The BBC have the best daytime quiz show in Pointless, but they’ve quietly come up with another great one in the form of Impossible. Each episode, 24 contestants answer general knowledge questions that have a right answer, a wrong answer and an “impossible” answer. eg which planet in our solar system is known as “the red planet”? a) Venus b) Mars c) Mondas. Wrong answers (Venus) don’t cost you anything, but giving an impossible answer (in this case Mondas, which not only isn’t the red planet, but isn’t a planet in the solar system) eliminates you from the game.
That’s the main gist of the show and there are other rounds which play around with the same concept well, creating a nice rhythm. What really makes the show work is the host, Rick Edwards, and his interaction with the contestants. He’s very playful, almost teasing some of them, but in an affectionate way. Contestants get ten episodes to attempt to reach the jackpot round, which means you get a nice sea of familiar names and faces across the series and really get a sense of their personality.
This is Impossible’s second series and it’s made small but effective changes from the first. Previously the series was 15 episodes and so kept the same cohort for the whole run (and I think it was larger at 30 people, but I could be wrong on that). Contestants were allowed to stick around until they reached the jackpot round twice as well, which meant you got the same four or five people in the final three most of the time. The stricter turn-over now means you get a few perennial runners-up, but more variety and less dominance by the same few.
Not that I think Pointless is in danger of ending any time soon, but Impossible would be a solid replacement for that golden before the news slot if it ever opened up.