One of the most popular genres of TV shows across multiple audiences is brain games or knowledge quiz shows. In these, a contestant is putting their mental acumen and knowledge to the test for money or prizes – but the real enjoyment comes in the audience being able to participate and say “see, I knew that!” As well as being entertaining, these shows are genuinely educational – providing facts and figures in a format that makes them easier to remember and absorb, because you’ll also remember the context of the show. It’s a fun competition for the family, and the questions have usually been researched by experts and come from a variety of backgrounds.
The Chase. A quick-fire style quiz show in which the contestant is matched up against a general knowledge expert, with a specialty in a particular subject. They both answer the same set of questions, and the more the contestant gets right, the closer they get to the prize. However this is also true of the expert “chaser”, and if they overtake them up the scoreboard then the contestant is out.
QI. A panel show hosted by Stephen Fry, the title stands for “Quite Interesting” which is what it aspires to be. Rather than being a focused, serious quiz show, it’s more light hearted and interested in discovering the weird and wonderful. It tends to look at topics that people have a lot of assumptions about, and challenges these assumptions, so it’s a great way of broadening your knowledge. There isn’t any kind of scoring system that makes sense, but as it’s always panelled by British comedians it’s more about the entertainment value than a fierce competition.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. The absolute classic quiz show, and one of the longest-running with different versions in countries all around the world. The basic format is simple, with questions that get harder as the quiz goes on, but are progressively worth more and more money. It draws on a wide range of subjects from history to pop culture, and there are even spinoff versions that emphasize the game show aspect and set rapid fire questions.
Television brain games let you test your general knowledge against a team of experts who have researched and compiled questions designed to be a challenge but not impossible. The more you watch, the more information you will absorb.