Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Most Influential Television Shows Of The 2000s, Part One

Here are the results from night four:

Contestant 1 - Anthony Sloan
Miss $100,000 question, win $25,000

Contestant 2 - Trevor Schultz
Quit on $250,000 question, win $100,000

Contestant 3 - Angela Watt
Answers $4,000 question, rollover

Celebrity - Lauren Conrad
Correct Answer

You know, I've been thinking about Millionaire and its impact on television...I mean, remember when it first started? Due largely to the rigging scandals of the 1950s, there hadn't been a primetime game show in, literally, decades. ABC launched this new adaptation of a British show, and everyone expected it to go nowhere. A primetime game show...that gives away $1,000,000...hosted by Regis Philbin, without Kathie Lee Gifford. Right.

I was ten years old, and when I first saw Millionaire I was like "What on Earth is this?" I was already a pretty big game show fan, but this show was unlike any other game show I had ever seen. Only one contestant? A rather dimly lit set? Incredibly ominous music?

If only I knew. Within a few years, every game show would have only one contestant, a rather dimly lit set, and incredibly ominous music. $1,000,000 jackpots would become close to mandatory, as would backups (Don't Forget The Lyrics), cheats (Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?)...excuse me, helps (1 vs. 100)...can we just call them lifelines? The gold standards - Wheel Of Fortune, Jeopardy, and The Price Is Right - were all forced to have million dollar specials. Indeed, probably the show that best exemplifies how Millionaire changed the genre - and I feel sort of silly saying this - is Million Dollar Password. I mean, think about it. An already hugely successful show is forced to have only one contestant, a rather dimly lit set, incredibly ominous music, a $1,000,000 jackpot, and Regis Philbin to be relevant to a modern audience? What?

Frankly, I'm getting a bit sick of it all, and do sometimes wonder what the game show genre would be like if Millionaire had never happened...but that's not even close to what would have happened if we had never got the show I'll discuss tomorrow...


No comments:

Post a Comment