Friday, May 26, 2017

BUT WHERE'S BILLY BATSON?  I wanted to talk a little bit about the mess that is Beat Shazam.  There are two cores to a successful game show:

  1. The game itself has to be easily explainable and understandable.  The show actually passes this test, unlike other recent "big game" efforts like Million Second Quiz or 500 Questions.  Choose the correct name of a tune fastest, and score points.  Team with the highest number of points at the end of the main game goes on to play a bonus game with a similar format.
  2. The star of the show is the game itself and the contestants playing it.  This is where the show collapses.  Jamie Foxx is a likable screen presence, but he makes it all about him, rather than about the game or the contestants.  Add to this that he has basically negative chemistry with his co-hostess, whose function seems to be to press a button to start each song, and you've got serious problems.
Magnifying that problem is that the program is seriously padded, and much of that padding, Foxx is called upon to fill during.  Outside of the bonus game, there are 25 song clips (none exceeding about 5 seconds) in an episode, leaving the show with 30+ minutes of non-play content to fill in a 44 minute episode.  Much of this is unneeded gameplay elongation--"let's see who got it right" (long pause), "now who got it right fastest?" (long pause)--though to their credit, there's very little "we'll find out...after the break!"  The basic Name That Tune game is solid, but this is a 22 minute stretched to 44 minutes, and that's not something you want to see.

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