During a trip to England in the Fall of 2014, my sweetheart and I stayed in London for a few days. While there we watched the occasional telly while crashing before bed. To our utter amazement there was a show on hosted by Stephen Fry: Qi. We had never heard of it before. We adore Fry from the Jeeves and Wooster series as well as his appearances in other series such as Gormenghast and Fry’s Planet Word. Anyway, Qi is a marvelous game show that is not only adult-hilarious, but is also a sort of Jeopardy meets Myth Busters meets What’s My Line… you get the idea. American television always seems to lag behind Europe and other places that treat adults as, well, adults. Go figure. We are so busy either being politically correct or trying so hard to not be politically correct that we miss moments to create gems like Qi. Truly.
It is an extremely funny show that pits four pop-culture contestants against one another to give correct answers to questions about everything while trying to avoid saying the obvious, clichéd, and, usually wrong answer. Fry is perfect as the host/headmaster as he slings digs and insults while taking points away from contestants for wrong, and extremely wrong answers. A contestant usually does quite well if they end the show with zero points rather than let’s say, negative thirty! The series itself spends an entire season on one letter of the alphabet, so all the answers are about things, places, animals, events – that start with that letter. Sometimes the show is themed around one type of thing, but always in reference to a particular letter of the alphabet. Obviously, they started the series with the letter “A.”
The contestants are a set of rotating regulars who range from stand-up comics, to actors, to writers, to artists. They all bring levels of smarts and expertise to the show but none can best Fry who is not necessarily smarmy, but lets you know when you have said something stupid. It’s a great series and has been on the air for something like a decade! Who knew?
American television has so turned us off that we have entirely turned it off. We haven’t done cable in nearly twelve years! We can probably buy ourselves a small island with the savings… We selectively watch DVDs of our favorite shows, movies, documentaries, animations. And because of that, we haven’t had to deal with American commercialism. At least in this arena. Man it feels good. And finding little gems like Qi makes it worth while.
Anyhow, You can only find Qi on DVD from region 2 (Europe) and I believe only in PAL format, not NTSC. So you will need a Blu Ray player that can play back more than just region 1, which is NTSC for America only. It will free up what is available to you and allow you to finally become part of the rest of the world. It is quite amazing to see what we are missing here in the good ol’ conservative, controlled, manipulated US of A. The final word on viewing here, though, is that the demand has been so high, you may actually be able to view Qi on Hulu or even ABC 1. Back to Cable? Nah. We’ll wait for the DVDs.
We highly recommend Qi to anyone who enjoys smart game shows and/or fun British television.
The web site is here: http://qi.com