Monday, 1 June 2015

Looking forward to: The Genius season 4

And so series four of The Genius begins on June 27th and judging by its subtitle “The Grand Final” it could be the last we see of The Genius. At least for a while.

The contestants for this series are notable players from the previous three seasons. I decided to put on my best sports journalist hat and give a list of who’s competing, along with how well I think they’ll do.

From season one:

Hong Jinho

The winner of season one, he found himself unable to get going in season two as he was excluded from most of the negotiating: people were just too wary of him.

This might be a problem again, but since season one his career as a TV presenter has improved and he’s worked with two opponents: Choi Jungmoon and Jang Dongmin so I imagine it’ll be easier to form alliances this time.

Chances: Very good. One of the favourites.

Lee Sangmin

Third in season one and winner of season two, this is the man to beat. His form in season two was exceptional: he went through the entire season without having to compete in a single death match.

Chances: Excellent. The favourite to win if past performance is anything to go by.

Kim Kyungran

Second placed in season one, Kyungran matched a keen intellect with an ability to build alliances. Not easily swayed by others and very quick to spot weaknesses. She beat Lee Sangmin in a head to head death match, so is clearly a threat to anyone.

Chances: Good. But she may be an early target as someone who easily builds teams, especially if she sticks to those players she knows best (ie, those from season one) at the expense of others.

Lee Junseok

He was eliminated in the first episode of season one and, as such, is a bit of an unknown quantity. As a Harvard graduate, he’s clearly no idiot, but his lack of experience may be decisive.

Chances: Poor. I think he’ll go out in the first or second episode.

Choi Jungmoon

Despite having an IQ of 150, she’s seen as a weaker player because she lost in season one by a simple trick. It was people vs zombies (selected randomly by drawing cards), and another player casually asked her if she was a person or a human. Since she was a zombie, she didn’t know the wording on the card for people, so she couldn’t answer. This sealed her fate.

Chances: Poor. Will probably be an early target for death matches.

From Season 2:

Lim Yohwan

Second place in season two, and what an odd player he was. Hopeless at team games, but very strong in the one vs one death matches. He was unable to build alliances, and when he did he usually annoyed them.

I think he only got through to the final by being so bad at the games that he never won any garnets and so was never a potential choice for a death match.

Chances: Middling. He’ll need to find a way to beat each game alone, or start trusting people.

Yoo Junghyun

Talk about underestimating someone. This politician jovially stumbled through the first half of season two without anyone taking him seriously. He was excluded from alliances, but also he was never targeted as an enemy.

That changed in episode seven. After a strong showing, followed by a series of victories in death matches, he revealed himself as a strong player before finally going out in episode 11.

Chances: Middling. He went a long way in season two because no one saw him as a threat. He can’t do that now.

Lim Yoosun

Lost in a death match to Lim Yohwan in episode five, so is one of the least experienced players. Nevertheless she had a strong presence and an ability to quickly build alliances.

Chances: Middling. In her last appearance, she was undone by a spy in her team. That shows a bit of a blind spot when it comes to building alliances.

From Season 3:

Jang Dongmin

Winner of season three, and must be one of the favourites. He’s also shown in the TV show Crime Scene that he has a keen eye and a quick mind. He and Oh Hyunmin formed an early alliance to get both of them to the finals, and they complemented each other excellently.

Chances: Good. I expect him to go a long way.

Oh Hyunmin

Second place in season three, he was the brains of the Oh Hyunmin/Jang Dongmin alliance while Dongmin supplied the brawn, rounding up people to join their team. I don’t expect them to team up together again, but the experience he gained in season three will make Oh Hyunmin a very strong opponent.

Chances: Very good. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a finalist.

Kim Yoohyun

A poker player who reached episode nine of season three. However, despite doing so well, he was kind of anonymous and he lost the death match quite easily.

Chances: Middling. Typical poker player: hard to tell.

Choi Yeonseung

This doctor demonstrated a mean streak in season three. In episode three he was betrayed by a team of people and sent to the death match. He survived to fight another day, and in the following episodes, each member of that team were eliminated one by one. Some fell by chance, but some of them were targetted by him.

Chances: Good. He lasted until episode eleven in season three, and I expect him to do well again.

Kim Kyunghoon

This player was sure of victory at the start but, like so many others who were over-confident, he fell early. Clumsily, he betrayed his team mates in episode one, which made it hard to get people to trust him again and he went out in episode two.

Chances: Middling to poor. Another player with little experience, even if he did show some potential with his betrayal skills.

I am quietly excited by this series. I’m surprised that it came around so soon, though. I hope they’re not rushing into things. Season three was the weakest one so far, so I don’t want to see the decline continue due to lack of preparation.

Still, it should be essential viewing.

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