RogerBW's Blog

Escape 31 October 2017

2017, 9 episodes (on Geek & Sundry): teams of various minor celebrities try to solve puzzles to get of a room.

And by "minor celebrities", I mean "some of them have been on Tabletop and others are less well-known than that". The key qualification seems to be the ability to be at least reasonably comfortable improvising on camera.

The idea is to make this look as much like a normal escape room as possible, so cameras are mostly static (occasionally there's footage from one worn by a cast member), or at least not involved in the action. There's a half-hour time limit, and generally the events are only lightly compressed, though with lots of camera angles available the editors have and use a wide selection of shots.

But what they don't have, alas, is close-ups on the puzzles. We occasionally see doors opening or items being revealed, and there's a handy overlat showing what's still unsolved that sometimes gives a long alphanumeric clue, but most of the time the audience doesn't have enough information to try to beat the team to a solution. That's a shame, because it means one falls back on the team for entertainment, the team is too busy trying to solve problems to be entertaining, and there isn't really all that much left.

The rooms themselves are well themed, though the difficulty seems to vary a great deal: some have just three or four puzzles that can be done more or less in parallel, some have several that each rely on a previous one having been solved before it can even be begun. Fortunately nobody's scoring them against each other.

A pleasing diversion but nothing more, in the end. The entire series is freely available on YouTube.

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