Total Black Out - SyFy

I’m sitting in a hotel room on a work trip a little bored and procrastinating so naturally I’m flipping channels. Now, this is a hotel TV with a really limited number of channels organized in no meaningful way with no guide of any kind. I’m meandering to and from and catching some weird channels. In my travels up and down the dial I came across this game show called Total Black Out in SyFy.

This show has an insanely simple concept, 4 people are competing to see who can complete challenges best in a completely dark room. At the end of each challenge one player is eliminated, the last man standing gets $5000.

The show is pretty dumb, but at the same time it’s pretty entertaining. The “elimination” scenes consist of the players jumping onto a trap door with the lowest ranked person’s trap door giving way into a black pit. The casting always seemed to favor stereotypes that were extra squeamish, flamboyantly gay men and overweight housewives for example. The contestants were led into a pitch black room that was usually set up as a course of some kind with varied challenges and the viewer and host watched through night vision/infrared. The host would tease and instruct the players over a speaker. The instructions for the challenges were usually vaguely ominous, hinting at gross things and dangerous creatures.

Some of the challenges I saw were:

  1. Identify the standing height of the creatures in the room. This turned out to be contortionists in strange poses, but the blinded contestants had to feel their way around to solve the puzzle not knowing if they were people or animals. When they’d grab a foot or some hair they’d usually jump back for fear of being bitten. Also some of the roaming hands found some awkward spots on the contortionists which was funny as well.
  2. Contestants had to move items from one aquarium to another in the dark. The items were a live snake, a soaking wet teddy bear, a crab a cauliflower and a toy frog. The snake was clearly a fiasco for everyone, but the trick was that they hung ropes from the ceiling which they bump into when walking causing lots of stress when handling the snake.
  3. Contestants had to crawl around a quasi-chicken coop maze with chickens in it to gather eggs and return them to the start. Lots of broken eggs and collisions with chickens.
  4. Identify objects with out using your hands. The objects, a boot, a microphone, a set of dentures and a pigs foot. Watching players use their tongues on these objects was particularly suggestive.

Anyways, nothing really to discuss, I just thought the show was odd enough that I wanted to share and see if anyone else has come across this show.

You forgot to mention that the host was Steve Urkel from Family Matters, then again, you may not have a clue who that is. My wife and I watched the first episode and found it funnier than we would have thought possible for a SyFy show. The older guys reaction to having artichokes dumped onto him in the water filled tub was pretty funny. I suppose that in the pitch black, after already having had live frogs dumped in on you that it’s more a fear of the unknown than anything. Never the less, seeing a grown man cower from artichokes was humorous at a minimum.

I watched 2 episodes. I’m done. It’s a poor man’s Fear Factor, but in the dark, and without having to eat bugs. There’s nowhere to take the premise. If you’re afraid of the dark, regardless what the task is, you’re going to be scared. The various scenarios and goals are kind of secondary to the contestant not being able to see and being, generally, afraid of the dark. They could just as easily have the contestants bumble around in a completely empty room and get the same result.

…and Urkel is a terrible host.

And to think that some people don’t watch TV!

Classic Total Black Out clip (video). Probably NSFW.

You don’t need TV when you have Hulu and Netflix. :wink: