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Back To The Happy Farm - Friday Open Thread

Welcome back to the Friday Open Thread, where today nostalgia is king.

Well this week on both the ODeck and io9 have seen an indulgence of Star Trek nostalgia, and quite rightly too as even if most of it isn’t my sort of thing the fact remains the show has changed the Sci-Fi genre massively over its 50 year span. While I haven’t been nostalgic over Star Trek the recent announcement of a Crystal Maze remake has left me nostalgic for the days of my early 2000s childhood watching nothing but old Game Shows on the UK TV channel Challenge and today I’m going to share my favourite three with you.


The Crystal Maze

First up we have the main nostalgia trigger itself, The Crystal Maze. This mid-90s game show was a massive experiment by Channel 4, with the set costing a quarter of a million pounds to, but one that paid off. Filled with stupid people being crap at simple tasks both the viewer and star of the show, the eccentric actor/playwright Richard O’Brien, routinely mocked them for their incompetence at the most basic of tasks.

Gladiators UK

This one is likely to be more familiar to our Yank brethren, the UK version of game/gym show Gladiators. Not only did I love this show for the quite extreme games and challenges but also the star of the show ‘The Wolf’, a pantomime villain Gladiator who would regularly talk smack and lose his rag over losing but all in good fun. Sadly episodes of this are hard to come by on YouTube.


Takeshi’s Castle

This is my favourite game show of all time and it’s hard to not like it. In 2003 Challenge bought the footage to this weird 80s Japanese game show, where 100 people would take part in a serious of quite dangerous and bizarre challenges that included running full pelt at a row of doors hoping one was a paper cutout and a toboggan ride while doing maths, and got Craig Charles (most well known as Lister from Red Dwarf) to do the voice over. The end result became an instant classic, with many catchphrases becoming well known over its 3 series run, including the title to this post when contestants went out, ‘Happy Clappy Jappy Chappy’as a general description, and ‘getting the Al Jolson treatment’ when they got grease/oil rubbed on their face when caught on certain games. It was fun, it was wacky, and it left you wondering how the thing got commissioned in the first place given the injuries.


So those were my favourite old game shows so my question today is what were your favourite game shows? Are there any you think should be brought back? Leave your answers, along with any comments related or not below.

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