For people who are no longer contented with passive entertainment but instead enjoy having their minds stimulated while watching reality variety, fret no more. “The Genius 3: Black Garnet” had started airing since 1 Oct 2014.
If you have not heard of “The Genius”, it is billed as one of Korea’s top reality variety shows that pits wits, intelligence and sociability of the players against one another, with the last man/woman standing crowned the champion at the end of the season. (Yup, just like Liar Game) You can read more about “The Genius 1: Rules of the Game” and “The Genius 2: Rule Breaker” from my posts.
The cast for Season 3 is again made up of 13 players from myriad fields, including several high calibre graduates of prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Seoul University and KAIST, as well as MENSA members. Nevertheless, viewers who had watched the previous seasons can attest that brains are but just one success factor. Ability to formulate strategies on the fly and manage the social dynamics with other players are crucial for success and survival as well.
Season 3 also marks the first time that an open casting call was held for the public. Out of the 3000 applicants, three of the best performers were selected to take part in Season 3. You can see the trailer for the open casting call here.
[Spoiler, if you have yet to watch Season 2] The open casting call for Season 3 was lauded as a wise response to address a controversy that arose during Season 2. I will not reveal the nature of the controversy as it may be subject to different opinions, but it is safe to say that it resulted in most viewers favouring Season 1 over Season 2. Despite the controversy, I dare say that the standard of Season 2 is still a notch above most of the variety shows out there.
Season 3 sees the introduction of black garnets for the first time, which explained the title for this season. When a player presents three black garnets, he/she gets a chance to attempt a Black Mission. Successful completion of the Black Mission will spare him/her from the Death Match, and he/she can pick someone else to play the Death Match instead.
The black garnets differ from the red garnets that are used as the game currency since Season 1. Each red garnet represents a value of 1 million Korean won (~US$1000). The champion’s garnets will be exchanged for real cash at the end of the season.
Besides looking out for the intense brain tussle and mindgames among players during the course of games, viewers can also enjoy interesting behind-the-scenes (BTS) cuts served up by the production team after each episode. The BTS cuts not only reveal secrets buried within the game mechanism, but also provide comic relief through funny moments and interactions among players as well as with everybody’s favourite dealer nuna (nuna means older sister in Korean, as used by a male person on an older woman).
Season 3 is now down to the last four standing at the time of writing. Episode 10 sees the return of the winners of Seasons 1 and 2 as guest players, with their honour at stake as well as to keep up the pressure on the surviving players. With just three more episodes to go amid mounting excitement, who will emerge victorious at the end of the last lap? Keep your eyes peeled for the finals on 17 Dec 2014!
(all image credit: tvN)