TV Review – The Floor is Lava Season 1

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

The Floor is Lava. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

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.

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TV Review – Last One Laughing Australia (LOL Australia)

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

Last One Laughing Australia (LOL Australia). Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Review

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.

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TV Review – Win the Wilderness

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

Win the Wilderness. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

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.

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TV Review – Hyperdrive: Season 1

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

Hyperdrive. Image Credit: Netlfix.

Review

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 wanted.

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TV Review – Lego Masters AU

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

Lego Masters AU. Image Credit: Nine Network.

Review

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.   

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TV Review – Ultimate Beastmaster Season 3 (Survival of the Fittest)

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

 

Ultimate Beastmaster Season 3 (Survival of the Fittest). Image Credit: Netflix

 

Review

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.

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TV Review – Ultimate Beastmaster: Season 2 (No Surrender)

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

Ultimate Beastmaster Season 2

Review

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.

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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.

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