Monday, December 19, 2016


I feel like I'm probably late to the party on this one -- it seems like the sort of thing Tim or Zak would have blogged about years ago -- but my new favourite TV programme is South Korea's The Genius.

It's sort of a hybrid of game show and reality TV, neither of which are the sort of thing I enjoy, and yet I can't stop watching The Genius, perhaps for the simple reason that it's about games, so it's a bit like watching a dysfunctional gaming group fragmenting as the weeks go on.

The premise is simple. Contestants enter a "house" and are addressed by a mysterious masked figure who has them play a game; the winner gets immunity from elimination, while the loser goes into a deathmatch and gets to pick their opponent from the other contestants. The loser of the deathmatch is eliminated, and so on it goes until there is one winner at the end of the series.

I gather that this is much like the format of stuff like Big Brother or I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! but the difference here -- aside from the fact that no one stays at the "house"; they all go away and return the next week -- is that the focus is on the games, not the who's-sleeping-with-whom downtime stuff.

The, er, genius bit is that while the games themselves have strict rules that cannot be broken, the contestants are free to manipulate things outside of those rules as they see fit. They make deals to give each other an easy win so they both go through to the next round. They form grand alliances to save as many people as possible. They, of course, betray each other all the time.

I probably shouldn't enjoy it, because it's a bit depressing how duplicitous almost everyone is, all for a cash prize that none of the contestants need because they are all celebrities to some extent; I am expecting hoping for some sort of "for charity" twist towards the end. Even so, it's glorious fun, in part because of all the twists and turns -- if the players aren't super clever bastards, the editing makes them look like they are -- and in part because it's about games, and I do love games.

Anyway, here's the first episode. Others can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. I'd never seen this before...thanks for the heads-up!