Don’t Scare The Hare

Here’s one television show that won’t be winning any Baftas any time soon. Jason Bradbury, acclaimed nerdy presenter of ‘The Gadget Show’ is indeed the correct presenter for a format whose vague aim is to “capture the spirit and fun of interactive family video-games that have been sweeping the nation”. This suggests a technology-inspired show, but Jason flourishes in the gadget environment and tech devotion here is too lacklustre. The games aren’t challenging or innovative and as a result, boring. There’s the fairground ‘Coconut Shy’ and the standard ‘Buzz-Wire’ model, whilst ‘Allotment-Impossible’ is simply a large-scale ‘Operation’. These games don’t represent tasks found in computer games and they’re too prolonged, although the “losing lives” aspect does conform . Game shows must move quickly to retain audience interest.

I initially liked Sue Perkins’ narration, which was reminiscent of Dave Lamb’s sarcastic humour that has benefitted ‘Come Dine With Me’. However this saving grace quickly disappeared, and it almost seemed to take itself seriously. ‘Don’t Scare The Hare’ has been scheduled at the wrong time, in the wrong place, whilst the Easter promotion was just plain deceptive.

The target-audience gets lost in the confusion of “fantasy based toddler telly, with an adult twist”; adults on child-like sets answering surprisingly difficult questions on the definitions of obscure words. I mean it’s a bit of a shock to them, after the mindless schoolboy shenanigans in which they’ve been buffooning off in for the past 25-minutes.

The intro music fits and everything implies ‘Alice In Wonderland’, from the timepiece placed in Jason’s pocket to the psychedelic frogs and laser–beamed carrots. Everything is immediately visually experimental, which is good since it wants to avoid predictability, but it almost feels like an excuse when the cardboard cut-outs are revealed. Even the £15,000 prize fund is anticlimactic, probably equalling the cost of that bizarre animatronic hare.

For a format so interconnected with technology as an overriding premise, there is an obvious absence of online-presence; digital mediums combining video and social networking that allow users to interact, like with Channel 4’s ‘Embarrassing Bodies’. I would improve the show by introducing CGI, here it’s clear the development of technology needs to play as important a role as the development of the format. With specially developed online games, for the iPhone and iPad.

If you’ve not seen it, check out the surreal clip below.

The very top user comment sums it up preeetty well.

-James Godwin, May 23rd 2011

Copyright © 2011. James Godwin. All rights reserved.