Saturday, July 6, 2013

Middle link in the chain

With GSN about to give prime time exposure to their 2006-07 remake of Chain Reaction, YouTube offers glimpses of the game's versions throughout the years. The NBC original with Bill Cullen in 1980 lasted only six months. USA Network, back in the primeval days when they liked game shows, redid the show for a much longer run in 1986-91.

Geoff Edwards hosted the middle version, which was shot in Montreal to keep costs down. The front game was pretty similar to the other versions, though a cute wrinkle allowed a team to hand letters to their opponents if they thought the word was too hard to guess. The middle version did not have the question-constructing bonus round, though. Instead, the winning team tried their luck with a bonus chain.

As in the Cullen original, the chains in the USA remake were a little looser than in the GSN version (see the screenshot). The words didn't necessarily lead into each other in perfect phrases. That's not necessarily better or worse, just different.

In its final season the USA version morphed into The $40,000 Chain Reaction. (Pyramid never hit the forty grand level in its titles, did it?) They tweaked the gameplay, and the on-screen look resembled the GSN version very closely (see the second screenshot). Every version has been an entertaining and challenging word game. Who knows, one of these days GSN might take my frequent suggestion and make a few more eps.

1 comment: