Monday, September 29, 2008

Play it Back: 90’s Game Shows: Review

Finally got a chance to review this, sorry about the delay.

Anyhow… I must say this was pretty okay.

I wasn’t too big a fan of the dating segment. I mean, I don’t blame them for being apart of the show, they really first took off in this decade, but I just don’t see Studs as much of a game show, and I repeat what I said about Love Connection in the ‘80’s special here. And for what it’s worth, that barking guy on Love Connection was just creepy to me -- I NEVER want someone to snarl at me like that during anytime on a date.

I did enjoy the parts about Hollywood Squares, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy!. Although it’s my favorite version of the show, It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen really early episodes of Bergeron’s Hollywood Squares, so I don’t remember any Baldwin brothers appearing. And of course, the "YOU FOOL!" clip surfaces again, except on this special, no celebrity faces are blurred like on Most Outrageous Game Show Moments. It’s been played before several times but still worth a laugh -- as I mentioned before, the repeating is inevitable in most cases. It was nice seeing clips from the earlier days but I wish we had seen a bit more.

Good for them for remembering a very important element of Wheel of Fortune -- the puzzle board change. I remember when it first happened. It’s hard to believe that was almost 12 years ago. And I couldn’t believe that they even referred to the late ’90’s set of Jeopardy! as what the more hardcore members of the game show community always called it -- the sushi bar set! I found that to be quite funny for some odd reason.

And of course, you can’t have a ‘90’s retrospective without the mention of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?. It was only on for a few months in 1999, but this show had managed to become a huge hit very quickly. I remember very well how much this impacted the country. With parodies everywhere and my own self annoying my mother by asking "Is that your final answer?" over and over. I liked this part, although I’m not a fan of John Carpenter. Sorry, I just found him to be a bit cocky.

Pretty decent overall but I do think the 1980’s was the best special. This one I would rate second, with the ‘70’s retrospective last. I found the 1970’s one to be rather disappointing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Trivial Pursuit: America Plays: Review

September 22nd marked the debut of a new TV version of the classic Hasbro board game, Trivial Pursuit, called Trivial Pursuit: America Plays.

The host of the new version is Christopher Knight, probably most known for playing Peter Brady on The Brady Bunch, and we can’t forget his reality stint My Fair Brady on VH-1. I think Christopher here does a really decent job. He doesn’t have to do that much since he doesn’t have to ask the questions. But his volume is very good, and he’s really good at interacting with the contestants.

With this show, I really like the concept of the in-studio players versus America. I like how the questions asked come from people of all types. There’s also a good, wide range of categories. I know some of the history questions and some of the material from the other categories, but quite honestly, pop culture is pretty much my forte and I see myself doing best at that subject. For instance, as a fan of the show Friends, I totally knew the character Joey’s last name is Tribbiani.

As far as the minor things go, I really like the set. It looks modern enough without looking too much like a busy primetime dramatic game show. The music and other cues used from what I heard sound pretty good. Simple enough and not overdramatic.

I haven’t seen the 90’s version before so I really don’t have anything to compare the current version with. But overall, I say this is a very good effort. It’s a pretty enjoyable show.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TPIR: 37th Season Premiere

The first day of fall marked the season premiere of America’s longest-running daytime game show. Price’s 37th season got off to a pretty exciting start with Most Expensive. Heartbreaking loss though.

As reported this summer, we got a new pricing game, Gas Money! I really like the concept behind it. With the name and everything, it really marks our current time period. And not only do you get a car if you win the game, but you also win up to $10,000!

As I probably said before, I didn’t have a digital TV converter box before this season so I’m finally seeing the show in widescreen now and I must say, it’s another really interesting experience. I don’t have an HDTV and even I can tell how even better the show looks with the HD cameras. And speaking of looks… the set this season is pretty good in my opinion. Pretty much the Million Dollar Spectacular set brought to daytime, sans the black floor, also as reported earlier this summer. I do like the new big wheel design. Though I’m really not looking forward to seeing the purple coloring with that. I like how the show looks modern enough without being too modern.

I’m looking forward very much to the rest of the season and I’m glad that small changes were made without the show losing its feel.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Supernatural: Season 4 Premiere

I really, REALLY enjoyed the season 4 premiere of Supernatural last night.

A lot of the minor things I really loved. I loved how defensive Sam and Bobby were when they first saw Dean. What a touching hug between Sam and Dean. And Bobby splashing holy water on Dean was so funny. Can’t blame them for being protective at first since they fight demons and evil spirits pretty much for a living. There’s also that bit about the iPod in the Impala; of course Dean would hate that.

I am curious about the angle on the angel of the Lord but I am definitely looking forward to seeing how it goes. The mystery element is very intriguing, and will really be worth trying to find out. And I’m definitely glad that the show didn’t waste too much time reviving Dean. Even Jensen jokes that if Dean weren’t to come back, it’d be the Sam Winchester show, so there’d have been really no point to tease the viewers any longer with that in my eyes, so I’m glad they didn’t go that route.

Supernatural is my favorite current series right now and I am really glad this show pretty much doesn’t disappoint at all. I’m always on the edge of my seat. And what’s more, I’m behind on my DVD buying, and I had finally bought season 1 a couple weeks ago. I didn’t begin watching until towards the end of that, so there were plenty of episodes I hadn’t seen yet. I finished with that, and what I noticed is that this show is addictive as it is when seeing it in first run… it’s been the first time in quite a while where it’s like “I cannot miss a single episode of this” with a current show. And with the DVD’s, it was so hard to stop watching. This show is just so addictive, especially with having multiple episodes on hand.

Here’s to a great new season of Supernatural!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Play it Back: '80's Game Shows: Review

I do like this special in particular better than last week’s.

As usual, I love the trivia element. I also learned a couple things. For one thing, I didn’t know Bob Eubanks recorded a song.

We do see some of the same clips again -- which I mentioned last time is pretty much inevitable -- but at least it’s nice seeing some fresh material. And I didn’t know Mark DeCarlo was a contestant on Sale of the Century, and it was nice seeing some clips. It's a shame that Fremantle probably doesn't even let them air part of an episode. It looks like the clips shown were from a personal collection. Again, a little bit more fresh material could have been used. But I thought this was a bit better. I’ve seen Pat Sajak kiss Vanna White on his last daytime Wheel of Fortune show, but I’ve never seen it be featured in some sort of documentary. Same with the France-French moment on Password Plus.

Not liking the fact that Love Connection made this special much at all. It’s not that I have a serious problem with this show; I just don’t see much of a gaming element in it. But it was a big part of the ‘80’s and provided decent fodder for the show, and it’s not as if the show was bombarded with Love Connection clips… despite the fact that I hardly think of it as a game show, I can deal with it.

Loved the Betty White part. It’s so true. Betty is a very important part of our game show culture. From being on every incarnation of Password, to Pyramid, and other game shows, especially in the 1980’s… to even hosting a show of her own, albeit short-lived, Just Men!, in 1983. And can’t forget about Vicki Lawrence. Another great and very entertaining game player. Her walking out on The $100,000 Pyramid after a bad week is probably one of my favorite memorable game show moments. I also loved Vanna White’s mention earlier in the show. You can't have an '80's game show special without mentioning her.

Caroline I thought was better on this show too. And it was nice seeing Wink again, and Chuck Woolery this time around. The other commentators I thought were pretty decent again as well.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Play it Back: 70’s Game Shows: Review

GSN debuted a new decade documentary series Play it Back, on Sunday. And this episode focused on the game shows of the 1970’s. I must say, I was rather disappointed in this.

I think by now, with the amount of game show documentaries and specials that have been done over the years, it’s just inevitable to see something repeated. I mean, Match Game was one of those shows that defined the 1970’s, so it’s expected to see some of the same clips again (i.e. “boobs”, School Riot, et. al.). And I knew we couldn’t spend the hour without having discussion about the Newlywed Game’s “In the butt, Bob” moment, no matter how overplayed it is. But when most of the show is the same stuff we’ve already seen several times before, I can see how that can be annoying. The 1970’s had near 70 game shows throughout the course of the decade, so I was expecting much more material than what we saw. Though there was some fresh stuff shown, well, at least for a documentary it was fresh. I never thought I’d see someone comment about the $38,750+ win on Jackpot!, and I’ve never seen Billy Crystal’s record win on $20,000 Pyramid mentioned in a documentary. But still, I was expecting more than what we saw.

I did like the trivia questions between breaks. I mean, I’m a bigger fan of the genre than the average viewer, so I pretty much knew that 1975 had the most game shows that aired. And I’m sure not every fan knows the exact date of the premiere of Split Second.

Caroline Rhea -- who I do love, by the way -- I really wasn’t feeling that much here. The commentators I had no real problem with. I really liked seeing Bob Goen, Bob Eubanks, and Wink Martindale.

I just hope the ‘80’s and ‘90’s episodes are better. But if they’re not, we’ve still got the marathons at least, right? I still cannot wait for $25,000 Pyramid.

Wheel and Jeopardy!: Season Premieres

Yesterday marked the season premieres for the current versions of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!. For Wheel of Fortune, it’s the start of the 26th season. It’s the silver 25th for Jeopardy!.

Nothing that significant happened with either show so I’m just going to merge these into one entry.

Wheel of Fortune debuted its new Million Dollar space, it’s basically Bankrupt-Million-Bankrupt, replacing the Bankrupt-$10,000-Bankrupt wedge. The 25th anniversary wedge is also gone, makes sense since the 25th year was last year. It’s also goodbye to the Big Money wedge. I’m kind of mixed on the million dollar element. I don’t like it that much because there’s so much extra stuff on this show now, and I truly don’t think adding something else is necessary. Having so much of the fluff has really turned me off of watching every night. However, there’s the fact that on this show, you really have to work and earn your way towards winning that kind of money, and I do like that. And with the strings attached, we’re probably not going to see one that often. So I do think there’s a positive part to it.

As far as Jeopardy! goes, I do like the silver logo. It’s very appropriate. I also hope we get to see more “looks back” at the show, like one of yesterday’s categories. I like the new main theme music. The Final Jeopardy! one I’m really not a fan of. I just think it’s way too light for this show.

I must remark on one other thing. I recently got a DTV converter box. So it’s really a treat seeing both shows look so crisp. And seeing them in widescreen is a rather theatrical experience.

Syndie Millionaire: Season Premiere

The start of the seventh season on daytime syndicated Millionaire saw some new changes to the show, as pointed out recently during the summer.

There are the changes to the graphics and music. Also the addition of the two lifelines Double Dip from Super Millionaire and Ask The Expert. The potential topics from questions are now shown, and we can’t forget that dreaded clock. It’s pretty interesting seeing these changes play out.

I must say, it’s not the clock I have a problem with. The clock helps add suspense. But I do think that the clock should not start until after all of the possible answers have been read. That just sounds more fair to me.

Nothing much to say about Double Dip. It’s done the exact same way as it was on Super. I really like the Ask The Expert lifeline. I can’t say I’m going to miss 50:50 all that much and I never really liked Switch the Question.

The graphics take a bit of getting used to pretty much for the fact that they‘re brand-new, but in watching the episode again, I really don’t mind them at all. While they are obviously different, they still help keep the feeling of the show. Same with the music and the ticking embedded in it obviously fits with the new addition of the clock.

Meredith’s still herself, which is good. I do love her on this show.

DoND: Syndie Premiere

Monday marked the debut of a new daytime first-run syndicated version of the NBC primetime hit, Deal or No Deal. This version is also hosted by Howie Mandel, just like at night.

A while back I mentioned about how incredibly tired I had grown of the NBC version. Just way too much craziness and I couldn’t take it anymore… well, I decided to give the syndicated version a shot to see if I would feel the same way.

And I must say I am rather impressed with it. I liked seeing the other contestants holding the cases; that reminded me of the British version. Though I'm sure some fans of the models might not like that during the day there are only two of them. I had heard of other versions using a wheel on the show and I wondered how that would work. I do like the thrill of it, as it picks potential players. The friends/family element of the contestant asking loved ones on how far they should go is gone on the daytime version. I must say I am glad to see it go. It didn’t bother me much at first, but eventually on the nighttime version, I just found this as another factor that helped make the show more and more irritating for me as the contestants’ loved ones could get really rather obnoxious at times. Howie did a great job as usual.

Today I watched the show and it felt about as fun as it did when I first saw the show back in 2005. This version focuses far more on the contestant and the game and I just love that. All I ask now is please, PLEASE keep this the way it is. Special episodes and so forth are good every once in a while, but please don’t overdo it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Family Feud: Season Premiere

For me it’s really hard to believe that this version of Family Feud has been on so long. I still remember being up one late night in Indiana being up sick and discovering it for the first time in late 1999.

Nothing has changed with the format so I’m just going to talk about the minor changes. Most everything from the recent NBC nighttime Celebrity Family Feud is now on the daytime version. The colors, the different game board, the *ding-whoosh!*, and so forth. I’m glad to see that the opening from Celebrity Feud did not carry over though.

I notice that it seems that the classic theme is being used again as well, but from the looks of things, not for very long. In the Atlanta area, we get double runs of this show during the day. The first new episode features the classic theme, while the second episode of the hour features a newer version of the 2006 theme. Sort of like a remix; same melody but with some different parts to it and somewhat newly orchestrated. And judging from the closing, it sounds like this version has more of a melody. The same face-off, commercial, and Fast Money win cues from 2006 have been carried over. The Fast Money background music from the recent Celebrity Feud is being used now and replaces the previous cue. Can’t say I like that too much, since it sounds kind of Millionaire-like.

The questions are just fine. I know some people didn’t like the overtly titillating questions on the celebrity version a while back. I didn’t really care too much either way, except for the fact that that particular mood was kind of forced on there; said mood wasn‘t carried over here on the regular daytime version. Pretty standard-fare Feud survey questions just like normal.

John O’Hurley is still in fine form as the host, and it was really nice seeing his son William.

Here’s to one more year of The Feud!

Friday, September 5, 2008

ATWT: A Mushroom Hunting We Will Go

What I did like about this episode: This was so campy. I could not stop laughing. Especially at Lucinda seeing a mushroom and saying “MINE!” She was such a treat. I really loved seeing more of Luke and Noah being a couple for once and having some sort of fun together, even if the storyline premise is rather silly. This show today often goes from one dramatic climax to another, quickly, without much of a break or any kind of lightheartedness in between, so for me, seeing this couple being light-hearted is always great.

What I didn’t like about it: The interruptions, obviously. That kiss interruption just brought back some really unpleasant memories. And Brian was just creepy to me today when interrupting the two of them. And of course the airtime. It’s bad enough as it is, and it’s really going to get irksome later this month with Jake’s absence, but I should know better by now. If the Jack/Carly/Liberty/Parker, et. al. story is featured, good luck… *sighs*

Also, did Brian go to Pier 1 Imports when he shopped for camping equipment? I mean, really, that was some fancy stuff that we saw. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone use a rug in a tent before. And those tents were like mini-sized homes.

TPIR: Happy Anniversary, Price

September 4th, 2008 marks the anniversary of the longest running daytime game show. None other than The Price Is Right.

The show has gone through a lot over the past 37 years. Set changes, model changes, expanding to a full hour, different announcers, Bob Barker’s retirement, Drew Carey‘s arrival. And now the show is about to undergo some more changes for the new season. Here are the facts:

A lot of them do sound pretty good. I love the fact that the show will be in HD this season. I’ve just recently bought a converter box so I can have a digital signal for the local channels, and I’ve noticed how much clearer things look, even with an analog TV. The show will also bring the million dollar set to daytime, with the exception of the floor remaining white.

As far as the pricing games go, 3-Strikes’ first digit in the pricing game is given for free, and all 3 strikes are being added back to the bag. One other thing is that the game isn’t played entirely for luxury cars anymore, which means we’ll probably see this game more in the rotation. Check Game’s winning range has been updated from $5,000-$6,000 to $7,000-$8,000. Punch-A-Bunch’s top prize is now $25,000. There will be a single $25,000 slip replacing the two $10,000 ones. However, out of all the changes and additions being made, I think I’m most looking forward to the addition of the new pricing game, Gas Money.

The Big Wheel has been updated with new fonts and color schemes to match the turntables and the doors. The font changes, while minor, could take a tiny bit to get used to, but I do love the idea of having a more a color-coordinated set.

The rumors about the format changes and other major set changes at the time of Roger Dobkowitz’s removal have since been proven false. There are still six pricing games, two showcase showdowns, etc. Drew Carey is still the host and Rich Fields is still the announcer.

Monday, September 1, 2008

MTM: Finally!

Special thanks to vnisanian2001 at the GSN boards for pointing this out to me Saturday afternoon.

Mary Tyler Moore fans rejoice because it’s about time! At long last, the last three seasons of the classic sitcom will be coming to DVD!

I don’t know why Fox was reluctant anyway with this show. There were only three seasons left. The remaining three seasons won Emmys for best writing and best series. Season 5 has what’s arguably known as the most popular episode of the entire series: “Chuckles Bites The Dust.” And season 7 has the final show which has made history as one of the best finales a show has ever done and was very well received by fans. It’s thanks to those fans that the rest of this show is coming. And speaking of things coming to an end, I hope this is the beginning of the end of shows on DVD being abandoned. If not everywhere else, at least with Fox.

Now bear in mind, I’m no expert on the subject by any means, but I’ve come to realize that there are certain things to understand with classic shows on DVD. And this goes for anything that’s not current. Anything not making fresh episodes as I’m writing this entry. Things like the price and popularity factors of certain seasons. I notice how the New York Times article mentions All in The Family, and they couldn’t be more correct when it comes to that show’s status on DVD and the company behind it. Come on Sony, where’s the rest of All in the Family, The Jeffersons, The Facts of Life, Who’s The Boss?, and Maude? I mean, it’s not like we’re talking about short-lived shows that had no audience. All of these shows at one time or another became major hits and had long, healthy runs originally and in syndication. If you ask me, they should be completed by now.

There have been reports in the past about season 1 of Mary Tyler Moore not selling well initially, which I am not surprised to hear in the least. Season 1 was a great release, and it had many extras, which probably led to it costing so much. Side note: I will never complain about extras being released with a DVD set, especially with companies like CBS/Paramount who hardly release any, and season 1’s release had some GREAT ones. But I’d bet money that the original price being $45-55 dollars had some fans, like myself, waiting for the price to come down. And this goes for any show on DVD as well in my opinion. I love Supernatural to death, but I am not paying $49.99 for any season of it when I can just wait for an eventual sale. If I EVER pay that much, the DVD’s better come with a date with Jared Padalecki or Jensen Ackles.

But all that aside, even though there are no release dates listed as of yet, I am so excited anyway! My favorite show ever is about to be completed on DVD! Yes!

Forgive me if I seem like I am squealing like a fanboi. Because I am a little inside.