SYFY's New Game Show, The Great Debate, Questions Who Has The Best Argument
SYFY channel was launched in September of 1992 (as Sci-Fi Channel, then Sci-Fi, and then simply SYFY) and is a subsidiary of Comcast under the NBCUniversal division. They focus primarily on science fiction, fantasy, horror, drama, paranormal, supernatural, and reality programming. One of their most popular shows has been The Magicians, based on a novel about a group of students at Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy ( think Hogwarts with cursing and sex) and appeals to their late teens/ young twenty-somethings demographic. This month they will add to their game show genre with a new half-hour series called The Great Debate.
The premise is rather simple. Four "celebrities" join host Baron Vaughn (Black Dynamite) discussing the virtues of an object (i.e. 1980's technology or Arcade games) and Baron decides who wins the round, along with his sidekick, the snarky DOS computer that sits off to the side named, DB8. Round two has two of the panelists going head to head to discuss any number of things and once again, point are awarded. Round three is another head to head debate and finally, round four has panelists standing in front of a green screen improvising based on a topic they have been given. Ultimately someone has arbitrarily crowned the winner and wins the game (at least until next week,
The show is pretty fun but the "celebrities" are C/D-listers at best and most of them I have never heard of before or recognize. The topics often seem chosen for their ability to allow the panelists to make jokes and whichever one of them can come up with the best lines typically wins, making it more of a "comedy- off" rather than who can make the most convincing argument. Although it seems, at least, in this case, those two seem things seem to go hand in hand.
Host Vaughn is amicable and keeps the pace moving along. Unfortunately, DB8 is not only annoying but completely unnecessary and her comments (she sounds female anyway) are rude and obnoxious. Honestly, I wish she would shut up or someone would take a sledgehammer to her monitor and shut her down for good.
The best part of the show is the actual debating. The topics are interesting and certainly discussion worthy amongst friends (late teens/early twenties types are the demographic the showis hoping to target). Heck, I can easily see college students sitting around creating drinking games to make the show even funnier. It will also certainly start a dialogue among a group of friends, though I suspect many of them will be of the nerd variety. I can also see the nerds in the room ruining the show by pointing out the inaccuracies of the debates at hand.
If The Great Debate can create a fan following, then it should be able to gain momentum as it airs over the summer. I think it would also make the show more fan interactive if they could email topics they would like to see debated and maybe even get invited to the show to sit in the audience.
About Allison Skornick-Rose
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