Monday, March 19, 2018

Brain strain

Once upon a time GSN ran a show called Grand Slam. It was the brainiac game show to end all brainiac game shows, and it featured some of the best contestants ever.

Trouble was, the show made almost everybody in the audience feel like a idiot. Or at least it made me feel like an idiot, which some will say is not a great achievement. I got much the same feeling as I watched the debut of NBC's Genius Junior.

The show featured two teams of three kids, whose brain power made me seem old, feeble and senile. (Yeah, I know, a lot of people think that I'm just recognizing reality here.) The kids went through ridiculously hard questions based on memory, calculating ability, spatial perception, and several other functions of the cerebral cortex, and they got almost every question right. I got maybe three or four right for the entire hour.

Still, the kids were so state of the art cute that I couldn't help rooting for them. Some of the banter between challenges seemed scripted and forced, but that's a quibble. A possibly bigger quibble is the lack of physical fun in the show.

I found myself wishing that the kids would try running through a hidden temple or dodging some green slime once in a while. Genius Junior is relentlessly and unapologetically cerebral. By the way, try spelling "unapologetically" backwards, and you'll get some idea of how tough this show is.

UPDATE: Genius Junior turns in so-so numbers for NBC. 5.0M viewers and a 1.0 18-49 rating. Not terrible but not great.

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