Sub Zero (1999)

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The British Sub Zero can be described accurately as post-apocalyptic fun and games for children. The series' setting was a futuristic bathysphere, purportedly located two miles below the earth's surface. Two teams of young contestants, the XX's (boys) and YY's (girls), were obliged to answer questions and perform tasks for the great privilege of purifying the water supply in their little subterranean "home." Among the various challenges were "Net Detective," in which the kids followed clues provided on various websites; "Biorats," in which the viewers at home attempted via phone-ins and mail-ins to guide the action of the game; "Arcadia," set in (where else?) an arcade; "Nebula One," in which the players programmed and controlled a comic-relief robot; "Virtual Room," wherein a contestant tried to navigate a virtual-reality landscape that he or she could not see (but the audience could); "Web Connections," with the on-camera contestants playing games with audience members located at various Internet cafes throughout the United Kingdom; and "Biosphere Bonanza," a series of interactive puzzles for the folks at home. At times overwhelming in its cleverness and invention, Sub Zero (the title referred to the fate of the losing contestants, who were "cryogenically frozen" for the balance of the episode) was first carried by BBC2 in 1999.