• With dodgeball out of its system, GSN finally offers some new quizzers.
Genre: Game show
Logistics: Tuesday through Saturday, 8 and 8:30 p.m. (Central)
Verdict: Chain Reaction && Starface &&
GSN takes a welcome step back to game shows with its two new originals, particularly Chain Reaction, which was developed by Michael Davies of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire fame. Despite good production values, however, the results are fairly disappointing. In the case of Chain Reaction, a word game remake in which contestants in teams of three (men vs. women) must complete a chain of related words with first letters shown as clues, there is the same affliction that hamstrings Lingo: the current obsession with forcing game shows to have completely self-contained episodes in which nothing carries over from today to tomorrow. By playing a predetermined amount of game rather than to a score or objective, the producers create situations in which the losing team can't catch up, resulting in anti-climactic game play that says, "Change the channel." Furthermore, seven years after the premiere of Millionaire, why does every set still have to look like a clone of that show? Enough already. Chain Reaction is a solid format that doesn't get the treatment it deserves here. It would be an obvious partner to GSN's successful word game Lingo, but it's instead paired with Starface, a celebrity/pop culture trivia quiz that has generated some ink because Danny Bonaduce hosts it. Starface tries admirably, but it's ultimately as one-dimensional as the celeb photos that continually pop up on the screen to establish categories.
// Factoid // The current incarnation of Chain Reaction is the third, following runs on NBC (1980) with host Bill Cullen and USA (1986-1991) with host Geoff Edwards. Though short-lived, the 1980 version, which teamed celebrities with civilians, was quite good.