GameShowNetworkNews has been fortunate enough to preview the entire first episode of the second season of Hellevator, which premieres Friday, October 7th at 9pm ET on GSN. Take a look at the similarities and differences from last year:
Hellevator has many similarities and differences compared to last season. The studio ("Slaughterhouse") is the exact same as last season. The differences come with the end game, which is a complete 180-degree turn from last season. The main game still has three challenges, but is structured cheaper versus last year. The end game, with a new title and rules, is worth much more than last season. At the end, the teams of four contestants can win up to the same $50,000 as last season.
Similar to last year:
Similar to last year:
1) The introduction: Within the opening seconds, there is the logo (the same logo) and an image of the "Slaughterhouse". The studio is the same location/building as last year. An additional similarity to last year is that the "Hellevator" looks exactly the same as does the Soska sisters' "Control Room".
2) Overly-scared contestants: The contestants appear really scared, which I see as a downer to the point where it is overly obnoxious (similar to complaints of the loud audience on Winsanity).
3) Challenges: There are still three individual challenges before the end game. These challenges still include a background/historical story relating to the challenge. The contestants are still selected individually to do each challenge, but end up in a different place if they fail to complete the challenge (See "Different from last year" #9).
4) It's timed: The main game challenges are still timed. Contestants are given about three minutes to physically get to the challenge, complete the challenge and must be back in the "Hellevator" by 0:00.
5) Seeing and communicating with your teammates: The other contestant(s) in the "Hellevator" get to see the other solo contestant (in the challenge) through camera. Just like in the first season, the contestant performing the challenge gets a walkey-talkey to communicate with teammate(s) in the "Hellevator".
6) Body parts, limbs and mice: Hellevator is still gross! One challenge occurred where a contestant needed to pick up organs with their mouth through mixed salad. Another challenge was putting multiple body parts in a meat grinder and making sausage long enough to fit proper measurements. There were real, living mice on the set along with great props like hay, organs, fake dead bodies and food. Good job prop team!
Different from last year
1) Contestants not eliminated in the episode: Last season, contestants who failed their challenge were completely gone for the remainder of the episode. In Season 2, contestants who fail to complete their challenge are locked in the "Inferno cell" and appear in the last ten minutes of the episode. See #9 below for the completely changed Hellevator end game.
2) More screentime for the Twisted Twins: A little more screentime, showing their faces and quirks, which is better.
3) Soska sisters/contestant intros done quicker; gameplay gets going faster: Jen and Sylvia Soska are introduced within the first 30 seconds. All contestants and their backgrounds are introduced at a quick but appropriate pace within the first 30 to 90 seconds of the episode. With the introductions come the fears of each contestant (for example, "does not like being touched by others" or "mice").
4) Seven deadly sins; In this season, the challenges are based on the seven deadly sins. Greed, sloth, wrath, envy, lust, pride and gluttony.
5) Cheaper money ladder: The challenges increase in difficulty and together could earn up to $10,000. The prize levels in the main game are $2,000, $3,000 and $5,000.
6) Soska sisters out of the control room: This is minor and only lasts a few seconds. The Soska sisters do make an appearance out of the control room. At the beginning of the episode, when one contestant is chosen to go into the "Inferno cell" (see below #8), the Soska sisters are in the "Hellevator" welcoming that contestant to come along with other scare actors.
7) Better pace: Although there are still the same number of challenges (that are not much longer, if at all), the pace feels faster than the first season.
8) The "Inferno cell": At the beginning, one of the four contestants is automatically picked to go in to the "Inferno cell", which is a cell where the first contestant (and later contestants who did not complete their individual challenge) are isolated. They do not communicate with other teammates at all until the "Inferno run". If a contestant does not make it through their challenge (challenges are still individual), then they are placed in the "Inferno cell".
9) The whole end game: Now called the "Inferno run", this final round could add up to $40,000, up from the $20,000 for "The Labyrinth" last season (which is no more). The "Inferno Run" lasts seven minutes and reunites all contestants. The goal in the "Inferno run" is for whichever contestant(s) make it through their respective main game challenge(s) to rescue the contestants in the "Inferno cell". If a contestant wins their challenge, they are placed in the final to help rescue at least one (or two or three) of their teammates. Contestant(s) remaining in "Hellevator" after three challenges must travel through dark to get to the Inferno. The Inferno Run has seven doors (seven deadly sins) with challenges behind them. If one "deadly sins" challenge was completed in the main game, six "deadly sins" remain. There is an additional $40,000 and keys to teammates behind the other doors. The remaining contestant(s), in order to rescue their teammates in the "Inferno cell", must complete gross challenges first (the remaining seven deadly sins) and then find the key. If you find the key, you can keep playing and bank more money or free teammates (this all depends on how much time you have remaining). Whole team must make it back to "Hellevator" in time (7 minutes) to win the money.
Grade: A-. I would prefer The Chase or Chain Reaction back, but Hellevator does deliver what it says in its premise. The pace is better and the producers did not make too many drastic changes to this season, which is what I was afraid of. The core Hellevator audience does not want to see too many changes. Last year's problem was simply bad ratings with post-Halloween scheduling, not the format itself to the scare/horror audience.