“Ellen’s Game Of Games” Review

Set Design- 10
Gameplay- 10
Show Flow- 9
Potential Viewer Ratings- 10
Play-Along Factor- 7
Host- 10
Overall Rating- 9.3

Premise: In the first four rounds, contestants are selected from the studio audience and compete in a game inspired from Ellen’s daytime talk show. Games include One-Eyed Monster, In Your Face, Honey; Don’t Leave Me Hanging and Make It Rain. The winner of each game advances to play Know or Go. If a couple or a family team wins a game, they must select which partner plays in the semifinal round. In the fifth round, Know or Go, the remaining four contestants stand atop a 30-foot-tall drop zone. Correct answers keep contestants in the game and incorrect answers eliminates the contestant. The last contestant standing advances to the end game.

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In the final round, Hot Hands, the winner has 30 seconds to correct identify ten celebrities. The contestant could win between $100-$75,000, depending on how many correct answers they give. If the contestant can correctly identify ten celebrities within the time limit, they win $100,000.

Review: Last year, CBS attempted to capitalize off the continuing popularity of the annoyingly addictive Candy Crush mobile game by greenlighting a primetime game show based on the app. The series resulted in lackluster ratings despite airing in a great time slot (Sunday 9:00pm) on one of the top-rated networks in primetime, which subsequently led to CBS unloading its final two episodes on a Saturday night to quickly burn off the rest of the subpar season. It also didn’t help that the hourlong format was not as compelling as it could have been, even though the show managed to land itself in the Guinness World Record books prior to the series premiere.

While CBS’s efforts to profit of off Candy Crush sputtered and collapsed, NBC indirectly showed the network how to properly adapt a trendy product for a standalone series with the creation of Ellen’s Game of Games.

Based on the games created by and played on Ellen DeGeneres’s eponymous daytime talk show, Ellen’s Game of Games is a well-crafted, fun-filled, creative game show that will keep you entertained throughout the whole show. The show instantly immerses the audience in an experience that combines the unpredictability and insanity of Ellen’s daytime games with the contestant selection process and quasi-tournament format of The Price Is Right. The series’ two main staples are Know Or Go, the trivia mini-game perhaps inspired by GSN’s Russian Roulette, and the fast-paced celebrity identification game Hot Hands (which you can also play on your mobile device).

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The rest of the frequently swapped mini-games test a myriad of skill sets, including spatial awareness (Blindfolded Musical Chairs), puzzle-solving skills (Master Blaster), word association skills (Danger Word), listening and lip-reading abilities (Say Whaaaat?), intuition (You Bet Your Wife), physical agility (Aw Snap) and pure luck (Tuba Toothpaste). The healthy variety of the ever-changing mini-games created for this show mirrors how game shows like The Price Is Right and Think Fast kept each episode fresh and interesting. Unlike the first couple seasons of Think Fast, this show’s set is large enough to properly stage each supersized game. The suspense-building reveals of certain games remind me of how CBS’s Gameshow Marathon unveiled their revived shows with a slow, illuminating double-door opening.

In addition to Ellen’s excellent (and devilishly, yet amusing) emceeing skills, the best aspect about Ellen’s Game of Games is how format is created to make it easy for anyone to play and watch, whether you are playing from home or in the studio. The format is simple, the rules are easy to follow and the trivia questions asked on the show are relatively easy (with the special exception of the purposely-devised difficult questions asked in Tuba Toothpaste).

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Overall, Ellen’s Game Of Games is an excellent game show that will – deservingly – be sticking around for at least a second season. It’s pretty awesome to see these games enhanced and enlarged in the primetime spotlight. The humor, excitement and energy that exudes from this show will keep viewers coming back for more. NBC made an excellent call in picking up this series and it seems that it is already paying dividends by solidifying itself with the Top 5 network shows to air on Tuesday nights for the past five episodes thus far.

Stay tuned for new episodes of Ellen’s Game of Games every Tuesday at 8:00pm on NBC! Check out episodes of Ellen’s Game of Games on NBC.com.
Screenshots taken from episodes of Ellen’s Game of Games.

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