Trying to launch a new game show must be like trying to launch a new chocolate bar: absolutely terrifying. The established ones are thoroughly established indeed - they have survived changing trends, changing tastes, changing decades. If a game show (or a chocolate bar) is successful it becomes part of the fabric of life, part of the unquestioned background clutter of the world. That sounds like a difficult thing to achieve.
Now and then, though, Netflix throws a new game show our way. And I always get a bit excited. There is something plush and lavish about a new game show. It is fun to see money spent on something that has rules, of course, and I also love game show set design - the massive screens, the blue spotlights pointed to the heavens, as if the arena for Who Wants to be a Millionaire doubles as the alien landing zone from Close Encounters at weekends.
I spent this weekend watching a couple of Netflix's new offerings. I'm not sure either worked - to return to the chocolate bar analogy, I think we've got a Maverick here rather than a Twix. But it was good to see them. And I have hope. And when I read about Netflix struggling with growth and experts saying, "chuck in news programs and sport," part of me thinks: but that will turn it into regular TV! Just double-down on lavishly over-produced game shows that would never find a spot in the normal channels instead.
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