Wednesday, June 07, 2006

TV: Gameshow Marathon

Logistics: CBS, 7 p.m. (Central) Thursdays throughout June
Verdict, so far: &&&

Part of the summer's original programming, rather surprisingly, is this homage to fun game shows of years gone by with somewhat of an emphasis on the 1980s. Celebrities play classic games in an elimination format with one classic game featured per show. Proving yet again that there's not an original idea in game shows in the U.S. today, it's inspired by Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon from the U.K. With three of the seven episodes now aired, here's a look at some of what we like and what we don't:

Pro: Authenticity • The loving recreations of the originals make this a true nostalgia rush. The holy grail for me comes tomorrow night when the celebs play Press Your Luck in all its original glory, as if the ill-conceived Whammy revival on GSN never happened. In an era when all the game shows want dark, space-agey sets like Millionaire, it's great to see a celebration of gaudy sets and flashing lights. Bring on Match Game '73 and the shag carpet. The opening montage of clips from the classic shows is nicely done, building anticipation in each episode for the game to follow.

Con: Host Ricki Lake • Nothing against Lake, who seems like a nice person, but her delivery has been a bit shrill. Not the best choice of host for this gig.

Con: Order of the shows • CBS will be lucky if there's any audience left after tonight's Beat the Clock snoozer. Things got off to a shaky start last week when the pricing games on The Price Is Right had rather boring consequences. Fan favorite Plinko was typically anticlimactic, with just $2,100 won. Some of the most appealing shows (Press Your Luck, Family Feud, Match Game, Card Sharks) are bunched toward the middle and end, and I'm afraid some audience has permanently tuned out before we get there.

Pro: Revivals? • It's speculated by some that these shows could serve as a sort of testing ground for the possibility of reviving a classic game.

What's left • 6/8 - Press Your Luck, 6/15 - Card Sharks, 6/22 - Match Game, 6/29 - Family Feud


David said...

I always loved Match Game. I just hope they can get a campy of a group as Brett Summers and Charles Nelson Reilly.

And Gene Rayburn? Miss him.

Jebb said...

It would be great to see some of the old Match Game regulars. I think we will see some of the people who have been spotted in the audience, such as Betty White, on the Match Game panel. Press Your Luck was fun tonight, and the rest of the shows should be better than that Beat the Clock snoozefest that aired Wednesday.

Daft Monk said...

While your right on with most of your review but I think Ricki Lake is the key to why the show works. Given her background working with John Waters she sets the cheeky tone of embracing bad taste that gives the show a campy vibe and never taking on a condescending tone. I get the impression that Ricki spent a lot of time watching these shows as a kid and is having a blast, which might be coming across as a little overexcited. In any case it’s a fun summer distraction.