Thursday, July 16, 2015

'Chain Reaction' with Mike Catherwood first look (WITH SPOILERS) tuned in to the "Sneak Peak" episode of Chain Reaction. Which reminds me, GSN has done "sneak peak" episodes before with Minute to Win It in 2013, as stated elsewhere, but also The Pyramid in 2012 four days before premiere. I think a lot of us forgot about that one. Hopefully Chain Reaction does not follow a similar renewal/cancellation fate that those two revivals did. Judging by today's "sneak peak" episode, this version of Chain Reaction should survive beyond a first run.

The opening is fun and very similar to Idiotest. On Idiotest at the immediate start, you are given a puzzle to solve given by the host that does not effect the main game before the contestants are introduced. On this version of Chain Reaction, Catherwood opened up saying he needed a word that would fit between 'bacon' and 'Tuesday'. The answer was 'fat'.

This version gets straight to gameplay, just like the 2006-07 version, and you get the first chain within one minute of episode start time.

This new version of Chain Reaction does not depend on "Men versus Women" like the 2006-07 version, but this episode just happened to have two men versus two women. The two men, especially the man on the far left in the blue button-down shirt, were solid contestants. The two women, not so much. These two women were just barely better than the average 2006-07 Chain Reaction contestant.

The big goof-up from the contestants were that it took three tries to get 'Tank top' with the 'TAN' above 'TOP' all three tries.

The betting round is still fun, which is last before the final. (In case you did not know, there are zero gameplay changes to this version from the 2006-07 version besides the end game. Even the cash amounts are the same). I liked the betting round a lot in the Lane version and despite a lot of others not liking the betting round, I think it's fun and risky. The two male contestants on Catherwood's right (our left) went in with $2,000, while the females went in with $1,000. The end result was the women gambling too much and the men advancing with $2,000 (while moving up then down in cash amounts) and the women with $200. Unless I missed something, the losing contestants do not get to keep their money.

The end game adds $5,000. For example, the winning team had $2,000 and if they solved seven chains after the word "World" in forty five seconds, they would win the extra $5,000 for a total of $7,000. The team could shout out however many answers they could. In other words, no taking turns and teamwork is allowed. An extra letter would build onto the first letter every few seconds. The team answered four of seven chains in forty five seconds. No extra money was awarded if they only solved one to six of the chains. It was all seven or nothing.

One thing I did not get with the graphic under the contestants when introduced. The two men were "best friends" while the two women were "friends". A very minor detail but at least on Idiotest the contestant's subtitles vary more than this episode of Chain Reaction.

Another minor detail in the episode was at the very end, Catherwood did not say how much the contestants left with. It was $2,000, but the episode ended with no announcement of the cash prize.

Watching the last version of Chain Reaction from nine years ago, it really reminds me how grateful we are to have a new version around. The Lane episodes appear boring and not vibrant, especially taking into account how long reruns of Chain Reaction have aired in practically the same timeslot for what seems like forever.

The contestants on the 2006-07 version are far worse than the current version. I don't know who wanted strictly men versus women for an entire series run. Looking back, I am glad this newer version does not rely on gender versus gender.

Set: 5/5
Contestants: 4/5
Host: 4/5
Gameplay: 5/5
Money: 3/5

Overall, four out of five stars. A little cheap but the show should have a good run and perform well in reruns for years to come.


  1. I just watched it as well. It's alright. Not a show that I would take the time to watch (or DVR) all 40 episodes though. Very similar to the old version and extremely cheap with the prize amounts, same like with Idiotest, except... less funny...

    I'm guessing the average amount of money a team will walk out with in this revival of CR will be around 6-7k tops, assuming they win the bonus round. I honestly can't even see anyone winning 10k, because if I calculate it out, the max. winnings in the first three rounds total $3,000, assuming one team gets every single answer correct and the other team is at $0, and the chance of that happening is almost slim to none, plus accounting for the loss of money during the betting round.

    Personally, if I was given a guarantee of appearing as a contestant on a game show, I'd pick one where I could win a sizable amount of money, something that could really make a difference in my life, like Millionaire, or BOOM. $6,000 can be blown in a month or two in this day and age, just with regular everyday expenses.

    Don't get me wrong, I can't complain about the structure of the show itself. It's just ... too cheap. I wouldn't ever bother auditioning to be a contestant on a show this cheap, just like with Idiotest... same thing. Fun shows, but not enough money to make competing worthwhile.

    Speaking of which, I'll be watching BOOM tonight, rather than The Chase.

  2. The cheapness I can get past if I am not a contestant, but $5,000 is not enough to make me go to L.A.. The Chase is the only game show right now on GSN that has life changing money. Skin Wars and Steampunk'd are life changing too, but only if you win the whole season.

    "Speaking of which, I'll be watching BOOM tonight, rather than The Chase."

    This deeply surprises me, because The Chase is the better show right now. But, that's a matter of opinion.

    1. I liked this version. It was addicting, witty, and fun all at the same time. The set looks pretty neat. Way better than the dreary set from the Lane version. Catherwood looked like he had fun and was very nice to the contestants. I also like how he joked about how a contestant would come up with a weird answer that didn't make any sense. I wish the grand prize was a little more, but it's cheap so we will take what we got. I think you will agree with me Scott that this will have a successful run on the network. But, let's see if Nielsen liked it.

    2. I would rather watch The Chase than BOOM. The show has yet to crack 3 million yet. That is bad. 5th Grader is having similar trouble. It seems like Fox is having trouble with summer shows. The only successful gamer this summer is Celebrity Family Feud.

    3. Wallace ChandlerJuly 16, 2015 at 5:51 PM

      Maybe I'm the only one, but I liked everything except the host. At times he makes these funny expressions like he's about to run off stage with a case of diarrhea. My opinion. Others??

    4. I would give Catherwood a pass for flaws except the fact that this was the 39th episode taped, not one of thr first.

      I find him fine with very few issues for zero game show experience.

    5. Wallace ChandlerJuly 16, 2015 at 8:26 PM

      Sure, as a beginner he did okay but if it gets renewed I say he either needs to up his game or GSN should bring in someone new, maybe like Todd Newton.

    6. I think Catherwood did much better than "okay" for just a beginner. If there is a problem with the host, it's because Catherwood is a D Lister if not lower.

      My problem is the relative cheapness, but we will see how the show performs throughout the entire season.

    7. Wallace ChandlerJuly 16, 2015 at 9:16 PM

      Cheapness never bothered me unless I'm the contestant. I mean the avg. win per game on Match Game was $1k. It was more about being a fun half hour and the money was secondary. Adjust it for inflation and you're probably looking at $3-4k. That's what the avg. payout should be on the new CR. To me a host who makes the show watchable is way more important than big money.

    8. "To me a host who makes the show watchable is way more important than big money."

      I agree with this 110%, Wallace, but I did not see Catherwood as an issue like you. But once again, a matter of opinion.

      For a second season, Catherwood would up his game since he'd be more used to it by then. But that could be a long time away

    9. I just find BOOM more fun right now. Bob Boden is involved in both games, and it shows. Great fun.

      I've always liked the idea of multiple correct answers in a multiple choice quizzer, like Greed, rather than the standard "Here's 3 or 4 choices, pick the right one" format. That's probably why I prefer BOOM over The Chase. Plus, it actually moves at a decent pace, compared to FOX's last quizzer, Million Dollar Money Drop, so it's not too bad. And I'm a fan of Tom Papa. He's a good host and comedian.

      But knowing FOX, this series is probably almost done. Bullseye already had its Season Finale and I bet there are only 2 more eps of BOOM as well.

    10. Bullseye didn't put up outstanding numbers. I thought it would because it had a strong lead in, Masterchef. Only 2.5 mil watched the finale. I don't think this show will be returning, but it's Fox so who knows with them. I like BOOM! as well. It is one of the most unique shows I have seen in a while. Sadly, it was put on Thursday nights at 8 pm. The numbers tell that this show is a dud. And 5th Grader. Like the other two, it looks like it won't see a second season. Who knows because it's Fox.

    11. "GSN should bring in someone new, maybe like Todd Newton."

      Are you KIDDING?? HELL NO. Anyone but Todd Newton.

  3. My original thought for the bonus round before I saw it was 10 speed chains in 60 seconds, $100 per chain, $10,000 for all. I like this bonus round way more than the Lane version which was totally different from the main game.

    I do miss the speed chains and don't like the all or nothing format (they couldn't afford $600 extra per team for getting 6/7)? It's more of a principle to me that getting 5 or 6 should be rewarded compared to a bad team that can barely get 1 or 2. I have the same problem with Celebrity Name Game.

    As for the host, I had no opinion but wonder why they couldn't get a more well known host or why not just call Dylan Lane again? Is he too busy to do so?

    It's still a great show and I intend to watch a lot.

    1. "As for the host, I had no opinion but wonder why they couldn't get a more well known host or why not just call Dylan Lane again? Is he too busy to do so?"

      Well, as far as Dylan Lane goes, the general consensus seemed to be that he was too stiff, and he has pretty much fallen entirely out of the spotlight.

      And as far as someone who is "more well known," GSN probably didn't want to spend the money that someone more well known would demand.

    2. Well if they're cheap, then it's either Dylan or some guy I've never heard of, take your pick.

      Then again, aren't they giving away $100,000 that SteamPunk'd show with another no name host? I've never heard of SteamPunk'd whatever before. So they spend money on something most game show/GSN fans could care less about but skimp on Chain Reaction which is more of a traditional game show.

    3. Steampunk'd is giving away $100,000 to the winning contestant at the end of the entire eight episode season. Chain Reaction will probably give away more than $100,000 through its whole season.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. You can say that again!! Oh wait, you did!