“Double Dare” (2018 Revival) Review

Set Design- 10
Gameplay- 10
Show Flow- 10
Potential Viewer Ratings- 10
Play-Along Factor- 8
Host- 9
Overall Rating- 9.5

Premise: Each show opens with two pairs of teams competing against each other in a tossup physical challenge for $50 and control of round one. In the first round, each question’s value starts at $50. Teams earn money and control of the game for correct answers and incorrect answers forfeits control and potential money at stake to the opposing team. If a team doesn’t know the correct answer or if they believe their opponents don’t know the correct answer, they can “dare” the other team to answer for double the dollars ($100). If the opposing team doesn’t know the answer, they may “double dare” them back for four times the question value ($200). At that point, the team may answer the question or take on a 20/30-second physical challenge. In the second round, dollar values are doubled ($100 for the default, $200 for a “dare”, $400 for a “double dare”/physical challenge). The team with the highest total wins the game, keeps their money and advances to the Obstacle Course.

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In the Obstacle Course end game, the winning team has 60 seconds to get through eight obstacles and grab eight flags to win eight prizes including the grand prize, which is usually a trip. Obstacles vary on each episode. Should the team fail to pass all eight obstacle, they win a prize for each flag they collected throughout the course.

Review: I’m going to cut right to the chase for this review. After watching the first quarter of the new season of Double Dare, I have no qualms about unequivocally stating that this is not only the best Nickelodeon game show revival I have ever seen, but this is also the best kids game show revival I have ever seen. The 2018 incarnation of Double Dare easily dwarfs Double Dare 2000 and its gimmicky, time-siphoning Triple Dare Challenge. Similar to the revivals of ABC’s Match Game, ABC’s The $100,000 Pyramid and Challenge’s The New Blockbusters in the U.K., the production crew did an excellent job of attempting to recapture the magic and magnificence of the original version which made the show great to watch in the first place. In the television era of reboots, this is yet another example of why there is no shame in sticking to the basics and having the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality when it comes to bringing certain shows back for modern audiences. The show reverts to simpler yet messy physical challenges, as seen on the show during the 80s, and followed suit with the set design – even down to the nuanced, under-appreciated details like using the fading Vane Type II font for the digital scoring/clock displays.

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This rendition of perhaps the greatest kids game shows to ever air is creatively designed for millennials and Gen-Zers to enjoy. The host/announcer tandem of Liza Koshy and Marc Summers is the perfect, living embodiment of the new school meeting the old school. Casting an entertaining and popular social media star like Koshy was a great decision to attract young viewers, especially since she has already made her presence briefly known on the network by winning a Kids Choice Award for Favorite Funny YouTuber earlier this year. She does a wonderful job engaging and interacting with the contestants during gameplay with her great goofy and slightly self-deprecating sense of humor and provides good commentary during the physical challenges and the Obstacle Course. She exudes the same silly, delightful and energetic personality in hosting Double Dare as she does in her comedic Vine/YouTube videos. Marc Summers, who is no stranger to taking on announcing duties on shows including Bruce Forsythe’s Hot Streak and briefly on The Joker’s Wild (believe it or not), acts as a fantastic multi-faceted role as an announcer, executive producer, co-host and emceeing mentor to Koshy. Although Summers occasionally provides light commentary during a few of the physical challenges, he is careful not to steal the spotlight with his proven success in calling the action during each game and properly pass the hosting torch to Koshy.

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While the team of Koshy and Summers makes the show worth watching, there is a second key element that gives the modern version of Double Dare such vivacity: the music. Double Dare‘s memorable, lively, toe-tapping, adrenaline-pumping music package is what made this show as great as it was back then and as it is today. Edd Kalehoff once again displays his musical brilliance in perfectly revamping his original creation. Listening to the various music cues this season gave me goosebumps and made me even more enthusiastic and appreciative of the revival. That feeling just wasn’t completely there when Double Dare returned in 2000, even though Kalehoff composed the music for that version as well.

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Overall, I cannot overstate how much I thoroughly enjoyed Nickelodeon’s 2018 revival of Double Dare. This show was made in a caring, meticulous and thoughtful manner from Marc Summers’ increased involvement in the show’s production to the fantastic set design properly prepped for primetime to masterfully blending elements of the previous and new generations to make the show enjoyable for all audiences. I love the unique and fun prizes at stake, including the inflated front game dollar values and surprising trips to Space Camp, and the production crew reviving old obstacles like “Pick It”, “One-Ton Human Hamster Wheel” and “Mt. St. Double Dare” – the latter properly serving as a daunting permanent fixture to the Obstacle Course – and creating new ones like “Couch Searching” and “Unboxing”.

In fact, Double Dare has already been named as the most-viewed series on kids’ television this year. In its first week, the show attracted a staggering average of 1.4 million viewers. There is not a doubt in my mind Double Dare will be renewed for a second season. However, I will also grimly and skeptically predict that this revival will only last for two seasons. Let me be clear: I am in no way advocating for the show’s demise, but I believe the nostalgia will surprisingly fade faster before we know it, as it did in 2000. Considering every Nickelodeon game show revival (Double Dare 2000, Wild & Crazy Kids, Figure It Out, My Family’s Got Guts) hasn’t survived past two seasons, I fear the trend will continue with this iteration of Double Dare. I really, really hope I’m proven wrong.

Stay tuned for new episodes of Double Dare weeknights at 8:00pm on Nickelodeon! Screenshots taken from episodes of Double Dare.

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