TL;DR – While not as binge-able as some of its competitors, it is still a bunch of fun with a ridiculous premise.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
As a young person, I think everyone has played ‘The Floor is Lava‘ much to the castigation of our parents as that one fragile item becomes a casualty of the chaos. So it is almost surprising that someone has not tried to turn it into a competition show before, well now we get to see if it can work or if it is something best left to the imagination.
So to set the scene, three teams enter into a room full of lava (red coloured water) with a set of themed obstacles between the entrance and exit. We have a basement (museum), a bedroom, a planetarium, a study and a kitchen. There are multiple routes through the room, some harder than others with objects throughout that can make things easier. But it would be best if you were careful because one slip and you’re in the water, I mean lava, and the longer you take, the more the steps slip into the red making everything harder.
Okay as I said, the first thing you need to process is that this is not lava, I mean I think that should be obvious from a legal/ insurance perspective. So what we have is red coloured water that has been given some help. Red lights underneath, fog on the top, floating chunks of rock, and occasional geysers of liquid that explode into the day all combine together. What makes this work is that everyone is playing along with the gag. When people go into that lava, they go down quick, meaning that it is quite deep. I am not sure if they have swimmers under the water (well more than those there for safety) that keep people under or if it is just some good editing, but it works. After watching a lot of it, I think it might be swimmers because at times it looks like those hanging on the edge get dragged into the lava rather than it just being gravity’s assist.
The rooms themselves, while quite impressive, are much smaller and contained than other similar shows like Ultimate Beastmaster. What it lacks in size it makes up for with style as it leans into its theme with gusto. Most of the challenges are balance based, with the occasion upper-body hang time. The big challenge is that all those geysers mean that everything, including the contestants, become slippery. Beyond the theme, you do start to see a lot of similarities in the design of the rooms. There is usually one big element that is shifted up, like the spinning bed or Apollo Capsule, but the general layout hits many of the same marks. What this means is that this is a show that works as one where you watch an episode or two and have some fun, but not one you binge.
Now, let’s be honest for a moment, there is a reason you are watching a show like this, it is why you watch Beastmaster or Wipeout, it’s to see people stack it into the lava. On this point, the show does not disappoint. Every time someone takes a dive, it becomes a moment that the show stops to revel in. Watching the stack on repeat, check, watching it from multiple angles, check, watching the hit in slow motion, check, everyone pretending they actually fell in to lava, check, and having it all set to classical music, yep check.
In the end, do we recommend The Floor is Lava? Well, not all the commentary lands, there is a lot of repeat in the set design, and there were some significant differences between some of the team’s skill. However, I could not help but have a smile on my face for the whole time. Everyone commits to the gag that the floor is indeed lava no matter how silly it is. It is just charming at every level. I mean one moment a contestant is yelling “I’ve always wanted to go to the Moon” only to stack it moments later splashing into the abyss while Giuseppe Verdi’s Anvil Chorus plays over the top. What’s not to love?
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Floor is Lava
Directed by – Brian Smith
Production/Distribution Companies – Haymaker, Gang of Wolves & Netflix
Hosted by – Rutledge Wood