Wondering which new and returning game shows are worth your time this season? You're in the right place! I've been spending loads of time reading, reviewing, and screening some of the fall 2008 offerings so you don't have to. Here's my list of hits and misses for the upcoming season.
Must-See Game Show TV
These are the game shows that score big points for originality, the play along at home factor, and overall entertainment value.
- Deal or No Deal (Syndicated), begins September 8th – The new format for this daytime version of Deal or No Deal is streamlined to fit a half-hour time slot. The result is a faster pace, with much less manufactured drama. The game still relies mostly on luck rather than any particular skill, but the changes that have been made for this version of the show really work. Catch it if you can!
- Opportunity Knocks, begins September 23rd – JD Roth is the host of this game show with a twist – instead of contestants traveling to a studio to tape the show, the studio comes to them! The show sets up in the front yard of the contestants' home, and the ensuing quiz game is based on the family themselves. This blogger has some great pictures of the show setting up in her neighborhood.
- Hole in the Wall, begins September 11th – If you had a good giggle with Wipeout! then chances are you'll enjoy Hole in the Wall. It's certainly not for hardcore quiz show aficionados, but the comedic value of watching people dressed in shiny spandex trying to fit themselves through a quickly advancing hole in a wall is irresistible to the rest of us. The fact that Brooke Burns is one of the hosts should reel in a healthy dose of male eyeballs as well.
- Jeopardy!, begins September 8th – Jeopardy! is the standard that all other quiz shows are measured by. To me it's always 'must-see' but this season is special because the show is celebrating its 25th anniversary in syndication, with Alex Trebek at the helm for the entire run. We're in for some special episodes, retrospectives, and a whole lot of fun this season.
If you've still got room in your schedule and your TiVo for more game show goodness, these shows are definitely worth a look.
- Trivial Pursuit: America Plays, begins September 22nd – Here's another new syndicated game show, based on the board game and hosted by Brady Bunch alum Christopher Knight. The game's twist is that all of the questions asked of the contestants are submitted by viewers, who will make up 'America's Team' on the show and stand to win some cash if their bank is more valuable than the in-studio contestants' winnings. The format is a good one, and the game looks like fun – I'm just not sure that it'll hold up to viewing five times a week before getting a bit stale.
- Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Season Three, begins September 5th – There are some big-name celebrities appearing this season, playing for their favorite charities. I'm always up for a good celebrity edition of any game show, so those episodes will be worth a look.
Take a Pass
- Deal or No Deal Million Dollar Mission, August 25th to September 15th – NBC has already spoiled the results of this one, and we know that there will be some insanely high offers from the banker for many contestants. Unless you're a Deal or No Deal junkie, you've probably already seen all of the highlights of this series.
- The Meow Mix Game Show, November 15th – Thank goodness this is just a one-off episode, and it's only 30 minutes long at that. You'd think that a quiz-based show hosted by Chuck Woolery would be a recipe for success, but when you consider that the contestants are cats, well, that whole idea goes right out the window. Unless you're a fan of train-wreck TV, forget all about this atrocity.
For a complete list of new and returning game shows check out the Fall 2008 Game Show Premiere Schedule.