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Small Talk: Wait For Bandage Man Here

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There's a new show from the creators of the Genius (in a co-venture with Endemol) airing now in Korea, and it looks pretty good.

It's called "Society Game" and the best way I can think of to describe it is to take Survivor, Big Brother, Pirate Master (if you remember that one), and other similar competitive, non-talent based reality shows (IE, no Masterchef or Project Runway or the like) and put them in a blender.  Then garnish with Bandage Man.

22 contestants from varied walks of life with different strengths are divided into 2 "villages", each with a different style of "government" and leader.  One side is a democracy, with the leader elected daily.  The other is a dictatorship, where the leader can only be changed by rebellion.  But only certain people can lead a rebellion, and the leader chooses who those people are. 

The two villages compete daily in a challenge for prize money and immunity.  The winning leader can distribute the winnings as they see fit, and the losing leader eliminates one person from his village.  In the end, only 3 people from each village will compete in the final challenge, with only those winners getting the prize money they've accumulated to that point.

Only one episode has aired and been subtitled (by the same person that did the Genius, which should help you find it if you want to), but it looks to be an interesting watch.

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I was wondering when someone was going to bring up Society Game here!

I've watched the first two episodes so far, and ... eh.  I'll keep watching but it's not nearly as good as "The Genius" in my opinion.  There is a ton of time spent on the strategy, which is boring when there are 22 people and you haven't learned who anybody is yet, and I find it hard to even keep track of which tribe we're at in any given moment.

The challenges are the best part so far but there's not enough time spent on them.  Human Janggi, in episode 1, was awesome.  The episode 2 challenge was like an improved Survivor immunity challenge.

Oh, and MJ kicks ass.  Totally my rooting interest so far.

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10 hours ago, Trip said:

I find it hard to even keep track of which tribe we're at in any given moment.

It seems like they anticipated many people being in the same position and took steps to help people keep track.  Looking back at the first episode only (haven't watched #2 yet) post-tribal divide, they seem to be good about using the on-screen graphics prevalent in Korean reality shows to help indicate which tribe we're watching.  In the upper left corner of the screen, next to the title logo, there's often a day counter or activity indicator (voting time, e.g.) that is color coded to the tribe.  So orange for the one, green for the other, and gray when the two sides are interacting in the neutral zone.  And when subtitling (in Korean, not the fansubber doing the English) conversations, it looks like they add a little colored flag with the name of the person speaking to the top of the subtitles.  The same flag pops up in the talking heads as well.  Or they'll just color part or all of the "editor comment" titles with the tribal color.  This can be seen a lot during the tribal divide and during the challenge in episode 1.

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I binge watched the first few episodes of Society Game when it was first airing, but my interest took a huge hit when the Reality TV trope of "strong woman gets the brunt of male ally's strategic blunder" played out. Seolhwa being unable to climb a rope because the gloves were fit for a man's hands is a pretty fitting metaphor. 

Luckily MJ and Asol were able to hold my interest and I watched the rest slowly. Season 2 is on the way, and I heard it features Dongmin (yay) and Junseok (nay). I am curious to see how much they change the format. 

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Did anyone else try "Busted!" which is streaming on Netflix?  It sure seemed like it was in the same vein -- a murder mystery series with puzzles and so forth -- but I gave up after 30 minutes of the first episode.  I'm still not entirely sure if it was a reality show, a fiction series, or some sort of blend of the two; I didn't get the sense that they were competing against each other, exactly, but they did feel like regular people (poorly) playing roles while trying to "solve" something.  Whatever it was, it was slow, that's for sure.

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5 hours ago, Trip said:

Did anyone else try "Busted!" which is streaming on Netflix?

I did.  I thought it was pretty good.  As apparently did Netflix, since they renewed it for a second season.

5 hours ago, Trip said:

I'm still not entirely sure if it was a reality show, a fiction series, or some sort of blend of the two;

The promotional information said it's a "new kind of variety (reality) show."  So it's supposed to be a blend, in that they were doing a lot of the usual variety tasks or games in an episode, but there was both an individual story for an episode, and an over-arching plot to the season.  I call it the meeting point of K-drama and K-variety, or the overlap in the Venn diagram of the two.

5 hours ago, Trip said:

 Whatever it was, it was slow, that's for sure.

Over on Reddit, other people that watched the entire thing said they thought it picked up at Episode 6.  That's about the point the cast had finally fully jelled and were acting like a typical variety cast.  But as I said, I enjoyed the whole thing.

Genius fans need to at least watch Episode 10 to around the 2/3rds mark.  In a series with lots of guest performances from other Korean celebrities, the one at that point is both unexpected, but fitting in the context.

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