Set Design- 8
Show Flow- 10
Potential Viewer Ratings- 8
Play-Along Factor- 10
Overall Rating- 8.8
Premise: Three contestants compete in a series of rounds that tests their powers of observation by recalling the events and/or contents of various clips and pictures. In the first round, “What Just Happened?”, contestants are shown two clips and must answer toss-up questions worth $100 each based on the clips they had just watched. In the second round, “What Did We Change?”, toss-up questions are worth $200 and contestants are shown one clip. After the clip ends, a slightly-edited screenshot is shown and they must correctly point out detail that was changed. Incorrect answers takes away $100 from the contestants. In the third round, “Don’t Blink”, contestants are quickly shown seven pictures and all three contestants are able to answer the seven multiple-choice questions pertaining to the pictures. The question value starts at $300 and rises $100 for each additional question, making the seventh and final question worth $900. The contestant with the highest total at the end of the third round wins their bank and advances to the final round.
In the “Double Vision” end game, the champion must watch two clips with the audio and video in both playing simultaneously. Afterward, the champion has 30 seconds to reach five steps by answering questions about both clips. Correct answers earn a step forward and incorrect answers takes the champion a step back. If the champion can reach the fifth step in 30 seconds or less, their winnings will jump to $20,000. Otherwise, they leave with the money they have earned in the front game.
Review: For Judge Judy Sheindlin’s first time producing a game show, she and her production company did a fantastic job with the development of the series. Much like Nickelodeon’s Brainsurge, BBC’s Beat The Brain or Concentration, iWitness is the type of game show where even though general knowledge trivia is not the nexus of the game’s format, your observational and memory skills will be put to the ultimate test. Let’s break this down round-by-round.
“What Just Happened?” is an excellent warm-up to slowly get contestants acclimated into the game and flows in a casual manner. The second round, “What Did We Change?”, considerably ramps up the difficulty by demanding contestants to pay closer attention to the myriad of details within the ~45-second video playing before them and to keep a keen eye on the minuscule changes made in each freeze frame throughout the round. In the episode I viewed on iWitness‘s official Facebook page, some of the alterations are easily noticeable and looked photoshopped and there were some that were brilliantly edited. It’s not easy to quickly spot subtle changes when you have less than four seconds to respond with two other opponents champing at the bit to ring in and cash in on a correct answer. I love the added element of risk that comes with this round, forcing contestants to think twice before answering or face losing money that could make the difference between winning and losing a game.
“Don’t Blink” aptly acts as the catch-up round with the dollar values steadily increasing by $100 with each subsequent question. I’m a little surprised the all-play element and the multiple-choice options were not used in the first round to add more ease at the beginning of the game. Using the lock-out mechanism in the third round would have greatly intensified the competitiveness in the crucial segment of the show – but I digress.
Let’s move on to my favorite segment of the show: the “Double Vision” end game. To my knowledge, this is one of the most unique and toughest bonus rounds I have seen in recent history. I applaud the production crew for being so ambitious with this mentally taxing and visually cumbersome round that requires keen multitasking abilities and an intense amount of focus and concentration. What truly makes this round daunting is attempting to not answer more than a couple of questions incorrectly considering a wrong answer will send you back a step. The margin of error in “Double Vision” is quite slim. I haven’t seen this minor element used since the bonus round on GSN’s Cram.
Overall, iWitness is a terrific format that is well-crafted and devised for anyone to play. The $20,000 grand prize is respectable for a half-hour syndicated game show and the average amount that could be won in the front game (~$3,000-$4,000) is nothing to sneeze at either. John Henson is a solid choice to host this show. Henson brought his comedic chops to aid him in making the show slightly more amusing to watch by making infrequent minor comedic comments during the first two rounds and keeps the show moving at an excellent pace. I enjoyed him hosting E!’s Talk Soup and providing his clever color commentary for ABC’s former summer hit series, Wipeout, and sentiments are the same for him emceeing iWitness.
The initial test run of iWitness, currently airing on seven local stations across the country, is scheduled to end August 18. I believe this show is good enough to merit a full season order. Hopefully, we will be able to see more of iWitness in syndication soon. In case you have yet to watch a full episode of iWitness, take a look at video below.
Stay tuned for new episodes of iWitness until Friday, August 18 on the following local stations:
- New York WWOR (My9) – 6:30pm & 10:30pm
- Chicago WPWR (CW50) – 5pm
- Philadelphia WTXF (FOX 29) – 6:00pm
- Washington, D.C. WDCA (My20 – D.C.) – 6:30pm
- Atlanta WAGA (FOX 5 Atlanta) – 12:30am
- Houston KTXH (My20-Houston-12:30pm
- Detroit WJBK (FOX 2 Detroit) – 12:00am