A game show is any type of radio, television or stage show in which contestants, individually or as teams, play a game which may include answering questions, or solving puzzles usually for prizes such as cash, funded trips, and goods and services provided by the show’s sponsor prize suppliers. Initially beginning to appear on radio and television in the late 1930s, the genre of game shows established itself through broadcasts of Spelling Bees and quiz shows. ‘Truth or Consequences is the first game show to air on commercially licensed television, followed closely by the ‘CBS Television Quiz’.
Over the course of the 1950s, as television began to pervade the popular culture, game shows quickly became a fixture. The 1950s also saw the prolific rise of high stake games such as ‘Twenty One’ and ‘The $64,000 Question’. However, this rise was brought to a sudden halt post the quiz show scandals in the late 1950s, where it was discovered that many of the higher stakes game shows were rigged. This led to the model of the game show to evolve into the panel game structure brought in by shows like ‘What’s My Line?’, ‘I’ve Got A Secret’ and ‘To Tell The Truth’. Another watershed moment in the history of game shows came with the introduction of color television., resulting in the 1970s seeing a renaissance of the previously fading reality television structure. Over the last 40 years, the model of the game show went through constant evolution incorporating various additional facets to its model. Today game shows range over everything from survival series to cook-off challenges.
The American media streaming giant Netflix has essentially redefined the medium of television over the last decade. Offering online streaming of a massive library of films and television programs, the popularity of Netflix is such that it has seeped into pop-culture dialect. Presently, Netflix has over 139 million paid subscriptions worldwide, including 60.55 million in the United States. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Netflix has trod deeply into the world of game shows as well. With that said, here’s the list of really good game shows on Netflix that are available to stream right now:
10. Wheel of Fortune (1983 -)
‘Wheel of Fortune’ is a long-running television game show that first debuted in 1975. Created by Merv Griffin, the series brings participants from all walks of life who are eager to make their lives better by winning the lucrative cash prize. In order to get their hands on the money, the contestants must compete against one another in a race to solve world puzzles. The cash prizes that they stand a chance of winning are determined using a spinning wheel. The show has been around for several decades now and is considered ideal for family entertainment, so if you are looking for a series like that, then you must watch ‘Wheel of Fortune.’
9. Awake: The Million Dollar Game (2019)
Presented by James Davis, ‘Awake: The Million Dollar Game’ is a television game show directed by Rich Kim. The series invites participants willing to take the daunting task of going without sleep for 24 hours straight to stand a chance of winning $1 million. Unfortunately, their road to financial freedom is not that straightforward, as the real challenge starts once they are in a sleep-deprived state. Then they are tasked to complete several physical and mental challenges that push them to their limits. While they may seem simplistic to the viewers, the added burden of going sleepless makes the most straightforward task far more complicated than it should be.
8. Sing On! (2020)
Featuring the well-known singer Tituss Burgess, ‘Sing On!’ is a reality game show streaming television series. The show follows groups of contestants who are tasked to perform five songs for which they are assigned different individual scores and team scores. The prize money that they stand the chance of winning is determined by the performance of the entire team; however, individual eliminations take place based on the point system. The contestants who last till the later stages of the competition participate against one another in different singing challenges in which they stand a chance of earning thousands of dollars for their performance.
7. Floor Is Lava (2020)
Created by Megan McGrath and Irad Eyal, ‘Floor Is Lava’ is a reality television game show which is inspired by a children’s game of the same name. The series stars Rutledge Wood as host and follows a group of contestants who compete against one another to make it through a complicated obstacle course that is filled with bright red goop that could simulate hot lava. The contestants who do their best and survive till the last will have a final competition against one another. The winners stand the chance of winning US$10,000 and along with a lava lamp as a trophy for their efforts.
6. Too Hot to Handle (2020 -)
Developed by Charlie Bennett and Laura Gibson, ‘Too Hot to Handle’ is an American-British reality television dating game show that is inspired by an episode of the popular sitcom titled ‘Seinfeld.’ The series follows a group of participants who have previously struggled to form long-lasting relationships and have had engaged in meaningless flings for quite some time. All of them are tasked to participate in workshops for four weeks where they are allowed to interact with one another, but any form of physical intimacy, including kissing, is prohibited. However, the cash prize is $100,000, but every time a rule is broken, it gets reduced by some amount.
5. Busted! (2018-)
‘Busted!’ is a Netflix Original variety show produced in association with SangSang, a Korean production company that was responsible for the shows ‘X-Man’, ‘Running Man’ and ‘Family Outing’. Marking Netflix’s first original program to showcase an all Korean cast, the show follows seven celebrity sleuths as they discover that they are a part of an operation called Project D, in which they are implanted with a chip containing the DNA of famous detectives throughout history.
Led by South Korean actor Ahn Nae-sang, known as “K” on the show, the contestants are recruited as private detectives and given a new case in each episode. Simultaneously, the seven contestants try figuring out the mystery behind Project D and its inception. Guests celebrities are featured on each episode, with many of them playing their namesake characters which are directly or indirectly involved with the murder mystery in each episode.
4. Ultimate Beastmaster (2017-)
‘Ultimate Beastmaster’ is an American competition reality show that premiered on Netflix on February 24, 2017. Each episode features a total of twelve contestants (two from each country) who run a new obstacle course known as “The Beast”. The winner of each episode is crowned “Beastmaster”. These “Beastmasters” from the nine episodes go forward to a final course to become the Ultimate Beastmaster.
From Season 3 onwards, each episode featured nine contestants with one from each country in the competition. The two competitors with the highest score in the final stage moves onto one of the two semi-finals. Finally, the top three from each semi-final move to the final episode to be crowned “Ultimate Beastmaster”. With each country having its own set of hosts, the international flavor of the game show is maintained. Notably, blockbuster movie star Sylvester Stallone hosted season 1 of ‘Ultimate Beastmaster’.
3. The Great British Bake Off (2010-2019)
Produced by Love Productions, ‘The Great British Bake Off’ is a British television baking competition game show in which a group of amateur bakers compete against each other in a series of rounds, attempting to impress the judges with their baking skills. At the end of each round, a contestant is eliminated, with the winner being selected from the contestants who reach the finals. Since its premiere on 17 August, 2010 on BBC Two, the show has grown consistently in popularity, and is presently considered to be a significant part of British culture, often credited with reinvigorating interest in baking throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Many of the show’s participants, including its winners, have subsequently gone off to establish thriving careers based on baking. Currently, this baking competition game show holds a high rating of 8.6 out of 10, on IMDb.
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2. The Big Family Cooking Showdown (2017-)
Premiering on 15th August, 2017, ‘The Big Family Cooking Showdown’ is a BBC team cooking competition. Each week, two teams of three family members compete in three challenges, judged by Michelin Star chef, Giorgio Locatelli and cookery teacher Rosemary Shrager. Winners of each of the eight heats move on to a series of further competitions, until a winner is decided. Presenter and Celebrity Masterchef winner Angelica Bell joins Michelin star head chef Tommy Banks to co-host and judge the second season comprising a total of 14 episodes. Michael Hogan, writing for The Daily Telegraph described the kitchen as a ‘swish barn, kitted out in twee, shabby chic style to resemble something from a glossy interiors magazine.
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1. The Circle (2020 -)
Presented by Michelle Butea, ‘The Circle’ is a reality competition series that pits contestants in a strategic game against one another. All of the participants must live in separate apartments and are prohibited from directly interacting with each other. But instead of regular means of interaction, they are given a social platform where they are free to manipulate others’ perception of them so that they are rated higher. People with better strategic choices become influencers, while the ones with poor ratings stand the risk of getting eliminated.
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