‘Floor is Lava’ host Rutledge Wood: season 2 features new twists and a volcano

Rutledge Wood is back as host as "Floor is Lava." Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022

Credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Combined ShapeCaption
Rutledge Wood is back as host as "Floor is Lava." Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022

Credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX

One of the biggest shows during the early pandemic on Netflix besides “Tiger King” was a game show “Floor is Lava,” based on the childhood game of the same name.

The series is finally back after a long break for a season two, hosted again by Peachtree City’s Rutledge Wood. It debuted Friday June 3 for Netflix subscribers. But it’s only five episodes so the binge will go by quickly.

For folks who haven’t seen it yet, the show features elaborately themed rooms with 90,000 gallons of “lava” (not real, of course) and all sorts of flotsam to clamber, climb or jump onto. The goal is to get all three players out of the room without falling into the lava. Each episode features three teams, a mix of siblings, workmates and friends.

There is an added twist season two: the two teams who get the most players to the end in the shortest amount of time get to compete in a second set piece: a massive lava-laden volcano they must climb. The first team to stick three stones on top wins $10,000 and a $29 lava lamp. “That volcano looks even bigger in person,” Wood said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Individuals this season also have to find three different “exit passes” scattered around the course before they could leave, forcing teams to spread out more. “The teamwork aspect was ratcheted up,” Wood said.

The dramatic sinking steps at the exit from season one have also disappeared.

Arthur Smith, an executive producer for “Floor is Lava,” said while he loved the steps, he “wanted to mix it up this season with all new obstacles and crazy contraptions. We always want the viewers to enjoy fresh and exciting new features. But who knows? The dropping steps could come back in future seasons.”

And while Wood was largely an invisible voiceover narrator for much of season one, save for an intro and the crowning of the winner, he is on camera a lot more this season. Why? Producers added a viewing stage above the set so he can crack wise in view of the contestants. It also allows teams that completed the challenge to watch subsequent teams and provide additional commentary.

The lava also seems less angry this season, not bursting up as high and hitting contestants in the face. Wood said he did feel contestants seemed to slip a foot or leg in the water more often. (You go waist deep into the lava, though, and it’s over.)

Smith said the set designers made the lava consistency season two less watery: “It’s more like actual lava. A lot thicker, heavier, more intense and more dangerous. It even undulates like a floor full of lava should.”

Wood said there are some added challenges that are more “escape room” like. For instance, in one challenge where the room looks like a garage, the only way to open the escape hatch is to type in a three-letter password inside a vehicle. There are also drumsticks, which, if used, make it easier to traverse another part of the room. And in the game room set up, one contestant needs to dance, dance, dance for their life, enabling a disco ball to drop down and (perhaps) help them get to the exit faster.

On the casting side, “Floor is Lava” brings back the wacky Bostonian Virzi triplets from season one. And there is an entire episode that is pure Netflix synergy featuring contestants from other Netflix reality shows such as “The Circle” and “Too Hot to Handle.”

And in yet another Netflix crossover reference, a “Stranger Things” demogorgon pops up at one point. “Oh, gosh, I don’t like that thing,” the contestant says. Wood adds, wink-wink: “Hey, 65 million people worldwide disagree with you.”

Combined ShapeCaption
"Floor is Lava" on Netflix on season two features a new final round featuring a menacing volcano. Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022

Credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX

"Floor is Lava" on Netflix on season two features a new final round featuring a menacing volcano. Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022

Credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Combined ShapeCaption
"Floor is Lava" on Netflix on season two features a new final round featuring a menacing volcano. Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022

Credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Wood scaled back the puns, a verbal tick he tortured season one. But he kept the commentary colorful.

“Craig, it looks like you’re having a mid-course crisis,” Wood says to a middle-aged “dad bod” contestant while he stood on a wobbly headless mannequin.

About a trio of trapeze artists: “They are flying through this course like Prince on a purple motorcycle!”

And when a Virzi triplet dressed in an American flag outfit takes a tumble, Wood plucks out a “Rocky 3″ reference: “I haven’t seen a red, white and bruised boxing beat down since Apollo Creed!”

For Wood, the show has definitely upped the cool factor in the eyes of his three daughters, ages eight through 13. While he has spent years doing shows like “Top Gear” and “American Barbecue Showdown” and commentating on sports events, this particular show is the first one he has done geared to the entire family.

“I have been to the Olympics and the Kentucky Derby, but with ‘Floor is Lava,’ every kid now knows who I am,” he said.

The audacity and complexity of the courses themselves still awe Wood, who does not actually test out the courses himself. “I hope we can do this for another 15 years,” he said, just to see what new challenges the creators can conjure up.

WHERE TO WATCH

“Floor is Lava” season 2, first five episodes available Friday, June 2 on Netflix