Back in July, I doubted that “Jeopardy!” could return for a new season in the midst of a pandemic with a host who’s fighting pancreatic cancer.

But kudos to the production team for figuring it out, with virtually no impact on the game. Having the contestant podiums further apart and ensuring that Alex Trebek keeps his distance from everyone was a relatively easy solution and, after four weeks of new shows, seems completely natural.

However, the biggest difference is that the show has only been using players from the Los Angeles area. The idea is to avoid forcing people to fly from elsewhere in the country and then stay at a hotel near Sony Studios, thus exposing them to more places beyond the producers’ control.

Unfortunately, it seems as if, in order to keep a fresh supply of players, the knowledge level necessary to become a contestant has been markedly reduced. Frankly, these folks aren’t up to the show’s usual standards. Scores have been much lower, more questions are going unanswered, and one recent episode finished with two of the three players in the red — leaving only one to answer “Final Jeopardy!”

It’s not the first time that’s happened, but seems more indicative of the quality of the recent contenders.