Saturday, 14 June 2014

Release The Hounds

Picture this: it's a Wednesday night, me and some friends are hanging out in the living room, watching 'I Wanna Marry Harry', (a show that really deserves it's own post, but I probably won't write it). We've just finished laughing at various aspects of the terrible programme - mainly that the Prince Harry lookalike with a supposed 99% facial match (I'm calling bullshit on their crackpot science) to the real Prince Harry looks absolutely nothing like him; and it's hysterical. But this post is not about 'I Wanna Marry Harry'! No, this post today, dear readers, is about the show that graced my television directly after said atrocity ... 'Release the Hounds'!

Mr burns simpsons release the hounds
Oh shit, wrong image!
Release the hounds ITV TV show
Ahh, that's better!
Release the Hounds is an ITV2 production featuring Reggie Yates as our dutiful presenter. It was a one-off Halloween game show which debuted in 2013, but has since been commissioned for a full season! This would be more exciting if it were perhaps an American show, but alas, since we're British we're getting cheated out of an actual seasons-worth of episodes and instead are getting six. But we'll get what we're given and six episodes is better than none! The concept of the show is simple; three friends respond to a game show where they are given the chance to win money - that's as much as they are supposedly led to believe prior to arriving in the middle of the forest. Reggie Yates then explains to them exactly what they have signed themselves up for. The three friends have to find three keys which open three locked chests. Inside each of these chests are varying amounts of money. The first case holds £666, the second £3110 and the third £13013. So spooky.
Release the hounds ITV TV show contestant v-neck
Only people with v-neck t-shirts were allowed to
apply for the show.

Seems simple, right? A wee scavenger hunt for the keys and to find the chests with the money, jolly good fun and what not! Except not quite. After acquiring said keys, the team has to choose someone to do the run. "What run?" I hear you ask. "The Dog Run." I reply. You see, once the person has been nominated to do the run, said person trots off into the woods in the pitch black themselves, follows some arrows which leads them to the chests. They will then unlock the chest, load the prize money into their given backpack and get ready to run like hell. Each runner is given various head starts - the first gets the largest, the second gets less and the third gets the least, so it makes sense for the slowest to go first. Once they are lined up behind their starting gate, that's when they bring out the dogs. They bring out about five or six German Shepard's, all of them barking like mad, snarling and pulling against their leashes whilst men wearing balaclavas say vaguely menacing things in order to freak out the contestants even more. Then the siren is aired and the starting gate opens - the contestant take off running with the dogs in close pursuit. Yep, they have to run from a pack of dogs in order of secure their money! Obviously the dogs have been trained only to chase the red bag the contestants are wearing and not actually attack the runners, but it's much more fun to pretend that they will actually get shred to pieces if they get caught. There's also a "No dogs were harmed in the making of this programme" note at the start and the end of the show which is a good disclaimer.

Release the hounds ITV TV show poster
Well, yes ... that's because they're dogs.
 But wait, there's even more! Before they even get to that stage, the team have to actually find the keys in the first place, right? Right. There are three trials since there are three people in the team. In the first trial, all three of them are present, but the team is slowly whittled down as people go off to do the dog runs and don't return. Which means that one lucky person has to endure the final trial all by themselves! I won't give too much away about the trials should y'all go away and watch it, I wouldn't want to spoil anything for you. Unfortunately, the episode has expired on the ITV player, which is fair enough since it aired last year, but it is available to watch on equally *cough* legal *a-hem* sites of your choosing. But yes, the three trials; the first includes some horrifying scarecrows; the second, a terrifying cabin; the third, a smorgasbord of ghastly tests involving those old-fashioned china dolls. Fun!

Having done something somewhat similar (I am of course referring to 2.8 Hours), I could totally empathise with the people on the show. There will be people that watch it and complain that the people competing for the money may be overreacting to the scary things that happen to them, or that they are faking it and acting and stuff like that, which in all fairness they might be, I don't know the inner workings of this show, but in all honesty their reactions didn't seem forced or unnatural at all. I know how it feels doing this type of thing (albeit Release the Hounds will have been a more terrifying experience than 2.8 Hours), so I know how it feels to get wrapped up in the whole thing. In your head you know it's just a game, that nothing bad will actually happen and such but against your rational thinking you do get extremely scared. I did feel sorry for one of the people on it who seemed to have had enough of the show at one point, but other than that it did make for overall entertaining television. Watching the folk scream in terror and run from dogs, what more could you want? It was also quite scary to watch as a viewer as well, because anything that jumped out at the contestants also jump out at the audience, which make my friends scream on quite a few occasions. After doing 2.8 Hours together, Ben could probably tell you that I am not a screamer, I just swear a lot when I'm scared. If my life were a TV show, this is where I would link you all to a super cut of every time I've sworn, and that video would be days long. But the audience aren't just scared at the same time as the people on the show, we're treated to being shown stuff before it's revealed to the contestant, which left us screaming at the television screen for them to turn around or to run away or something! Anything!

Release the hounds ITV TV show doll challenge
"Someone did a stinky!" and it wasn't the baby.
I felt like at the rate the general horrible-ness of the trials were escalating, I wouldn't have been surprised if the final challenge presented the last contestant with a still warm human heart which they would have been forced to eat whilst they cried and whispered, "Khaleesi." to themselves. All in all, I thought it was an interesting programme which was structured in a way I hadn't seen before. I enjoyed myself whilst watching it and I am extremely excited for the six-part season! I would highly recommend it! Till next Saturday y'all!

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