Thursday, July 13, 2017

'Candy Crush' Game Show Lacking Fun

If you live in the U.S., you have seen or heard the myriad of promotions for the 'Candy Crush' game show. CBS Television's newest attempt to try and attract a younger audience to their ranks. Outside of comedy hits like 'The Big Bang Theory,' CBS skews towards an aging demographic. Which is not bad, but it does limit advertising opportunities. The opportunity to seize on the Candy Crush craze may be a little bit too late. The game is still featured in top 10 download lists, but it's popularity has been dropping over the past two years as new games appear. The 'Candy Crush' game show would have been a good tie-in 3 years ago. Even with Mario Lopez as the host! But this Sunday's showing of the first episode was met with a shrug and an eyeroll by this viewer. Here's the quick review:

First, poor Mario Lopez. He seems like a good man. He tries so hard and puts effort into every venture. But when you see the list of things he's hosted, acted in, or announced for, you have to feel bad for the guy. So few of those options take off! Lopez needs a talent agent to find him better material. He knows his stuff, but the gigs he lands are meh, at best. So it's not surprising to see less then okay reviews already out for the show.

The first show introduced us to the game board, how to play, and the predictable set-up. Two teams compete on an oversized touch-screen, for best out of 3 matches of 'Candy Crush.' The idea being that if you trade out a smart phone for a saleable wall and cooky personalities, you've got yourself a game. While future shows will bring in the general public, this episode was former cast members of 'Big Brother' and 'Survivor,' also CBS shows. 'Big Brother' was the lead in to 'Candy Crush' to help boost viewers. But unless you are an avid follower of those shows, you wouldn't care what happened to these contestants. There's no vested interest beyond "oh it's that guy from that reality show, I think."

Contestants are strapped into harnesses and compete head to head for 3 rounds of 'Candy Crush.' Thankfully, this aspect of the game is still in line with the mobile app. You touch the screen to swap candies around to make chains of 3 or more, and complete the puzzles within a set time limit, or capture the highest score. There are mini-games in between that offer you bonus items you can use to help you with your touch-screen antics, such as extra-long pointer sticks or a ladder to scale the wall. The game will probably change in future episodes when it's not 'pseudo-reality celebrity' driven.

Lopez does a good job of keeping the contestants and the audience entertained. He's a showman and he knows it. This was the one bright spot for the game, as everything else felt lackluster. The set design was bland, and clearly only focused on the giant touch-screen wall and nothing else. The scenery does not invoke a 'Candy Crush' vibe. It's more of a 'The Price Is Right' rip-off. Because the focus is on the big screen, you have to rely on the talent of Lopez and the natural banter of the contestants to hold the show. Lopez does his best, but the contestants resulted in a lot of eye-rolling on my end. Their actions felt forced; the dialogue stiffed. Other then flailing on the big board, the show was flat. This is another generic game show, trying to capitalize on a fad that's dying out, and half-assing the results.

CBS first attempt at attracting the casual gamer audience was a miss.


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