The Bottom Line
- Henson and Anderson deliver sharp, clever commentary in a dry sportscaster style.
- Obstacles are inventive and difficult to complete. It's very impressive when a contestant does well.
- Co-host Jill Wagner knows how to let the game and the contestants carry the show.
- Good old fashioned fun.
- The final obstacle course doesn't seem to be as difficult or demanding as the qualifying round's.
- Many contestants seem to have no idea of the physical challenges they're about to face.
- 24 contestants enter the qualifying round, made up of an obstacle course with four ridiculous stages designed to be funny.
- 12 contestants move on to the next round. This event is physically challenging, but still potentially funny.
- Now we're down to six contestants, and one more event that whittles the pool down to just four.
- The final four compete head-to-head on an obstacle course. The tone is dramatic, and the course is tricky yet surmountable.
- The person with the fastest time in the final obstacle course wins the grand prize of $50,000.
- Each week, the courses, obstacles, and events change, keeping things fresh for viewers.
Guide Review - 'Wipeout!' Fills a Hole in Game Show Programming
Wipeout! combines the physical humor of America's Funniest Home Videos with the daredevil attitude of Fear Factor, with fantastically entertaining results. Reminiscent of the hilarious and extreme Japanese game shows, Wipeout! takes average people and challenges them to complete some extremely silly obstacles and events.
People of all ages and physical fitness levels show up to take on the obstacle courses and challenges. Of course it's pretty easy to predict who will do well, but the wide range of styles used to approach some of the obstacles results in a great comedic effect.
Hosts John Anderson and John Henson play the straight men, delivering their commentary as the show progresses with dry wit and impeccable timing. Their style is similar to sporting events on specialty sports channels, which serves as a bit of a contrast to the actual events taking place on the screen.
Fortunately, gimmicks such as the instant replay are not overdone here. They are indeed present, but used sparingly and only when things happen so quickly that we might not have caught the full effect the first time 'round.
Co-host Jill Wagner is situated right in the middle of the action, talking to the contestants, cheering them on, and adding commentary throughout the show. She brings warmth and more humor to the game, with well timed remarks to the contestants and funny asides to the cameras.
Since the cancellations of Fear Factor and Dog Eat Dog, there hasn't been a really good and engrossing physical game show on television. Wipeout! embraces the ridiculous, capitalizes on contestants' inherent willingness to try anything to win some cash, and delivers the funny in a package that makes viewers wish the hour wouldn't go by quite so quickly.