Quick Reviews of "Geeks Who Drink", "Race To Escape" & "Freeze Out"

Since I have been a bit behind on my reviews on some the latest game shows to premiere in the U.S. and the U.K., today’s article will be dedicated to briefly reviewing three of the latest shows to hit the airwaves: Geeks Who Drink, Race To Escape and Freeze Out. Geeks Who Drink premiered July 11 on SyFy with host Zachary Levi, Race To Escape made its debut July 25 on Science Channel with comedian Jimmy Pardo hosting and Freeze Out began its brief summer run last Monday with Mark Durden-Smith at the helm.

Geeks Who Drink

The new pub-quiz game show has two teams of three, led by a celebrity team captain, compete against each other in a series of trivia and physical stunt rounds for a chance to win cash and prizes. Challenges include “This or That” speed rounds, a “Hot Potato” knockout round, a “Wild Card” question featuring a special guest star and a pop culture math question. The team with the highest score, or highest “bar tab”, wins their bank along with a small prize package.

Pros: I like what Zachary Levi’s production arm, The Nerd Machine, has done with bringing the popular pub quiz phenomenon to the small screen. It has all the necessary elements to bring this event to life on television: energetic teams engaging in friendly competition, a decent array of pop culture trivia questions, a variety of creatively designed rounds featuring audio and video clip questions, a lively host in Levi whose nerdy, goofy, easy-going personality and excellent command of the show fits the series well; “punny” team names and socially drinking without acting in a belligerent manner. The other aspect that made a positive impression on me as well was the prizes at stake. For a low-budget game show, Geeks Who Drink gives away some impressive prizes including movie memorabilia, an XBOX One gaming system, a Microsoft Surface tablet, a Nintendo 3DS and $500 in movie tickets. This is a fun show to watch, especially if you are playing along with the show as a drinking game with a group of friends or if you simply love nerd-related, pop culture trivia.

Cons: Although I like the variety within each episode in terms of the type of questions that are asked on every show, I feel as if the show is a little ADHD, specifically referring to during the latter half of the show when the teams are moving back-and-forth between the physical challenge area and the main podia twice an episode. Even though it may seem like nit-picking, that’s pretty much my only complaint about the show.

Prediction: Second Season Renewal

Set Design- 10
Gameplay- 8
Show Flow- 8
Potential Viewer Ratings- 7
Play-Along Factor- 9
Host- 8
Overall Rating- 8.3

Race To Escape

Science Channel’s puzzling new game show places two teams of three in a locked room in which they must complete a series of five challenges to obtain the five codes to escape the room and win up to $25,000. The catch is time is truly of the essence in this game as both teams will have one hour to unlock all five locks and will start to lose $500 a minute at the 40-minute mark.

Pros: The Science Channel made the right move in picking this game show up. Race To Escape has the same intrigue as adventure game shows like the cult classic U.K. series The Crystal Maze. This show’s challenging premise features a solid format, creative set designs and cash prize, as well as brilliantly devised puzzles that demand a variety of mental skill sets including deductive reasoning, problem solving, teamwork, thinking quickly under pressure and strategic time management.

There is great camaraderie and complete absence of unnecessary drama amongst the teammates. In the episodes I have seen thus far, there are no prima donnas who disrupt the team morale and steal the spotlight in the process.  The casting producers have done an excellent job with selecting the smart contestants to compete on the show as they come from all walks of life and, unlike most game shows nowadays, are not solely selected based on their vivacious personalities. One of the more refreshing elements of the game is its dual purpose as an educational tool. At least twice per show, host Jimmy Pardo reviews a psychological concept that relates to what the teams may be experiencing during the game, such as the subject-expectancy effect shown in the second episode and the hard-easy effect shown in the premiere . Although I wish the show was placed in a better time slot during the weekdays, Race To Escape is a terrific mind-bending game show to watch and enjoy while you are resting and relaxing on Saturday evenings if you happen to be watching television at the time.

Cons: For this show, I don’t have any complaints that stand out.

Prediction: Season Two Renewal

Set Design- 10
Gameplay- 10
Show Flow- 9
Potential Viewer Ratings- 6
Play-Along Factor- 8
Host- 8
Overall rating 8.7

Freeze Out

ITV’s newest game show, which takes place on a six-meter circular sheet of ice, tests five contestants’ knowledge, precision and physical skill in a five-round game. The five rounds include “Smash Out”, “Centre Slide”, “Ice Breaker”, “Face Off” and “The Final”. Depending on how well the winning contestants does in the end game, he/she could win up to £10,000. Uriah Rennie, a retired top-level English football referee, makes the final calls as the show’s “Ice Judge”.

Pros: Freeze Out is an unique combination of curling, ice hockey and trivia with an equally interesting set with the ice rink displaying a range of ever-changing graphics. Similar to Tipping Point, this is a skill game that anyone can play where precision, speed and strategy are the main keys to victory than general knowledge considering most of the questions are easy. Those aforementioned skills will definitely come in handy during the tough “Bullseye” end game, where the margin of error is slim.

Cons: Taking into consideration that this is simply a summer filler while The Chase is on hiatus on ITV, there are a few of glaring issues with Freeze Out. Some of the problems include the lack of on-screen graphics during the end game and opening round, the dry competitive atmosphere and slow show flow. While the premise is interesting, the execution itself leaves much to be desired.

Prediction: Cancelled After One Season

Set Design- 7
Gameplay- 7
Show Flow- 6
Potential Viewer Ratings- 6
Play-Along Factor- 6
Host- 6
Overall Rating- 6.3

Check out new episodes of these new game shows during the following times:
Geeks Who Drink – Thursdays at 11:00pm EDT on SyFy
Race To Escape – Saturdays at 10:00pm EDT on Science Channel
Freeze Out – Weekdays at 5:00pm BST on ITV
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