Sunday, 21 December 2014

Just finished: The Genius: Black Garnet


It’s only had three series, but watching the final of this game show already has a certain ritual attached to it: Phone off, curtains drawn, lights off, sit away from keyboard and mouse in case accidentally moving them gives away how long is left before the end.

Despite all that care and attention, I must admit that series three has been a bit flat compared to the previous two. Maybe I was too caught up in how new the show was to me during series 1 and 2, but series 3 didn’t have the same kind of zip as before.

The games seemed to have one way to win, and no way to counter-attack. Once a team had been formed and the right strategy devised, they were pretty unstoppable unless someone betrayed them or changed sides. And in this series, the two players who first did this both got eliminated in the first two episodes. Perhaps that persuaded others not to do the same.

The main story of this series was a true bromance between student genius Oh Hyunmin and comedian Jang Dongmin. The two of them formed a team in episode six with the aim of both of them getting to the finals, and it worked.

It robbed the show of something, though. Their mix of strategic expertise and charisma (and shouting) was unbeatable, and then on those occasions when their plan went wrong and one of them went to the Death Match to see who’d be eliminated that round, they came through. Choi Yeonseung came closest to breaking up their alliance, but couldn’t manage it.

So, it was fun, but not as incredible as it once was. I hope that it regains some of its tension and skullduggery next time.

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