First a confession. I’ve never been one for Wipeout.
Ten minutes of the first episode and I felt like I’d seen it all. It was much the same with Hole in the Wall. I know Wipeout was a tad more self-ironic with its commentary than Hole, but if it’s not tubby lifesavers on It’s a Knockout (or even its predecessor Almost Anything Goes) then in my book it’s a genre best left to those crazy Japanese.
So I did the only fair thing. I watched the preview with a group of friends who adore Wipeout. I’d be able to judge how well this Australian version worked based on their reactions…
So what’s different in the Aussie version? Aside from the talent, nothing really. James Brayshaw and Josh Lawson commentate the show via the same distant green-screen as the American version. Similarly, Kelly Landry is on the ground to gain reactions from contestants. Naturally, they are all Aussies, sent to the international course in Argentina. It would take a lot to build this thing here, especially when there are no guarantees the show will succeed.
The contestants are all completely bonkers. They are collectively mental, vain, deluded, and, um, bogan. I guess you have to be to put your hand up for this gig. Expect to see them declaring to conquer the world before falling flat on their face in a pool of mud. Wipeout is that kinda show.
There’s also a lot of contestants. A LOT. Thankfully it’s edited at breakneck speed to cut to the humiliating chase. And they’re very Anglo-Saxon. For an Aussie Wipeout it’s very White Australian Wipeout.
But it’s also right on the money as a carbon copy of the US version. Brayshaw and Lawson cynically narrate the events, deriding all who foolishly tackle the course. They fit this bill rather well. Landry, in another role with little opportunity, doesn’t add much aside from adding the ‘cute factor’ plus several cases of stating the obvious.
As with the US edition, there are lots of replays, slow-mos, and scrawls across the screen that look like they have been graffitied by the texta of Perez Hilton.
My pals loved it.
Yet again, I felt like ten minutes was enough to experience the full extent of what the show has to offer, but that’s immaterial. The real point here is that Nine has come up with a faithful version of the show for its fans.
If you loved the US version, chances are you’ll love this one too.