Stream or skip? +2023

Barmagedon is a celebrity game show manager produced by Blake Shelton and Carson Daly, among others. Hosted by former WWE star Nikki Bella, with Shelton and Daly hanging out for comments, two celebrities engage in a series of extreme bar games. The celebrities are paired with a “civilian” who had a social media blunder that has gone viral.

BARMAGEDON: Stream or skip?

opening shot: Downtown Nashville. Blake Shelton and his band take the stage at his Ole Red Bar; he sings “Margaritaville,” and Carson Daly mixes drinks behind the bar.

The essentials: In the first episode, Shelton steps forward to be one of the celebrity guests, along with fellow superstar Kane Brown. In the second episode, Gwen Stefani takes on Shery Crow. Other pairings include Jay Pharoah vs. Martin Kove, Trace Adkins vs. Mike Vrabel, Lil Rey Howrey vs. Malin Akerman, and more. The civilians looking for a bit of fun and redemption are Stefano, who got a catfish stuck on his back, and Chisa, who fell into a rapid while attempting to do a handstand on a log.

As said, the games are like extreme versions of bar games. There’s a massive version of beer pong, where big balls are thrown from a balcony into giant cups. In another game, participants try to hit ping pong balls into buckets with a giant racket. Air Cannon Cornhole is exactly as described; In another game, participants try to draw on a vertical pool table with chalk at the end of a pool cue. In the final game, Sharts (Shelton Darts, got it?), darts are thrown at balloons, some of which feature a symbol that is part of a sentence.

Throughout the competition, a losing team can win a point via the “Wheel of Redemption,” which includes three eating or drinking challenges and a “Little Glimmer of Hope” that automatically gives them a point.

Photo: Jake Giles Netter/USA Network

What shows will it remind you of? Barmagedon has the “celebrity fun” feel of a show like This is my jam or Battle for lip sync. In fact, we were shocked that Jimmy Fallon wasn’t involved with this show in any way.

Our opinion: It’s a little hard to pan Barmagedon. Granted, watching people play bar games on TV, even ones as extreme as those developed for the show, feels about as interesting as watching people play bar games in a bar. Things quickly become repetitive on the show, and because the producers have to resort to slow motion so often for dramatic effect, they acknowledge that it’s not the glitziest thing to watch.

But depending on the celebrity grouping, we’re always open to watching celebs have fun and show their competitive side. And so many seasons The voice shown that there are very few celebrities more competitive than Blake Shelton.

It’s good that Shelton is in every episode even if he doesn’t play the games. We need his taunts and jokes and his swearing, and we need Daily to smack him a few notches at every opportunity. The two episodes that were made available to critics have Shelton’s roots – as much as he’s friends with Crow, don’t you think he’ll be cheering for his wife Gwen? – which was meant to emphasize the goofiness people loved about him ever since he first sat in one of those red coaching chairs. We’re just not sure how it’ll play out in other episodes where it’s just two random celebrities.

We also like the Viral VIPs part of the game, where two people featured in embarrassing viral videos are given a shot at redemption. They appear to be good athletes when it comes to their viral failures and they certainly come into play when things go further and usually have good chemistry with their celebrity partner. Bella is a decent host, but we wish she was a little less scripted at times.

Oh, one more thing: the winning “civilian” candidate gets an award related to his viral failure. Let’s just say it’s a decent price but nothing life changing. Maybe that’s for the best, because the game is more about having fun than winning things.

gender and skin: none.

farewell shot: Shelton returns to the stage with Brown, the contestants, Daly and Bella and sings “Margaritaville” again with his band.

sleeping star: We were quite surprised at how sharp Daly’s barbs were. Maybe it’s all the years around Shelton, but he got some really good shots at various points in both episodes.

Most pilot line: In the game of ping pong, the level of difficulty increases when the massive paddle is exchanged for a massive multi-hole paddle. All well and good, but then the Paddle is exchanged for one with a huge hole in the middle. For us it feels easier to work with because you just hit the balls with the bottom edge.

Our appeal: Stream it. Barmagedon is one of those shows that you tune into when you just fancy some mindless fun or something to have while scrolling TikTok. If you look up, you see something funny or exciting. But it’s definitely not a show to stay hooked on for an hour.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and technology, but he doesn’t fool himself: He’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon,, VanityFair.comFast Company and elsewhere.

Leave a Comment