I kind of doubt Love Productions is catering much to its high revenue US Netflix viewers - they might sub in "baking show" for "bake off" in the intros for legal reasons but as I've complained elsewhere, the show also stubbornly continues to use British-acceptable words like oriental in the US broadcast which have regionally awful connotations.
On the other hand, I am convinced the producers have been influenced by their move from the BBC to Channel 4. The UK ratings haven't been quite as high and this is not the first Channel 4 season with stunt challenges. (That fire pit technical comes to mind.)
I think of it as the show developing Food Network-type qualities. Younger, overly animated yet telegenic faces, manipulated situations, convoluted challenges, etc. Bake Off has never been completely immune from this - like the time the show insisted Enwezor was awful for using store bought icing but not acknowledging his competitors did the exact same thing - but yes, in comparison to every other competitive reality show GBBO has been generally very good for the soul.
This many times over.
My benchmark for casts that are both friendly and impressively skilled is usually UK season 5 (Netflix 1?). Even with bingate, I remember that group very fondly.
For all his hubris, Paul does offer technical explanations and tips. It's been awhile, but I seem to remember Sherry Yard finding a better balance of positivity and criticism than Prue on American Baking Show.
I remember quoting a Guardian writer last year who expressed a lot of what forum posters are saying now. The difference now being that we're not even sure about the bakers' skills.
Another Guardian writer dinged the show in his review of this specific episode and again, echoed many of our complaints here.
In US Media, AV club said
and the LA Times last week: