. This is also complemented but some really great music, set design, stories, and a strong overarching arc throughout the season.

While there were a lot of strong episodes some didn’t flow as well as others, like the episode with the tongue, which the tongue worked but the BMX off didn’t quite work. Also more of an issue with regards to the streaming service, but there was not a straight forward way to binge watch as there was no flow on from episode to episode. As well as this, while I know it was targeted at a younger demographic, it did feel that too much of the short runtime was taken up with what happened in the last episode and what will happen next episode.

I must say I did really enjoy a Trip for Biscuits, and you can binge watch all 18 episodes in a little over two hours and get a full complete story, which is quite rare. Look I had a ball watching these and I hope we get to see more episodes in the future.

Directed by – Dave Cartel
Written by – Dave Cartel, Andy Matthews, Rene Zandveld, Shanti Gudgeon, Mithila Gupta
Created by – Dave Cartel, Timothy Powell, & Steven O’Donnell
Starring – Reef Ireland, Kate Mylus, Mansoor Noor, Charlotte Nicdao, & Steven O’Donnell
Platform – ABC iView

Ultimate Beastmaster

TL;DR

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Ultimate Beastmaster

Review – Not quite Ninja Warrior, but still an interesting concept

There was a time when I went through a big Ninja Warrior phase, I watched all of it I could get, there were fascinating characters like Mr Octopus, it was a fascinating display of human endurance, and it was brutally hard, like nobody got past the 2nd level hard. So when I heard that Netflix was going to produce their own take on Ninja Warrior (yet completely different in all ways for legal reasons), with a mixed nationalities competition, I was intrigued. So what happens when you bring the best rock climbers, parkour runners, gymnasts, swimmers, and a lot of cross-fit enthusiasts, and throw them against a massive obstacle course? Well, a whole lot of fun.

Where Ultimate Beastmaster works is in its really novel presentation, each of the six nations attending (United States, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, & Brazil) all have their own commentators which automatically makes this a more interesting show to watch. This is not only revolutionary from a production standpoint, but it also allowed for a more enjoyable show, because you got to see more reactions and interactions between the hosts and the contestants, and having Terry Crews is never a wrong decision. As far as a framing device, it is an interesting choice setting it around the notion of a beast that you have to concur. It does give a very striking visual style and allows you to have some interesting names for your obstacles, but it would have been good to see it taken a bit further.

One area the show needed to work on was providing a bit more variety to the obstacles each episode. Throughout the show there is two basic set ups they use for the first and second round, which means once you have watched a couple of the episodes you have kind of seen everything the course has to throw at you, and you can probably just skip to the final episode if the concept is not grabbing you. Another thing is that the show is a little easier than its contemporaries as progression is made on points not on completing the course, I didn’t mind this change, but it may have been a good idea to give some sort of bonus for finishing the course to stop people just jumping off when they had enough points.

Ultimate Beastmaster is at least a very interesting example of what media can be in this globally interconnected world, but while it is this, it is also really entertaining as well, or at the very least it has people missing jumps and falling into the water and that is always amusing.

Directed by – Patrick McMannus
Created by – Dave Broome
Presented by – Terry Crews, Charissa Thompson, Kyung Suk Su, Kyeong Rim Park, Luke Mockridge, Hans Sarpei, Rafinha Bastos, Anderson Silva, Yuji Kondo, Sayaka Akimoto, Luis Ernesto Franco & Inés Sainz
Platform – Netflix

 

White Rabbit Project

TL;DR – A really interesting premise which needed a little bit more refinement, but has a great basis for moving forward.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

White Rabbit Project

Review

Who had the best jailbreak, what is the most annoying pieces of technology, could we have superpowers? These (and others like it) are all conversations we have had in bars over a few beers, so why not turn it into a TV show, and so they did. Each episode The White Rabbit Project analyses one of these question, usually through testing something out or building their own construction.

Where the With Rabbit Project works is in its relationships, you are not throwing new hosts into this trying to fake a bond, because they already have one. WRP is a good example as to why dropping the build team from Mythbusters was a big mistake because Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci, & Kari Byron have amazing chemistry with each other. This makes things like when Kari was messing up Tory’s dinner with mind control so delightful. As well as this, a lot of the things they looked into was really fascinating, like home building a hot air balloon to escape communist Germany. Also, a lot of the things they looked into were accompanied by some fascinating skits, which of course were played to high camp, which led to a scenario of Hitler with breasts doing an homage to sound of music in what looks to be Australia, not Austria, it is as weird as it sounds.

One area that the show needed to work on it actually explaining its premise and how it is set up. It kind of rushed into it without giving real context, so if you are going into it thinking it is more Mythbusters then you are going to be a bit disappointed because it is like it but not. As well as this, it got a bit too dependent on pre-packaged footage in places.

Overall this was an interesting insight into a number of interesting subject area, it had some great hosts and some interesting segments, and I hope to see more of it in the future.

Created by – John Luscombe
Presented by – Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci, & Kari Byron
Platform – Netflix

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