Morning one and all from the AussieDidge residence!
Before I get into this entry, I'd like to address something with regards to my postponing of getting CORE... Boy, it's been a LONG fuckin' time since I've even laid eyes on this bare-bones garish green journal skin, it almost feels like some sort of throwback. Almost came close to having a "Throwback Thursday" moment...
I think the last time off memory would've been either late-2013 or mid-2014, as it was about a year or so before I actually got membership for this site. Given that I've been here for 3 years, it's kinda strange seeing this default skin again.
Now, onto this entry!
With the first couple of weeks worth of episodes completed on the Australian version of The Chase (originally a hugely popular British game show with wonderful personalities, Bradley Walsh chief among them) I feel like now's a good time, as a huge game show fan, to give my thoughts. How does it stack up? What's the host like? What are our Chasers like? How are the contestants? Set-up? All these questions and more will be answered as I go through this piece.
Stacking up to the original British version, I'm sorry, but it doesn't even come close... Though not for its lack of trying. There are certainly really good elements to the game thus far and some pretty grating elements, which I will get to.
For those familiar with Australian programming, the host of our version is Andrew O'Keefe, who made a huge name for himself originally hosting Deal Or No Deal from 2003 to 2013. There's no denying he's a veteran who can be relied upon to carry a quiz show, having done so with original versions of Deal as well as The Rich List, a short-lived show by my recollection. He also has this manic energy to him, which serves some shows, like Deal, well, and others, perhaps not so much.
It's a case of the latter here, as within a few episodes, he was already trying to bring back the atmosphere that made Deal wildly successful to that of our Chase, and it really, REALLY gets on my nerves. That laugh's like a drawn out Jabba The Hutt on helium, or The Count, and it just doesn't work for this show, which for the most part is a little serious.
Of course, the producers of the British version LOVED to mess with Bradley's head as they wrote risqué, lewd or just plain dirty sounding questions which tore him apart, often making him collapse in total fits of laughter. Now THAT was hilarious to watch. Hell, go find clips of the infamous "Fanny Chmelar" or "Andy Capp" question, or there's plenty of his funniest moments on Youtube, and enjoy yourselves... You're welcome.
Almost immediately I was hoping for Simon Reeve, another veteran presenter of It's Academic and recently Million Dollar Minute, to take over proceedings, and though it's too early to call, I have feelings that it might actually happen.
Next, the Chasers. We have of course the British juggernaut and original UK star Anne Hegerty, who currently boasts the highest winning percentage in the original version and pockets your pound AND your shilling as The Governess.
We have Matt Parkinson, the tall mean quiz champion of Sale of the Century in the 1990s and was part of the Brains Trust in "The Einstein Factor". Nicknamed "Goliath", he's basically the bespectacled, sneering judge who plans to sentence you to jail regardless of whether you did the crime or not; truly a frightening sort of character.
Next is Issa Schultz, the quiet unassuming one who takes on contestants as "The Supernerd". In truth, one would be foolish to underestimate him for his look and very friendly personality, as he's quite formidable in his own right. He made a fortune on The Rich List, and ran roughshod over the Australian Quizzing Championships in 2011, 2013 and 2014, among many other appearances.
Finally, saving the best for last, is Brydon Coverdale, also called "The Shark". Though by his age you would think he was pretty inexperienced (second youngest only to Supernerd), he has been quizzing literally since he was a teenager. A grand champion on Pass The Buck at just 19 years of age, and most recently a big champion on Million Dollar Minute, winning over $300,000 in prize money, he promises to be a serious threat to anyone coveting his territory.
As for the contestants, they've been pretty decent for the most part, but the Chasers more often than not have been better. It's early days at the moment, but we have had a couple of winning teams and others only failing by mere seconds. They do show promise, of what I've seen, and just goes to show that they can really take it to the Chasers when there's some serious cash on the line.
The set-up for the most part is pretty solid. The game is exactly as is with the Chasers and contestants battling each other in a test of wits, and the offers, regardless of whether you're brave & bold or "safe than sorry", are relatively nice either way. Perhaps, too much so. While I've seen poor offers for poor contestants, I haven't seen those totally disdainful, sneering offers like those offered in the British version. That said, most offers are half-off, which is perhaps fine for the early goings.
Cash builder rounds are just right; $2,000 per correct answer is very lovely, especially with some rare sorts getting 10 or more within the minute. That leaves great potential for sky-rocketing offers to really juice the game up.
There's not a whole lot else to add I think except maybe for the commercial breaks; the pacing begins okay, with one break after one Chase has been complete (for better or worse) but then is completely screwed around by the final player's Chase; A break before the beginning of the Chase, and a break straight after. It really messes with the flow of the whole game.
At least they allow the Final Chase to proceed without a lot of interruptions; just updates on the 6:00pm news bulletin straight after.
So do I think it holds a candle to the original British version? Without a single doubt, absolutely not. But on its own merits? It's pretty fine, for the most part. It's still early days and I'm sure Andrew O'Keefe is working on toning down that act of his (let's face it, his laughter can sound unbelievably fake at times). The Chase has also done the unthinkable and started toppling the comparative timeslot titan Millionaire Hot Seat, so who even knows what's going to happen over the next few weeks, let alone months?
Anyway, those were my late night thoughts and, I guess, unofficial review of The Chase Australia, though a pale imitator of Bradley Walsh and crew, at least an international version that stands up. But Andrew, if by chance you see this, PLEASE tone it down, okay? The Chase is NOT Deal or No Deal, and never will be.
I'd like to thank you for sticking it out if you've made it this far, and wish you all a wonderful night or morning whichever part of the world you're on. Peace, and goodnight!