The experience of watching The Great British Baking Show is not unlike applying a thin layer of cool aloe-vera gel to a bad sunburn: It soothes what aches, alleviating — albeit temporarily — your abject misery. Which is why the newest season, out today on Netflix, truly could not be coming at a better time.
Fans of the world’s jolliest cooking-competition show will quickly notice that this season looks a little different from those that came before it. First of all, the beloved host Sandi Toksvig has been replaced by comedian Matt Lucas. And in adherence with quarantine restrictions, the bakers are competing in a pandemic-friendly “biosphere” close to a hotel in Essex, eschewing the show’s normal pastoral setting under a tent in the countryside. The core of the show remains the same, however: We still get to watch amateur bakers try to whip up the perfect sponge and avoid the dreaded “soggy bottom,” all the while chatting amiably amongst themselves.
Now perhaps you’re on the fence about whether you want to tune in to the newest season given that the show’s quality has declined significantly over the past few years. To those of you who feel this way, I’ll simply recommend that you watch the trailer. Not only do you get to hear Prue Leith’s delightful laugh, but you also get a glimpse of a foolishly tall layer cake on the brink of tipping over and an elderly contestant remarking, “Who in their right mind?,” before sipping a cuppa. Also some baker made a cake in the shape of Charles Darwin’s head, further proving that anything can be cake now.
And next week, we get the official start of Fat Bear Week? Finally, a few glimmers of light in an otherwise pitch-black year.