Set Design- 7
Show Flow- 7
Potential Viewer Ratings- 9
Play-Along Factor- 10
Overall Rating- 8.1
Premise: Two teams compete in a series of three rounds. In the first round, each team answers two brain-teaser questions and has 15 seconds to answer each question. The question value starts at $300 and $20 is deducted from the money clock for each second that has passed. A correct answer earns the team the remainder of the bank and an incorrect answer earns the team no money. The rules are the same for the second round with the exceptions of each teammate answering the questions individually, each team has 20 seconds to answer with the money clock starting at $500 and $25 is deducted for each passing second. In the third round, each teammate answers one question while going head-to-head against an opposing teammate. Contestant have 20 seconds to answer the first question and 25 seconds to answer the second questions with both money clocks starting at $1,000 (-$50 per second) and $2,500 (-$100 per second), respectively. The team with the highest total at the end of the round keeps their winnings and advances to the Smart Money end game.
In the Smart Money bonus round, the team has 30 seconds to answer one final question. One teammate will give their answer first while the other teammate is sent offstage in a soundproof area. Once the first teammate answers the question, the other teammate will have a chance to answer with the remaining time left on the 30-second clock. If one teammate answers correctly, the team wins an additional $1,000. If both teammates answers correctly, the team wins $10,000.
And now, for the review…
Idiotest is one of the more creative and devilishly clever game shows to come from GSN. This simple, riddle-driven game show has the same appeal that ABC’s Million Dollar Mind Game had, albeit its a water-downed version of it given the difficulty of the mind-boggling questions. I also see a this show resembling Now You See It, in terms of the similar premise of “the answers are always in front of you”. The questions are excellently written and actually require some thought, even though some are seemingly easy at first glance. For instance, “What’s something you can put in a barrel that will actually make the barrel lighter?” (Click here for the answer.) Much kudos to the writers. Although the brain teasers are seemingly simple when you get a good look at them, the insertion of the money countdown clock puts the contestants in a slight frantic state, making them unable to think clearly and forcing them to answer quickly and prematurely, as you may have seen within the first two episodes. The money clock increasing the questions’ difficulty is similar to the confining area of The Cube, on the ITV game show of the same name, making some of the physical challenges appear a little more difficult.
As host, Ben Glieb serves as a good emcee for this show. I enjoyed watching him host the new show with his natural on-camera presence, conversing well with the contestants with his deadpan, sarcastic, yet endearing sense of humor and quick wit at his aid. One of the qualities that stood the most about Ben Glieb was how he conducted the send-off interviews with the losing teams. Rather say simple and quick “Thanks for playing”, he spent a little more time with the teams, discussing how well or poorly they played, similar to how Jane Lynch on Hollywood Game Night. Other laudable elements include great show flow, the two-contestant, two-team competitive dynamic, the decent prize budget and the simple game play. However, there are couple of elements I’m not too crazy about.
Too Simple: Although I like the simplicity of the overall game play, the rounds could use more questions to fill some of the empty time used for Gleib and the contestant to discuss their answer selection.
Modifications To “Head-To-Head” Round: Because there is no additional incentive awarded for answering a question correctly in the fastest time, the “head-to-head” third round is essentially pointless. It seems like to function like rounds one and two and appears to have been configured the way it is just to build tension. The third round could have been developed like one contestant from each team answers five questions, one at a time with different starting dollar values for each one, and the contestant who answers correctly and the fastest (should there be a tie) wins their team the remainder of the money on their clock.