For kids in the ’90s, Nickelodeon’s Legends of the Hidden Temple was the greatest game show ever made. Set in a ruined temple overseen by a giant talking stone head named Olmec, contestants would complete a number of physical events in order to run a gauntlet through the titular temple in search of a mystic artifact. It was Indiana Jones meets Double Dare, but with much less slime.
As someone who owns a Blue Barracudas t-shirt, I’ve always thought that the show was due for a revival sooner or later. Today’s news does confirm that, but it’s in a form that I wouldn’t have expected. Nickelodeon has announced that Legends of the Hidden Temple will return but not as a game show. Instead, the network has decided to craft a TV movie out of the property, drawing on the game show’s mythology to tell the story of three siblings who have to traverse the temple for… reasons?
This is certainly a curious way to reinvigorate the property, but it does make sense. Game shows just aren’t the hot ticket item they once used to be. Reality television often blurs the line between game shows, documentaries, and other genres and that has somewhat diluted the idea of a simple game show. Going with a fictional story that utilizes memorable imagery and terms from the show will excite old fans while not being exclusionary to new viewers.
It’ll be interesting to see the fan response to this, since the movie will obviously be made with younger and less discerning viewers in mind. Older fans will certainly tune in, but they’ll need to keep in mind that this is a TV movie made by Nickelodeon. Don’t expect the next Citizen Kane.