BrainSurge (partially lost episodes of Nickelodeon game show; 2009-2014)
BrainSurge is a game show that aired on Nickelodeon from September 28th, 2009 to May 13th, 2011, and was reprised for a final family season on July 18th to November 17th, 2011 on Nick at Nite which finished from April 28th to May 9th, 2014 on Nicktoons. The show was hosted by Jeffrey Sutphen. Created by Scott Stone, who created other Nickelodeon game shows such as Legends of the Hidden Temple, Fun House, and The Mole. The show ran for three seasons before being canceled.
Format[edit | edit source]
The show involved 6 contestants known as the brainiacs who competed in 3 levels of brain games. The first level involved watching 6 different visual puzzles and the contestants had 10 seconds to lock in their answer on a numbered keypad. Each puzzle was worth a different point value (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 100) with the max score being 250 points. After all 6 puzzles, the 4 with the highest scores would move on to level 2 while the other 2 were eliminated and went down the Brain Drain (a slide filled with orange-colored foam) but were given a consultation prize.
Level 2 involved the contestants having to answer questions from a story Jeff told from his Big Book of Truth known as "Jeff's Big Book of Super Fantastic True Chronicles of Truth That Are Absolutely True." There were two types of stories, question, and list. The question stories were the usual who, what, where, when, why, and how, while the list stories involved the contestants listing off up to 20 items in a specific category. When the contestants were asked a question they were asked to sit down on the orange chairs if they heard a ding they were right if they heard a fart they were eliminated and send backward through the set of Jeff's mouth leading to the Brain Drain. This went on until there were only two contestants left. Contestants would also be eliminated if they ran out of time, or repeated an answer. The two remaining contestants would move to the Knockout Round where they had to match images from the story in a 4x4 grid. If a contestant made a wrong match, sudden death would happen and the person who made the next correct match would move on while the other was eliminated.
The final contestant would move to Level 3:The Final Stage, where they had to memorize and complete 3 paths on 3 grids in 90 seconds. The 3 paths were a 4x4 grid which had a path of 6 squares (5 in one episode), a 5x5 grid with 8 squares (9 in one episode, 10 in two episodes), and a 6x6 grid with 10 squares. Each time they completed a path they would win a prize, with the final prize being a vacation. If the contestant completed all 3 paths in 90 seconds, they would win all 3 prizes and get slimed. However, if they ran out of time, they were allowed to keep the prizes they won but were sent down the Brain Drain. In special Nick Stars episodes, the winner would win prizes for a randomly chosen audience member.
Broadcast History[edit | edit source]
The first season premiered on September 28th, 2009, and ended on April 9th, 2010 with the final episode airing on July 1st, 2010 during the beginning of season 2. Some differences compared to later seasons included, the stories in level 2 were still photographs instead of the animated ones shown in other seasons. In the first few episodes, if a contestant got a question wrong in Level 2, Jeff would skip the question and reveal the correct answers while in later episodes he would throw out the question but not say the answer. Another minor change is that Jeff allowed the contestants to throw the 90 seconds on the board which was only shown a few times in Season 2.
Season 2 premiered on June 21st, 2010 with the final episode airing on May 13th, 2011. A few changes were made to the show including there being no more 40 point puzzle, making the max score in Level 1, 210 points. The stories in Level 2 were now animated and the list stories had a max of 16 items instead of the usual 20. The final change was that the Brain Drain ran down straight to the audience instead of the original exit sign. This season featured 4 special weeks each with 5 episodes. The 4 special weeks were; Boys vs. Girls, Stars of Nickelodeon, Co-hosts, and Family week.
During the final season, the show was later changed to Family Brainsurge which premiered on July 18, 2011, to November 17, 2011. More changes were made to the show. Instead of 6 contestants competing, 5 teams of 2(a kid and an older family member) would compete. All the levels were renamed, Level 1 being called Brain Tease, Level 2 was called Brain Fart, and Level 3 was called Brain Trip. Level 1 only featured 4 puzzles (10, 25, 50, and 100) with the max score being 185 and the only team would go down the Brain Drain. Level 2 introduced a new mechanic called the Brain Fart, where if the family got stumped they could yell Brain Fart, and their Brain Trust consisting of 2 other family members, could help them with a question, but there were two catches. One, if they were wrong the team would be eliminated and two, the family could only use them once. The list stories were changed from 16 items to 12 and if the families named all the items, other questions would be asked about the story but no Brainfarts could be used. For Level 3, the kid would complete the 4x4 and 6x6, while the parent would complete the 5x5. On celebrity episodes, the celebrity families would compete for prizes and to win money for their selected charity ($1,000 for losing Level 1, $1,500 for losing the story part of Level 2, $3,000 for losing the Knockout Round, and $5,000 for winning the show).
Cancellation/Reruns[edit | edit source]
The show was canceled in late 2011 due to Sutphen hosting the revival of Figure it Out in 2012. However, the last final 10 episodes of season 3 aired on Nicktoons from April 28th, 2014 to May 9th, 2014 with reruns airing until July 2014. Also, season 2 reruns lasted until about June of the next year. Some episodes also aired on Nickelodeon's sister channel Nicktoons aside from the final season with the 10 withheld episodes.
List of Lost or Incomplete Episodes[edit | edit source]
|Episode||Found footage for the episode||Status||Contestants for episode|
|206||Clip from Promo||Lost||Ashley, Tyler, Ada-Nicole, Karine, Isaac, Danny|
|211||Levels 1 & 2||Partially Lost||Aiden, Rhudi, Ashley, Gretchin, Jake, Shaylie|
|221(Brothers vs. Sisters)||None||Lost||Nicole, James, Madison, Mason, Amber, Zach|
|228(Siblings)||Level 2 without intro but mirrored||Partially Found||Daquan, Zakiya, Bridger, Brecken, Jenna, Nikki|
|237(Family)||None||Lost||Isaiah & Mike, Charlotte & Barbara, Brooke & Ann, Crystal & Tony, Myles & Michelle, Skyler & Sean|
|238(Twins 2)||Clip #1 from Nick.com Quiz and Clip #2||Partially Found||Andy, Kyle, Madison, Mallory, Max, Mason|
|Episode||Found footage of episode||Status||Families|
|301||Level 1 and Story without Intro||Partially Found||Fenton, Munoz, Augustine, Dejoy, Kohno|
|303||Level 1, Level 2-1, and level 2-2||Partially Lost||Bennion, Pakula, Cardena, Redfearn, Danesh|
|304||Level 1 and Level 2||Partially Lost||Daruvala, Ayala. Gilmore, Johnson, Lancaster|
|306||Level 1, Level 2, and KO Round||Partially Lost||Haynes, Ark, Jenkins, Herren, Torrey|
|310||Level 1 and Story without Intro||Partially Found||Guerreo, Jinadu, Corcoran, Houlihan, Bramson|
|311||Story but audio is replaced with music||Partially Found||Cruzata, Ardon, Kokason, Orriss, Sellers|
|312||Level 1 and Level 2||Partially Lost||Martinez, Rowe, Gillcrist, McLurkin, Oliverio|
|315||Level 1 and Level 2||Partially Lost||Ocampo,Smith, Conneen, Wright, Gannuscio|
|318||Level 1||Partially Found||Sankofa, Levine, Gonzalez, Menotti, Arroyo|
|321||Level 1 and Level 2 without intro||Partially Lost||Monick, Ott, Parker, Barnes, Alvare|
|323||Level 1 and Most of Level 2||Partially Lost||Aguilera, Nolan, Garcia, Steele, Baxter|
|324||Level 1 and Level 2||Partially Lost||Radaker, Shou, Bowen, Palmer, Landon|
|326||Level 1 without intro and Level 2||Partially Lost||Moultrie, Muniz, Smith-Harris, Pieper, Torress|
|327||Level 2 and Level 3||Partially Lost||Sarem, Vera, McLaurin, Butler, Holtwarren|
|328||Level 1 and Level 3||Partially Lost||Crawford, Meza, Galdamez, Kling, Loucks|
|333||Story||Partially Found||Sargent, Woods, German, Vargas, Schoonover|
|337(Monkey Quest Sponorship)||Level 1 and Story without Intro||Partially Found||Pilapil, O'Neal, Edjhuryan, Hinojosa, Hilbig|
|340||None||Lost||Haltrecht, Webber, Musquiz, Crawley, Molnar|
Availability[edit | edit source]
Out of all 120 episodes, only 96 episodes can be found in full. All 40 episodes of Season 1, 34 from Season 2, and 22 from Season 3 but only 8 episodes are found in good quality (307-9, 314, 316, 322, 330, & 331). In addition, it is rumored by fans that an unaired pilot was released due to Episode 101 having never aired. The only footage that could be from the pilot is the dancing puzzle which was shown in the Season 1 intro, due to the lineup of contestants never being seen, also seen is the clip of the 6x6 with 27 seconds left in said intro and a photo shown in the story of Episode 108. While many episodes from all 3 seasons aired on reruns, a few episodes only aired once. These include the co-host, nick stars, and family episodes from Season 2, and the final episode of Season 3 which never aired on Nicktoons despite every other episode airing. No episodes were released onto iTunes or DVD, so it seems that the only possible way to redeem episodes is via recordings of premieres or reruns.
New Pilot Information[edit | edit source]
When asked about her time on Brainsurge, Alyssa from Episode 137 revealed on her twitter that all the contestants from her episode except for Skyler were in the pilot episode but had the shirts swapped(Mayah was purple, she was still red, Phillip was green, Mike was pink, Austyn was yellow and an unknown contestant was blue who didn't return for the reshooting. It is believed by fans to be Eric from Episode 123). She also revealed that in the pilot episode she lost in level 1 and Mayah actually won the show, which explains why she said Mayah was mad when she lost to Alyssa in the Knockout Round in 137. She also mentioned in her tweet with an audience member that filming took 13 hours due to technical and mechanical issues, also the audience wasn't allowed to get up for food and water. She stated that Phillip was crying the entire time during the pilot episode so it might mean that Phillip was also eliminated in level 1. Unfortunately, Alyssa and the other contestants weren't given tapes of the episode so the episode is still lost. It's unknown if any the puzzles or the level 2 story are the same as 102 aside from the dancing puzzle.
Contact Attempts[edit | edit source]
Jeff Sutphen himself claimed to a Twitter user that he had no episodes despite fans' requests, and the studio behind the show, Sunset Las Plamas Studios, had no recordings of any episodes in their library. In fact, they had not even heard of the show, so it must have been a new employee responding to the call. In addition, producer of the show Derek Bartholomaus was asked if he had episodes and he responded with,
No. I'm sorry, but due to conflicting rights issues the episodes are not available on any streaming service. Hopefully that will change in the future.
This is a common concept with shows that had to deal with music rights. In the case of Brainsurge, these conflicting rights were initially speculated to be from the parodies of name brands in several of the stories in level 2 (Indiana Jones, Willy Wonka, Transformers etc). Although, it is actually due to the production companies fighting for distribution rights on this show, hence its absence from streaming including the newly made Paramount+ and even iTunes and DVD.
Recovery of Episodes[edit | edit source]
On January 14, 2019, Youtube user Originalsboy uploaded 15 season 1 episodes (4 of which had already been posted, 110, 131, 132, 139) to the Internet Archive, which were then reuploaded to Youtube by another user appropriately named BrainsurgeGuy including the premiere episode of 122 from Dailymotion around this time; the original archive has been removed, however. Six months later, 2 season 2 episodes (217 & 219) were uploaded by TelevisionArchives. Following 3 months, episode 229 was recovered from its deletion in 2012, only to disappear on March 16, 2020 but recovered once more on September 22 of that same year. On February 6, 2021, contestant Natalie Martinez uploaded her episode of 236. One month later, 115 was finally publicized, having been originally privatized on December 29 2015. The next month, 104, 125, & 114 were uploaded from a Microsoft OneDrive by George Ortuno, a screen recording from nick.com in 2010, and an archive from a google drive, respectively. Most surprisingly, the month after that, all of season 1 and about the first half of season 2 was uploaded to a Google Drive folder by Halofan. These episodes were originally obtained from Usenet and a private tracker. On July 9th, 8 more episodes (204, 232, 235, 308, 309, 314, 322, & 331) were uploaded from another Google Drive Folder by Racelympics.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
External Links[edit | edit source]
- YouTube playlist of Season 1. Retrieved 14 Sept '20
- YouTube playlist of Season 2. Retrieved 14 Sept '20
- YouTube playlist of Season 3. Retrieved 14 Sept '20
References[edit | edit source]
- A review article on the show's premiere. Retrieved 19 Sep '20