Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's September!

...and the new shows don't start for two more days! Oh well, time for a no news review!

Now, I'm a hard core game show fan (big surprise, right?) and that means it isn't easy to find a game show I don't know. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one time where someone mentioned to me a game show on national television in America that I had simply never heard of, and after that, I had to check the show out. So, to pass one more week before the new season, here's a review of a show on the Speed Channel titled (ironically enough) Pass Time. The premise: contestants predict how fast race cars will circle a track. I'm sure it's fun if you're into cars...

The show doesn't seem to have a home studio; rather, it travels around the country taping at different race tracks. In each episode, at whatever race track they're at this time, host Brett Wagner welcomes two contestants and resident expert Kenneth Herring. When Brett introduced Kenneth as the "resident expert", my assumption was that he would verify the contestants' answers. I was wrong. When this show says "resident expert", they mean contestant in every episode.

The game? In each pass, a driver comes out in a race car and provides a minimal description of said car. Each of the three players (two contestants and Kenneth) is allowed to ask the driver one additional question, after which the players lock in their times (down to hundreths of a second). The driver circles the track, and the player who came closest to the actual time gets however much money the pass was worth.

Round one has three passes worth $100 each; round two has three passes worth $200 each, round three has two passes worth $300 each, and at the end of the show, the final pass is worth $500. After that, the player with the most money is the winner and gets all the money won by all three players.

So where to start? The game seems dumb to me. There's zero effort into set or music. Brett has absolutely no presence - he's not bad, but he's just kind of going through the motions. The payoff system makes sense only until you do the math and realize that no matter what the final score is, the amount recieved by the winner will always be $2,000. Why not just keep score in points?

The biggest gripe, though, is the presence of Kenneth as a player in every episode, who as far as I can tell ususally wins. I suppose a comparison could be made to Win Ben Stein's Money, except for one thing - on Win Ben Stein's Money, even if none of the contestants beat Ben Stein, one of the contestants was guarenteed to beat the other two and win some money. On Pass Time, if Kenneth wins, Kenneth wins. So there you have it. I'm sure this is fun if you're into cars, but judged as a game show, Pass Time fails.

New season next week,


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