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Mental Samurai

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Fox's (very long) official description:

Quote

MENTAL SAMURAI is a thrilling new competition series that pushes every aspect of human intelligence and mental agility. Hosted and produced by Rob Lowe, the show is the first-ever obstacle course...for the mind. MENTAL SAMURAI is produced by Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television (“Ellen’s Game of Games,” “The Voice”) and Arthur Smith’s A. Smith & Co. Productions (HELL’S KITCHEN, “American Ninja Warrior,” “The Titan Games”).

Each episode of MENTAL SAMURAI is an epic television event, as contestants battle the boundaries of their minds to answer questions accurately with speed and precision. Not only does the course test their acumen in categories of knowledge, memory, numbers and sequencing, but players will also have to contend with being transported around the set at high speeds in a specially designed capsule that is capable of rotating 360 degrees. In MENTAL SAMURAI, people from all walks of life will compete, new stars will emerge, underdogs will triumph and egos will be shattered in the ultimate display of skill, focus and stamina.  

MENTAL SAMURAI is produced by Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television and A. Smith & Co. Productions. Arthur Smith, Toby Gorman, Jeff Apploff and Noah Bonnett serve as executive producers. Rob Lowe serves as a producer.

I watched the first episode on Hulu last night and, man, I was underwhelmed.

For pros: it was decent as a "quiz show" type game, with different categories/questions than we usually see on this kind of show, and Rob Lowe was enjoyable as a game show host. He's more low-key than most hosts of these kind of shows, but it worked. The contestants were decent, and the show did a good job of showing the contestant's back story without letting it go on for stupidly long, as often happens on game or competitive shows.

For cons, first of all, the whole "sitting in a capsule attached to a robot arm getting thrown around from question to question" thing was lame, IMO. Even at the beginning of the show, Rob said something about the contestants answering questions while dealing with the "centrifugal forces" the robot arm imposes on them. I'm no astronaut but I have been on plenty of different amusement park rides that use centrifugal force to get you to stick to a wall, and I'm pretty sure centrifugal force doesn't bother you if 1) you're not moving at a rate of speed faster then, say, a child's Power Wheels car; and 2) you're not even completing a full circle before you stop moving again. I was expecting the physical component to be more challenging, and (for the contestants we saw so far) it was not challenging in the least. Maybe if we had someone afraid of heights, that would give someone a challenge to overcome in this type of situation.

I was also bugged by the whole "you have five minutes to answer 12 questions" thing. That seems reasonable, until you realize the clock keeps running as the contestant is moved from question to question, which eats up at least 5 seconds each time. If you're going to give a time limit, the clock should only be running from the time when the contestants are shown the question until they lock in their answer. They could then lower the time to 4 minutes or 3.5 minutes, and I think that would make things more exciting. It's just lame to have contestants bleeding time when they are unable to control how long the arm takes them to move between questions.

I'll probably watch the next episode to see if it gets better somehow, and I'll likely watch the finale to see how they change it up for the $250k prize, but otherwise...eh.

Did anyone else watch? Did you hate AVA as much as I did, or have I thought way too much about a stupid robot?

Edited by dvr devotee · Reason: Spelling counts!
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5 hours ago, dvr devotee said:

Fox's (very long) official description:

I watched the first episode on Hulu last night and, man, I was underwhelmed.

For pros: it was decent as a "quiz show" type game, with different categories/questions than we usually see on this kind of show, and Rob Lowe was enjoyable as a game show host. He's more low-key than most hosts of these kind of shows, but it worked. The contestants were decent, and the show did a good job of showing the contestant's back story without letting it go on for stupidly long, as often happens on game or competitive shows.

For cons, first of all, the whole "sitting in a capsule attached to a robot arm getting thrown around from question to question" thing was lame, IMO. Even at the beginning of the show, Rob said something about the contestants answering questions while dealing with the "centrifugal forces" the robot arm imposes on them. I'm no astronaut but I have been on plenty of different amusement park rides that use centrifugal force to get you to stick to a wall, and I'm pretty sure centrifugal force doesn't bother you if 1) you're not moving at a rate of speed faster then, say, a child's Power Wheels car; and 2) you're not even completing a full circle before you stop moving again. I was expecting the physical component to be more challenging, and (for the contestants we saw so far) it was not challenging in the least. Maybe if we had someone afraid of heights, that would give someone a challenge to overcome in this type of situation.

I was also bugged by the whole "you have five minutes to answer 12 questions" thing. That seems reasonable, until you realize the clock keeps running as the contestant is moved from question to question, which eats up at least 5 seconds each time. If you're going to give a time limit, the clock should only be running from the time when the contestants are shown the question until they lock in their answer. They could then lower the time to 4 minutes or 3.5 minutes, and I think that would make things more exciting. It's just lame to have contestants bleeding time when they are unable to control how long the arm takes them to move between questions.

I'll probably watch the next episode to see if it gets better somehow, and I'll likely watch the finale to see how they change it up for the $250k prize, but otherwise...eh.

Did anyone else watch? Did you hate AVA as much as I did, or have I thought way too much about a stupid robot?

I completely agree. The physical thing was hardly anything at all, and everything related to the questions moved too slow. It made it impossible for even the best players. I mean it took forever for the game to say you have 3 questions left!  Nothing like it was described. 

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On 3/21/2019 at 1:38 PM, dvr devotee said:

I watched the first episode on Hulu last night and, man, I was underwhelmed

Underwhelmed sums it up for me as well. I will also watch again but I’m not expecting to get hooked. 

Pro for me: Contestants saying “Hi Rob Lowe!”  

Con: It doesn’t have a great play along at home factor. Just too hectic to really get into it. 

I’m not thinking this s going to be a hit. 

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I don't mind that the clock keeps going in between questions. What bugged me was the contestants wasting time telling little stories about the answers. I understand talking *through* the answers to be safe but when you 100% know, just spit it out! Even Rob was screaming at them that time was running out.

I don't know what was sadder. The guy who didn't even get the first question or the woman who lost it in the last.

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Watched the first episode and gave it a Hard Pass.  The questions were interesting, and a wide degree of difficulty (except that one guy who got trivial questions [#SorryNotSorry] until the very end, and the astronaut whose first question was hard to see even when stopped).  But...

"AVA" [yuck!] moved way too slow for it to be much of a game-changer and the timer not stopping during movement, or the pause before "Correct" was just bad.

I won't be back.

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I laughed when the guy ran out of time because of the Victoria's Secret question. He annoyed me with his woo-hooing like he's on a rollercoaster. Just seemed like he was trying too hard to be cool.

The lady who works at a library seems a bit snobby but at least she pulled through.

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This really is an irritating show, lol.  I try to watch it, and there are so many things that just do not work.  But the biggest for me still is that the contestant is given this short timeframe, but the actual game itself has far too many delays for this short timeframe.  And sometimes the game ends so quickly that it isn't worth the time.  It is not working for me.  

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2 hours ago, alexa said:

But the biggest for me still is that the contestant is given this short timeframe, but the actual game itself has far too many delays for this short timeframe.

The producers may consider things like long pauses before saying if an answer is correct "suspense", but I think it makes the game look crooked. They should have gone the other way and made it fast-paced. No talking out anything. Amp it up to where we're seeing contestants trying to punch answer buttons while still dizzy from the movement. And make them pick where to go for the next question to add some strategy in that (moving around and back if they pick the same place again).

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I'm liking it so far; Rob's a decent host and I'm finding the questions are fun to try to answer with the contestants. Especially the Memory challenge.

I don't mind the time counting down while the arm is moving; the movements seem to be efficient (it's not waving the contestants around randomly, but instead moving from one to the next). 

What I DO mind is what feels like the extra long pause after answering a question. It should always be a consistent 1 second or so between "Lock in" and saying "Yes". I could maybe see the timer pausing between lock in and acknowledgement, but that isn't really fair to contestants since it gives some extra time to recover.

The extra pauses I think felt like they were on memory challenges, which seem to have a set amount of time (either due to giving people time to study the image, or for the sound track to play to memorize). So if a memory question has to be say 15 seconds minimum, but the setup lets the contestant answer in 10, then they have a 5 second gap to make the question equal for everyone.

Anyways, I'll keep watching it; and unlike many shows, I actually have to watch it and not have it on while I do other things. (But I still FF through all the bios and chatter) 

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I generally find prime time game shows to be annoying.  On a traditional game show like Jeopardy, the contestant simply buzzes in and gives their response.  On these prime time game shows they are always talking through their thought process out loud (I know it's because the producers coach them to do this), which makes watching them answer questions an irritating exercise.  On this show it's made worse by the fact that they are under a tight time limit, and I have already seen contestants blow five or ten seconds needlessly describing to the audience how they came to their answer when they should have just said their answer and moved on.  That's one reason that shows like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune last forever while these prime time shows that are based on gimmicks only last a year or two.  Rob Lowe is a good host, I've always liked Rob Lowe and he is very friendly and congenial.  The key to success is more about mental quickness than general knowledge.  Most of the questions aren't hard, they're just hard to come up with an answer in under twenty seconds.

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I don't mind people talking it out; because otherwise it would just be dead air. It's not as if these people know the answer and are padding the time (especially since time is banked for the final challenge). When they don't talk it out, you just have dead air or audience shots or other ways to fill time. 

Jeopardy and similar shows don't have to talk things out because they have multiple contestants going at once and you need to answer as fast as possible or someone else will get in ahead of you. With MS, you are just racing the clock so you can spare a second (but ONLY a second) to double think your answer before locking it in. 

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is a similar game show, just 1 contestant trying to answer it all, and they similarly are encouraged to "talk it out"; and it's a show that's certainly had legs. 

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In Chicago, they cut off the last five minutes of tonight's episode for election results. What happened to the last guy? Did he make it all the way through?

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 Yes, Snow Apple, the last guy answered all the questions. Won the $100,000 and is been named a Mental Samurai.

The MMA guy missing Hall and Oates was excruciating. And then he didn't know who they were when he was told the answer! 

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The Hall and Oates guy was part of the reason they encourage talking it out. He didn't remember the band, but he did recognize the song Man eater when Rob sung it after. I'm the same way; I'll recognize the song but I'll blank on the artist. (Especially during the trivia contests my local radio station runs every day). 

I noticed that while they start elevated, the timer doesn't start until Ava starts reading the first question; so the swinging to the first question doesn't count. From then on it doesn't stop, but it's a little more 'fair' that way. (Sort've like during the shopping spree on Guy's Grocery Games, he'll set the contestant running before asking the first clue so they have a head start to most of the store). 

The last guy did go the full distance and showed it could be done; but I didn't really doubt that. (Unlike Million Dollar Mile, which I'm pretty sure will never have anyone do more than 2 maybe 3 of the challenges before going to the end). He finished with about a 1:10 left on the clock too so he didn't even need the bonus minute and change he'd banked earlier on. 

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Worse than the Hall and Oats guy was the woman who was so slow and answer in complete sentences. I knew even if she knew all the answers, she'd have run out of time.

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There was 1 round last night where a sound clip was used from a makeup tutorial by a young woman named Olivia—they wanted to know which makeup item either was named or wasn’t named in the sound clip; I forget which. Though I’ve never seen or heard 1 before I’m 99.9% sure the clip was from 1 of the makeup tutorials by Olivia Jade; her mother, actress Lori Loughlin, is among the parents indicted in the College Admissions Bribery Scandal currently making the news. I don’t know how far ahead of airing the show tapes, but I think it was probably a coincidence the clip was in this week’s show at the same time the College Admissions Bribery Scandal is making the news.

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