Thursday, June 08, 2006

Gameshow Marathon

I could apologize to my countless fans for my lack of blogging since I've been back from vacation... but why should I do that? I don't see you paying a dime to read my blog... so deal with it and be glad I actually have something interesting to say again (or for once.) :)

On to more important things... the newest television show to make its way onto the game show revival circuit, a gameshow of gameshows called Gameshow Marathon. 6 celebrity contestants compete in 6 different classic gameshows to crown one the ultimate game show champion.

The first episode of The Price is Right was pretty average... while I enjoy TPiR, it isn't exactly the most exciting thing to watch most of the time. I DVR it during the day and fast forward so I can see the 6 pricing games, but skip the Showcase Showdown and then just turn it off before the (not-so) Fabulous Showcases. The episode was OK... but I'm looking forward to better.

Fast forward to Thursday night's "Let's Make a Deal". Slightly more entertaining, though not exactly captivating. I hate to admit that Deal or No Deal has far more suspense than LMaD ever had. The highlight of the show was probably the Zonk prizes that featured Gilbert Gottfried in classic LMaD zonks. But yet again, despite the fabulous deals behind Door #1, Door #2 and Door #3, something was lacking.

On to last night's resurrection of the 1950's classic Beat the Clock. Now we're moving up in the world. It's amazing how such a simple show can be so entertaining. It was nice how they used stunts from the original show in this one. Entertaining.

Then tonight, we get the big money... Press Your Luck! I forgot how exciting this game show is... the revival might be even more exciting than the original. It was outstanding! Sadly the original host of PYL, Peter Tomarken, died earlier this year... and of course the original show was announced by the legendary Rod Roddy who died a few years back now. This show needs to be back on the air. There was a brief 2-season or so revival of the show "Whammy: The All New Press Your Luck" that aired on GSN a few years back, but it was abysmal in comparison.

The most amazing thing about all of these Gameshow Marathon revivals is the recreations of the original sets. The set designers for this show have done an absolutely amazing job recreating the exact same sets from the original shows, down to the most minute details (though most were obviously scaled down to fit within a smaller soundstage). Considering a show like Press Your Luck with such a distinct and detailed set that probably was dismantled and thrown away when the show went off the air 20 years ago... just amazing.

Now I am a huge supporter of bringing back classic game shows, but EVERY revival up until this one has significantly (and poorly) updated and changed the sets, and in most cases significantly changed the gameplay, from the original. It's no wonder the revivals never last more than 2 seasons. The original recipe was perfect, that's why the shows stayed on the air for so long in the first place. TV producers need to realize that, and I think they'll have instant hits on their hands.

What I'm really looking forward to is in 2 weeks the episode featuring the classic Match Game. I fully expect to see the classic orange shag carpet and gaudy 70's colors. The other nice thing is that they're briging back a decent celebrity panel, including the queen of game shows, Betty White who was a semi-regular on the original Match Game. This should be a show to end all shows!

A few other comments regarding the Gameshow Marathon format. First, host Ricki Lake. Not exactly my top choice (or even any choice) for a host, but she's doing a reasonable job. It's probably unreasonable to expect her to match the skill and talent of the original hosts who really defined the roles.

Now the celebrities... a bunch of B-list celebrities (or as some would say, perhaps C-list celebrities), including the 80-year old Leslie Nielsen, who seems to be bordering on senility... Tim Meadows, who hasn't done much of anything notable since leaving SNL... Kathy Nijimy, best known for her role in the Sister Act movies, but lots of other smaller comedic roles since... and well, other random people who aren't exactly showstoppers. I wonder if they actually tried to find some real celebrities to be on this show, or if they just assumed nobody would come. At least they're somewhat entertaining.

I guess that's the last of my ranting for now. Hey, I like game shows.

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