The Crystal Maze might well lay claim to being the most ‘90s show of all time.
A show so ‘90s that its bald host had an implied mullet.
A show so ‘90s that it made puzzles – PUZZLES! – into compelling television.
A show so ‘90s that its idea of the future was about space travel and advanced technology, rather than a planet ravaged by the preventable consequences of climate change.
The things that worked in the ‘90s, however, have a different impact today. That means the revamped Crystal Maze zones – created as the programme prepares to return after a two-decade hiatus – have changed quite a bit.
The BBC got to take a look at the new set, which revives the zones from the original: Medieval, Industrial, Futuristic and, for some reason, Aztec.
Original ‘90s designer James Dillon was also involved in the new designs, and has explained the changes he needed to make.
"[I] wanted to get away from the original look, which was a slightly broken down and dystopian vision of the future,” Dillon says about the new Futuristic Zone.
“Now the vision is very clean, pristine, quite antiseptic – it's like the neighbourhood has come up a bit."
He also describes the Industrial Zone as “almost like a period set now”.
"There's so few elements from the original in daily life now. So much industrial landscape has disappeared, we don't do industry so much in this country anymore," he says.
"So its almost like a period thing now that you look back on and go, 'oh yes, that's what it used to be when you went to a factory or an industrial landscape.’”
In fact, it almost has the visual impact of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, the ‘80s-based show in which new Crystal Maze host Richard Ayoade made his name.
There was slightly less tweaking to do with the Aztec Zone (“a lot of sand”) and the Medieval Zone (which looks a bit like Mr Burns’ mansion in that Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons where he’s revealed to be a vampire.
When it comes to the Crystal Dome, the showpiece of the programme, it’s bad news for moat fans (we know you’re out there) with that element being removed. But if you like massive fuck-off disco balls, then boy are you in luck.
The Crystal Maze is back on TV this week, with a celebrity special airing on Channel 4 on Friday at 9pm.
The episode will feature Ore Oduba, Vicky Pattison, Alex Brooker, Lydia Bright and Louie Spence.
(Images: Channel 4)