23rd Jun2020

‘The Floor is Lava’ Review (Netflix)

by Rhys Payne

I can honestly say the Netflix original series The Floor Is Lava is one of the most unique game shows I have ever seen. The show has contestants race across a range of crazy obstacle courses (that include obstacles such as Easter Island heads, canoes and pizza ovens) to get from one side of the room to the other but what sets this show apart is that the floor is flooded with a red bubbling liquid that represents lava. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of the “The Floor Is Lava” game you have to move around without touching the floor and this show is built on that premise. The winning contestants in this show get a “Volcano of Victory” which is simply a cheap lava lamp you could buy on sites such as Amazon but winners also get $10, 000 which proves to be the biggest encouragement for the contestant in this show.

The Floor Is Lava is perfect for a young audience as it provides the comedy of people crashing into crazy props while being based on a game popular among children. This is an obstacle course that seems to fit perfectly in the shows seen on CBBC in its hay-day but even more exaggerated, due to the cartoon nature of the obstacles themselves. This show is positioned appropriately so a range of people can get involved and try to take on the course, the show has doctors, firefighters, families, gaming friends and aircrew vying for the $10,000 prize money in each episode – showing how accessible the course is which is great for attracting contestants. Each attempt is started by the host shouting the phrase “the floor is…” with the intention of the contests replying “Lava!” which really adds to the childish nature of the show but there are some episodes were contestants appeared visibly confused and not being to match the energy the host created, which is at times difficult to watch. If you remember the show Trapped, contests would be trapped if they lost, an the audience were led to believe contests would stay there indefinitely and it’s exactly the same with The Floor Is Lava. If a contestant falls into the lava and the rest of their team complete the course then the audience never see the missing team member again which is very unusual.

The Floor Is Lava really tried extremely hard to make itself unique which is down to the inclusion of a range of multiple routes to completing the course. There are many different ways to get from one corner of the room to the other with every object in the room available to use if they wish. This is an idea that I have never seen included in a game show before, which here was very interesting to see. As I have just said, all objects in the room can be used to cross the room such as pizzas, paintings, keys and curtains which helps showcase the creative thinking of the people trying to complete the course. While at first, this is very interesting it does become somewhat overwhelming as you struggle to keep up with what object can be used for what purpose…

One thing I really didn’t enjoy about The Floor Is Lava is that it is very difficult to follow. Not only are there a plethora of objects (as described above) from episode 6 the episodes are advertised as a level two version of earlier courses but the number contestants in each episode vary. Some episodes have three trios competing whereas other have three sets of pairs and some have two sets of trios which is not explained why and difficult to follow for the audience which really damages viewer consistency and makes it very difficult to binge-watch. Also, the announcement of winners in other TV game shows is the high point of drama and suspense whereas in this show it the most subdued part of the show with the host simply announcing you are the winner and handing over the “Volcano of Victory” which did very lacklustre and fell totally flat!

Overall, this a unique show that allows adults to live out there childhood dreams but is somewhat confused in its use of drama and tension.

**½  2.5/5

The Floor is Lava is on Netflix now.

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