007: Review of the Journey to One Million – Brian Cox’s performance is poor enough to potentially spoil Succession for you.
The actress, Mrs Patrick Campbell, shared with her friend, the playwright George Bernard Shaw, that as a young boy, someone should have told him to be quiet at least once. I believe that a similar message, spoken with firm yet kind intent, should be directed towards the creators of 007: The Road to a Million. Not every idea for a reality show needs to be pursued, even if it has the approval of Barbara Broccoli and some famous recognition. It’s okay to say no, just once.
The premise of this James Bond-inspired competition is as follows: nine pairs of people, including friends, married couples, siblings, and a father and son, have the opportunity to win £1m each by correctly answering a series of questions. In order to access these questions, they must travel around the world and complete a series of challenges reminiscent of those in the Bond franchise. As an added element of excitement, they must also pull a ring tab on a smoke canister to reveal whether their answer was correct. If the smoke is green, they can advance to the next country and question; if it is red, they are sent back home.
They all start in Scotland, yomping up hills and into lochs in unsuitable clothing – I imagine the Hebridean mountain rescue team sitting at home watching with their heads in their hands – because no one has realised that there is a difference between formulaic (a satisfying base upon which to build intrigue in a genre film) and repetitive.
Next, they venture into mainland Europe to explore Italy and Spain, sporting unflattering shorts and bothering locals for directions to places they struggle to recall or say correctly (a downfall for Bond’s worldly charm). Following that, they journey to more distant destinations like Jamaica and Brazil to repeat the same actions – this time in lagoons instead of lakes.
The challenges consist of approximately seventeen stages before reaching the (multiple choice) question. The answer is then revealed over half an episode, in order to prevent any buildup of momentum. However, there are instances where the tension is high, typically when the challenge involves snakes, a tarantula, or crocodiles blocking the path to a heavily guarded silver suitcase. Some attempts are made to establish a backstory and create empathy for the competitors, such as a father apologizing to his son for being away working on oil rigs during the boy’s childhood. However, these efforts lack genuine emotion.
However, none of this can be considered the worst aspect. It is certainly sloppy and the answers can sometimes be guessed or limited, relying on luck. It also lacks originality, drawing from shows like Race Across the World, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. It fails to capture any style, tension, or other positive qualities we would associate with the renowned and enigmatic agent, including chivalry. While Bond may display moments of sexism, the husband who immediately urges his wife into dangerous situations instead of taking action himself is taking it too far in the opposite direction.
However, there is something even more dreadful about the show than all of these factors.
Unfortunately, Brian Cox is the most unpleasant aspect of this situation. He interrupts the dull events in a way that is reminiscent of a “villainous and cultured” character, similar to Blofeld. He claims to be monitoring the contestants on a large wall of screens and takes pleasure in their challenging tasks and difficult inquiries.
It appears that the producers have paid an actor a large sum of money to sit in a small room and record numerous voiceovers, including about 60 questions in a low voice, as well as “correct” and “incorrect” responses and some critical remarks. There are also some on-camera segments to prevent the audience from feeling disrespected. This experience has tainted my enjoyment of rewatching Succession, and I may consider taking legal action against the actor and their agent for agreeing to participate in this.
This content is intended for those in desperate need. For everyone else, I want to remind you that it is eight hours long and you only have one life.