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  • Review of Chain Reaction and StarFace
    Monday, July 24, 2006
    This would have been up sooner, but Blogger was acting up. I just got the DVDs of GSN's new shows "Chain Reaction" and "StarFace" today, and wrote a little review about both.

    Chain Reaction: Eh is the best word I can describe it with. It does nothing terribly wrong, but not anything great. Basic rule description is that there's a 7 word chain, the first and last word is given. You just have to choose a letter above or below to see one and take a guess. They will give you the last letter. If you're wrong, control passes to the other team. $100 a word in round one. $200 in round 2. $300 in round 3. Whoever solves the final word on the Chain gets to play a Speed Chain worth the amount of a word in that round. A speedchain is a 4 word chain, with the first and last given and a one letter give for the middle two. You have 7 seconds to think and then you must answer.

    Round 4 sees people betting up to $500 and at least $100 on each word. Right and you get the money. Wrong and you lose it. Most money moves to the bonus round. There, you have to basically play Whose Line's "3 Headed Broadway Star" making clues one word at a time. You hit a bell when you think you've said enough, and the blindfolded player must guess. 0-6 gives you nothing extra. 7-9 right gives you double your money. 10 right triples. No returning champs. They say you can win $25,000, but I'd love to see how. I've worked it out to $18,300 unless I'm missing something.

    I've already said my major issues with the show. The set looks great for something like 2 Minute Drill. For a light word game where the average win is $2500 to $6,000, it doesn't fit. I finally got to hear the theme music, and it's not that great either. Imagine the main Lingo bed without the main part of the theme (or commercial cues) going, and repeat that over and over and over. The intro also has lyrics to it. Also, the graphics are a bit, well, lame. The entire theme is a flipclock. However, the gameplay is what matters. I can't help but feel that this game slow as hell. It's probably because of the contestants, but it just drags out forever. It amazed me that they edited 3 hours to 21 minutes and it came off half decent, but Dylan still really didn't. The best way I can describe him is that he looks at the contestants, and then quickly turns to the camera and teleprompter as he talks to someone. There were lots of opportunities for humor, but he just missed out on everything. He's also phoning in a lot of emotion. I don't expect him to start crying when someone loses, but when you have to read "Awww, I'm sorry" right off a teleprompter without looking anywhere else, it's not good. Hopefully it'll get better beyond this episode, because from what I've seen now, it's not living up to all it could be. As a side note, I found it funny that they gave me biographies for Dylan Lane and Michael Davies. Dylan's is about a half a page, and Michael's is 2 full pages. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad show in the least. It's very entertaining. I just think they could do a lot more with what they are given.

    StarFace: StarFace, on the other hand, was terrific. The gameplay is pretty basic. A celebrity is put up on one of the screens, and there are questions about the celebrity. Each right answer is 50 points in round one, and they have quite a few pictures they go through. Round 2 doubles the points. Round 3 makes contestants wear masks of who that day's celebrity is and answer questions and themselves at 200 a piece. Whoever has the most right answers goes to the bonus, where they have to identify which person in a picture the clue is talking about. There are 2 choices. If they get 10 right, they get a trip. There is lots of variety with different picture segments like "Hot Corner", "Below the Beltway", "Mug Shot", "15 Minutes of Fame", and more. The show is not regulated to just TV, movie, and music people. They also had some political questions.

    I was really surprised with Danny Bonaduce. He is terrific as host. He seemed a bit stiff during the first 5 minutes on the premiere episode, but after that, he was just fine. To put it bluntly, he blew circles around Dylan Lane. The show's pace is quick also. There is barely any time without a question coming up one after another, besides the contestant interviews. I talked about the Chain Reaction theme and graphics, so I'll mention StarFace's. The theme is really nice, sort of reminds me of Balderdash. Not much to the graphics, but it gets the point across much like Chain Reaction. To me, this show was a much better "On The Cover" and perfectly fits in with the recent explosion of shows making fun of pop culture like The Soup. To use a bad pun, StarFace is the current star on GSN's lineup. It's fast, funny, and furious. It's in my honest opinion that StarFace is MUCH better than Chain Reaction and that it should last longer, but you'll have to judge for yourself next Tuesday at 9PM ET (Chain Reaction) and 9:30PM ET (StarFace).
    posted by Alex Davis * Permalink 
    • Permalink, Anonymous Pierre Kelly said…

      What?! Why the new Chain Reaction theme? The classic Bob Cobert version would've been a lot better.

    • Permalink, Anonymous Matt said…

      I taped an episode for chain reaction last monday. About the top prize....the waiver/agreement we sign before the show says how they will only pay a team up to $10,800 total.

    • Permalink, Anonymous Donald said…

      Well at least they kept the same format mostly for the old-school'd 'Reaction'. Keep in mind that this is the first few episodes and brand new game show hosts. Let's see what happens.

      Remember Lingo's first season?

    • Permalink, Anonymous Scott Meckley said…

      I am going to have to get cable or satellite to watch this or sit in the audience of one of these shows and see them live. Starface does sound interesting. Chain Reaction i will have to watch it though to see if I like it as good as the classic version which i wish GSN would bring back in the mornings.

    • Permalink, Anonymous Craig Karlberg said…

      Chain Reaction looks like a good game for GSN. I'll throw caution to the wind on this one. I wished they used an updated version of the original instead of what they went woth. Yeesh!

      Starface, however, sounds like a winner to me. Simple game play should overcome a blah kinda set.

    • Permalink, Anonymous Abric Pitt said…

      i knew it! Chain Reaction will bomb and StarFace will be the true star. They might as well do back-to-back episodes of StarFace. It sounds so much better.

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