The Crystal Maze returns to our screens this year, bringing along all of its outdated costumes and cheesy challenges.
For the uninformed, The Crystal Maze is a beloved game show in which a team of six contestants face various solo-challenges where the end result of each is either collecting crystals, or being eliminated. The more crystals gathered, the more time allotted to complete the wickedly fun final segment and earn a prize. It is an interesting format wonderfully realised through smart challenges, design and the lovable campness of 90s entertainment television.
Channel 4 certainly have a task on their hands in creating the entertainment of the original, but if their 2016 one-off is anything to go by, the game show’s iconic status is in safe hands. And despite the show being rooted in 90s schtick, it is a refreshing entry into a TV schedule full of uninspired quiz shows where the gimmick has long worn off – the promise of six contestants frantically attempting to complete The Maze is infinitely more interesting than watching a bygone presenter stare at discs nudging into each other a-la Tipping Point.
The one concern, and it feels very strange to write this, is Channel 4’s against-type recruitment of the hilariously deadpan Richard Ayoade as presenter. Can he muster up the frantic energy of the show’s original presenter, Richard O’Brien? Or is Channel 4 modernising an unapologetically old-fashioned tone? Yet even the cynics cannot deny the inevitable joy of a 90s classic unfolding chaotically on screen once more.