Monday, November 3, 2008

1000 Words on Game Shows

Because I'm having a bit of insomnia right now, here are my opinions on 100 game shows, in no particular order, ten words each. Particulars on versions (country, approximate year, etc.) appear in parentheses. If I'm off by a word on one, I don't want to hear it.

1. Deal or No Deal (US primetime): A game of luck with 26 models, briefcases, and commercials.
2. Deal or No Deal (US daytime): How they should have done it from the onset, thanks.
3. Deal or No Deal (UK): The ideal, with that amazing balance of drama and comedy.
4. Wheel of Fortune (US, current): The ultimate light entertainment game, but now a bit gimmicky.
5. Jeopardy! (US, current): Still brilliant, even with minimal format changes. But hard.
6. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Regis era): Fifteen questions lead to a dramatic change in the genre.
7. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Vieira era... heh): Lost some of its mystique, but still a good show.
8. Greed: I hated it then, but now I wish I didn't.
9. Winning Lines: The most amazing end-game ever, with some shoddy leading events.
10. Twenty-One (Povich revival): I'd rather trust Van Doren with a shotgun than this.
11. Amne$ia: Good game, but Dwyer tried to make too many jokes.
12. Identity: I'm not a fan of drama by elongating answer reveals.
13. 1 vs. 100: They screwed up the last season, but otherwise, quite brilliant.
14. The Mole: The only reality show I will clear my schedule for.
15. QI (UK): British comics make obscure trivia cool once again... nerds rejoice!
16. Hole in the Wall (US): It looks like fun, but it's flooded with fat jokes.
17. Hole in the Wall (UK, Australia, most anywhere else): Thank you for recognizing that this is a light show.
18. Power of 10 (US): Brilliant game, but the final gamble will likely stay untouched.
19. Set for Life: I'd rather eat a mousetrap. Six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
20. National Bingo Night: I'd rather watch Set for Life. Not really. Both suck.
21. Press Your Luck: Giddy contestants and flashing lights... held my attention well, apparently.
22. Scrabble: I was too young to understand how amazing this was.
23. Don't Forget the Lyrics! (US): Wayne Brady shines in an overly dramatic arena... Typical Fox.
24. Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?: I question this show's validity in multiple ways... Typical Fox.
25. The Singing Bee: Hokeyness led to charm, and the prize was just right.
26. Talk About: Fairly cheap, but a great premise. Probably worth reviving sometime.
27. Every Second Counts (US): Funny show with a great host and excellent theme music.
28. Blockbusters (US Cullen, UK): A great game, but I never thought it was fair...
29. Blockbusters (US Rafferty): One on one, fairness fixed. Bring back old theme music!
30. Tic Tac Dough (Wayne): Despite the apparently terrible host, I didn't like it anyway.
31. Supermarket Sweep: Definitely needs a revival. I do it on weekends anyway.
32. Debt: A brilliant parody, removed because too many men watched it.
33. Shop 'Til You Drop (Lifetime and Family Channel): Silly, but I was young then, so it was acceptable.
34. Shop 'Til You Drop (PAX): They killed it... and added lyrics to the theme music.
35. Born Lucky: I barely remember this show, and maybe that's not bad.
36. Pictionary (adult version): I liked to play along. Apparently, so did Alan Thicke.
37. Double Dare (Nickelodeon, all versions): Always mentioned in Nickelodeon nostalgia conversations, so it definitely stuck.
38. Double Dare (CBS): Humor in ambiguous clues makes this fun to play with.
39. Card Sharks (All but the 2001 version): Games about numbers and statistics tend to make me smile.
40. Card Sharks (2001): Throw in a hidden camera, and it goes to pot.
41. Now You See It: Word searches are fun, but it did the format mambo.
42. Go: It's better as a party game, hosted by my weatherman.
43. American Gladiators (old-school): Athleticism was fun. Skytrack was my favorite, with Atlasphere second.
44. American Gladiators (new-fangled): It felt like a pro wrestling match before Hogan arrived.
45. Countdown (UK): Too highbrow for America, but still one of my favorites.
46. The Waiting Game (UK): Slow gameplay, but still very intriguing. Bring it to America!
47. Match Game (all variants): Innuendo is good, but wrong answers are funny as blank.
48. Bruce Forsyth's Hot Streak: I can't tell which is more fun, watching or playing...
49. The Weakest Link (US NBC): I really hated Anne Robinson, but now I wonder why.
50. The Weakest Link (US syndie): I really hated George Gray, and now I know why.
51. Think Fast! (Nick): There's something flawed about the gameplay here, like... what gameplay?
52. Nick Arcade: Overly enthusiastic host might be cause of future obesity issues.
53. Make the Grade: If one contestant clearly triumphed, the rest of it stunk.
54. What Would You Do?: Was this technically a gameshow? In any case, good variety.
55. Wild and Crazy Kids: Again, was this a gameshow? I definitely liked it anyway.
56. You're On!: More hidden cameras, but the slight unfairness did it in.
57. Whose Line is it Anyway?: Maybe not strictly a gameshow, but it definitely had winners.
58. Lingo: Loved the word game, hated the heavy reliance on luck.
59. Friend or Foe: It's The Prisoner's Dilemma, but in triplicate! Triple my angst!
60. Whammy!: Well... it tried. It just didn't quite do it right.
61. Wheel of Fortune 2000: Too many gimmicks to be related to its mother show.
62. Jep!: Too stop-and-go to be Jeopardy!'s child, even cousin.
63. Russian Roulette: It's fun because you know they're not really getting hurt.
64. Distraction: It's not fun because they are. And there's Jimmy Carr.
65. The Price is Right: Still fun to play along with, regardless of who's hosting.
66. Pyramid (and its many incarnations): A fun game, but ambiguous rules sometimes made it difficult.
67. Dirty Rotten Cheater: One of the better bluffing games, though the reveal lacked.
68. To Tell the Truth: Amazingly fun to play along with... and never be right.
69. Let's Make a Deal: Costumes aside, everything seemed to be too based on luck.
70. Family Feud (Combs, Dawson, O'Hurley): The better hosts of a classic game made it enjoyable.
71. Family Feud (Anderson, Karn): One was fat, the other in flannel, neither one tolerable.
72. Trivial Pursuit (early 90's): A good game brought to television by a capable host.
73. Shuffle: Slow gameplay, but same host brings color to interesting concept.
74. Boggle: Slow gameplay, starts to get redundant, even Wink becomes robotic.
75. Jumble: Does every game have to be played on a keypad?
76. Family Challenge (Combs): Silly and messy, but not really going anywhere with it.
77. Small Talk: Proves that our youth can be shamelessly exploited for humor.
78. Child's Play: Does the same, but with a much more solid game.
79. Shopping Spree: Too much gab, not enough game. That much aside, decent.
80. The Joker's Wild (90's): Liked the theme music, can't say much about the game.
81. Click: This one looked like fun, despite the sketchy end game.
82. Peer Pressure ("Pressure I"): Might as well be watching someone playing Truth or Dare.
83. Peer Pressure ("Pressure II"): On-the-buzzer trivia for teens. That's it. Nothing else.
84. Get the Picture: Too easy for one team to dominate. Otherwise, looked fun.
85. GUTS (and Global GUTS): Bungee cords make everything more fun and apparently, more athletic.
86. Random Acts of Comedy: Or not, as David Alan Grier gleefully demonstrates to us.
87. Hollywood Squares (all versions): A very delicate balance between comedy and trivia finally realized.
88. Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman: Finally, kids' reality television that's educational and fun... Cheers, PBS!
89. Pick Your Brain: Good game, probably would have worked better without the robot.
90. Maximum Drive: Motorcycles and ATV's in a gameshow? Eh... sure, why not.
91. Powerball Instant Millionaire: A game that feels like the lottery itself: sheer luck.
92. Quicksilver: Interesting game, but made so cheaply it loses all credibility.
93. All 4 One: See above. So cheap it's painful. Are we done yet?
94. Junkyard Wars: Good fun for the mechanical engineer in all of us.
95. Interceptor (UK): I still think this would be a hit in America.
96. Remote Control: The charm is in the cheesiness, and the Eubanks Pez.
97. Trivia Trap: Seemed like a roundabout way to do the same thing.
98. Golden Balls (UK): A brilliant bluffing game, but... why The Prisoner's Dilemma again?
99. Show Me the Money: I'm terribly alone in believing this show had definite potential.
100. The Moment of Truth: Springer as a gameshow: Sex, lies, and still no winners.

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