Sunday, 16 August 2015

New Show - Freeze Out

I bet you think you know what I’m going to say about this one. Well, let’s get the predictable bit out of the way first then. This is not a great quiz show. The questions are too easy to be of any great interest, and the faffing about quotient is too high for my liking. I don’t care if any of the contestants used to wrestle crocodiles or once spilled Paul Daniels’ dinner over him (actually that’s one of my stories for another time).


It isn’t trying to be a great quiz show. In fact it doesn’t belong to the same genre as a good, straight quiz show. This might well be one of the shows that ITV seem to try out every year in the Chase-less summer slot, but it isn’t trying to be The Chase, which is a proper quiz show. Not at all. No, this is trying to be Tipping Point. And so judging it by the criteria with which I’d judge a straight quiz would be like entering a cat for Crufts.

I make the comparison to “Tipping Point” advisedly. Showing my uncanny skill at predicting what is likely to catch on and what isn’t, when I first reviewed “Tipping Point” I compared it to watching paint dry, and predicted that it wouldn’t be back. Which just goes to show how much – or little – I actually know. “Tipping Point” has had an enduring popularity within its slot for several series now, and that shows that there is clearly an audience out there for this kind of show.

Both of them involve answering question, not so much to put points on the board, as to give you the opportunity to put points on the board. In TP, you answer questions to earn plastic discs to put into a gigantic Penny Falls machine. It’s where the discs land which earns you the money, and not how many questions you answer correctly. In “Freeze Out” the game is played on a large circle of ice. Questions correctly answered earn the players sliders to use on this surface for a variety of games, some which are akin to curling, some akin to marbles and so on. It’s how well you slide your sliders that earns points – and, in the final game, cash, not how many questions you answer.

Say it quietly but I actually preferred this show to TP. In my humble opinion there’s a little more skill and a little less luck involved in the games than in the older show. There’s more tactics, and in some of the games the opponents are actually allowed to knock each other’s sliders out of the scoring zones, which adds another level. The questions seem to be about the same level. Both TP’s Ben Shephard and FO’s Mark Durden Smith are experienced hands at the TV presentation game, and neither is ever going to grate on you that much. So going by these factors, Is there any reason why “Freeze Out” couldn’t become as popular and established as “Tipping Point”? Well, there might be. You see, sometimes being there first is more important than being there best. If the audience feel that “Freeze Out” is ripping off “Tipping Point” – it isn’t, but that’s neither here nor there – if they feel that, then maybe it won’t catch on. Maybe it will, though.

Cards on the table – this isn’t for me. But it’s not meant to be for me, and for what it is, I think it’s a pretty decent little show of its type. Whether that will be enough, time will tell. 

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