TL;DR – This has an intriguing premise and a clear visual style but struggles in areas like how it represents some of the conflicts.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this series.
The Bridge Australia Review –
Regarding competition television shows, they can capture my heart like Survivor and make me watch season after season. Or I bounce off quicker than that time they tried to do Survivor but on a pirate ship. However, I am always looking for something new in this area which is where I found gems like Lego Masters. Today, I am looking at the first three episodes of The Bridge Australia to see which side of the coin it will land. Will it suck me in, or will it end up on the bottom of a Tasmanian river?
So to set the scene, there is a river deep in the wilderness of Tasmania, and in that river is a $250,000 prize sitting on an island beckoning them to claim it. All the twelve participants must do is work together and build the titular 330-meter bridge from the materials around them. They have 17 days to work together to get across the island while a guardian blinks with its red light and tempts those making the trip.
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.
TL;DR – This is a fascinating yet polarising show, that I don’t think will find a middle ground for most people and instead will hit one of the extremes.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
There are some concepts that you hear and immediately know that it was a good idea, and sticking a bunch of comedians in a room and make them force everyone to laugh while keeping yourself mute. This is one giant game of chicken with $100,000 on the line. Though I should say before diving in, I think you will know immediately if this show is for you with one phrase “dildo jacket”.
The format of the show is straightforward, you can’t laugh, you can’t even really smile, because if you do your out. This is complicated a little bit by everyone getting one yellow card warning and also getting a Joker Card that can be used only once to force everyone in the room to focus on you. That’s it, but then that is all you need if you have cast the show well, which is what they have done here.
TL;DR – This is a fascinating twist on the competition show format because it has real stakes that ground everything.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
I’ve watched a lot of competition shows in my time, everything from trapping people on an island and watching them pick each other off, to sitting and loving people building Lego constructions. However, it has been a long time since I have watched something new, well today we have just that with the joint Netflix/BBC show Win the Wilderness.
So to set the scene, in the deep in the Alaskan wilderness is a house on Ose Mountain, it is far from the nearest town and can only be accessed by plane. Living on Ose Mountain are Duane and Rena who built the house with their bare hands. However, Duane and Rena are getting too old to be able to have the energy to maintain the property and it is time to give their legacy to someone else. So, six couples from the United Kingdom Matt and Rachel, Mark and Emily, Chris and Tina, Theo and Bee, Laura and Jerome, and Pete and Jane have flown into central Alaska with one thing on their minds, to prove that they can continue that legacy.
TL;DR – This is part Fast and the Furious, part Ninja Warrior, part tyre-screech aficionado
love letter. What a fantastic idea, however, to make an idea work you need execution
and here is where it falls down.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Rarely in my life have I heard an idea that clicked as much as I did today “Ninja Warrior but with cars?” I mean
just think of that and your mind is racing through all the possibilities.
Indeed, watching that first episode it all started to click and then as that
episode went on I started to notice things not quite coming together and as the
rest of the season went on it was only compounded by one odd moment after
another. So today we are going to have a look at a show where there is this
interesting divide between ambition and execution.
Hyperdrive is a show all about
putting the cars and the experts that drive them to the extremes. The drivers
come from America, Brazil, Japan, and Europe and are absolute experts in their fields.
Now before we move on I do want to say none of the critiques I have are for the
drivers who are clearly doing an amazing job with what they have been given and
are clearly skilled technicians and experts in their fields. Each round they go
through a set of challenges like doing a reverse 360° turn in-between tight
penalty pylons or drifting your car back and forth along the sides chicane
trying to hit targets with the back end of your vehicle. All while wanting to
be the fastest because if you are too slow you are eliminated. As far as a
concept goes you have a winner here and there are a lot of touches that help add
to this, like putting the commentary booth over the top of the finish line, or
having the targets full of balls that fly out when they are hit, or the
industrial setting that really gels with the aesthetic of the race. However,
while there are these small touches and some interesting challenges it is soon
clear that there are some things that just have not translated as well as they
TL;DR – This is a breath of
fresh air in a crowded market that shines by showing the strength of people and
not my trying to tear them down.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
In Australia, it feels like if you want to make any new content you have two
choices Sport or Reality TV. Everything has to be designed around “Event TV’
that is television that you have to watch live so that you can be part of the
conversation the next day in the office. This has been done in the response of
shifting viewing habits of people away from traditional timeslots and TV
stations not knowing how to respond. In Australia that has meant that we are
inundated with one reality show after another, each jostling to try and be that
next event, often by scraping through the bottom of the barrel to see what is
underneath. For a viewer, this means that they take a concept and try and
stretch as much out of it as possible so it can fill as much of the schedule as
possible, and for a consumer, this is a real drag (and I assume it is no joy
for the people making it either). However, every now and again something will
break through the noise, and today I get the chance to look at just one such
show, even though it is a reality TV show on three times a week.
So to set the scene, if you have seen a reality competition show before then
you probably know what to expect here. Eight teams enter into a warehouse where
they battle in the challenge after challenge where some of them will be
eliminated until there is only one team left. The big change this time around
is that the arena where they are battling is not food, or singing, or being
married, at first sight, no it is building Lego creations. It is a show that
celebrates creativity, working under pressure, but also being part of a team,
and supporting them at each step of the way.
TL;DR – Another iteration and they have refined the formula even more and it works really well … also Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
There are many reasons people watch Beastmaster, for some, it is the athleticism, for other, it is the face plants into the water, and for some, it is the unique format of the multi-country multi-format show that only Netflix could pull off. This is the third iteration of the series and this time the format has been changed up, and we have new contestants, new obstacles, new countries, new hosts, and still one angry beast.
TL;DR – The second outing is a much more streamlined production, learning from the mistakes from the first season, but falls a bit in its casting.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
So at the start of the year a small little gem dropped on Netflix called Ultimate Beastmaster, a show clearly inspired by Ninja Warrior but with a big twist. This time around it was a multi-national competition with competitors and hosts from six different countries, with each country getting a different final cut. Some hailed it as the beginning for a new age of global television, I wouldn’t go that far, but it was a nifty concept. Well, it is the end of the year and Netflix has given us a little end of year surprise with Season 2 dropping much earlier than I expected it to. So today we are going to take a look at the highs and lows of Season 2 of Ultimate Beastmaster.
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
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.