Adapted from an Israeli format, “Boom!” is mostly a bust — one of those quizshow concepts that doubtless looked great when cut down to a promo reel. It’s only in attempting to watch a full hour that one realizes how numbingly repetitive it is, taking a page from early Nickelodeon by dousing contestants in slop if they turn in a wrong answer. Although host Tom Papa calls it “the most intense gameshow ever invented,” by the end, the most intense feeling one has is of sympathy for the poor folks who have to mop up the stage.
The central device is really just an excuse to dress up “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” or “The Weakest Link,” and here’s hoping the producers got a good deal on the latter’s old set (or maybe it just looks that way). Borrowing a wrinkle from “Family Feud,” a three-member team of contestants takes turns answering questions, eliminating wrong options by snipping wires.
Cut the wrong one, and the “bomb” they’re seeking to defuse explodes, showering the player with food stuffs — in slow motion, naturally — that should probably be saved for people who need them. Hence the title of the first hour, “It’s the Maple Syrup Bomb!”
The participants wear goggles, and part of the audience is draped in rain ponchos. The elimination game goes through multiple rounds building toward a potential $500,000 grand prize, concluding with a “mega-money bomb,” which is insanely difficult to win, with a whopping 10 possible answers.
Some of the questions are interesting, others not. But what really becomes apparent is how quickly the gimmick grows stale, despite the efforts of standup comic Papa and, to ratchet up the tension, a disembodied countdown voice that sounds like Siri.
Summer is the right time to roll out this sort of lightweight nonsense, a window when Fox would likely be content to generate a ripple, much less make a big splash. Still, given how unlikely it seems that “Boom!” will reverberate much once the novelty wears off, expecting more than that would seriously require having one’s wires crossed.