Set Design- 10
Show Flow- 9
Potential Viewer Ratings- 9
Play-Along Factor- 10
Overall Rating- 9.1
Premise: Two contestants compete in a two-round game to earn points by matching their answers with the celebrity panelists’ responses to humorous fill-in-the-blank questions. The contestant with the highest score at the end of the second round wins the game and advances to the Super Match round. Should a tie occur, a third tiebreaker round is played.
In the Super Match bonus round, the contestant will have to give their best answer to a fill-in-the-blank statement based on a studio audience survey. The contestant may request help from three of the six panelists or give their own answer. The number one answer is worth $5,000, the second best answer is worth $3,000, and the third best is worth $2,000. If their answer fails to appear on the board, the contestant receives a $1,000 consolation prize and plays the Head-to-Head Match. If their answer appears on the board, the contestant wins the dollar value attached to the answer and plays the Head-to-Head Match by exactly matching one of the panelists. If correct, the contestant wins five times the bonus money. The top prize in the Super Match round is $25,000. Two games are played with two new contestants each episode.
And now, for the review:
When the news of ABC hastily ordering a Match Game revival to air this summer first surfaced a couple of months ago, I wasn’t that excited to see the show return in fears that it will be filled with an excessive amount of unnecessary dirty jokes, thus ruining the integrity and pleasurable viewing experience of the show (relatively speaking, of course.) The moment I had watched the first episode last Sunday night, I’m proud to say that I was wrong and those anxious feelings had all dissipated.
This version did its fans proud by remaining faithful to the classic concept. It is exhibited through the show’s staff staying true to the general format by bring back and slightly updating the theme cues, casting an excellent array of guest stars including Rosie O’ Donnell and JB Smoove, and encouraging the audience to applaud/boo answers when needed. The aspect that pique my interest in the return of the Match Game since they had first teased it via social media a couple of weeks ago is the jaw-dropping set. The stage is perfectly designed to bring Match Game into the 21st century while retaining retro elements from the classic version by including a modern version of the contestant turntable, panelist backdrop, the iconic Match Game sign, the shag carpeting, chasing lights – even down to the automated mechanism that houses the A/B questions.
Much like the original, this revival flows casually and naturally, feels relaxed and will keep you entertained and engaged for the entire hour to the point where it leaves you anticipating for what the series has in store for its viewers next week. I also have to give kudos to the writers for providing humorously and cleverly devised questions (e.g.: game one, round two limerick question) and recapturing the difficulty of the round one questions and the easy, catch-up round two questions. As host, Alec Baldwin is delightfully goofy, sarcastic, corny and witty. He plays well off of the celebrity panelists and is not afraid to amusingly poke fun at a contestant or star’s bad answer. He’s no Gene Rayburn, but it’s looks like Baldwin is the second best Match Game emcee I’ve seen thus far and he is doing a fine job of quickly adapting as the new host of the show.