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The Chase (2021)

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ABC has greenlit a new take on the British game show The Chase, premiering January 7, 2021 as part of its Thursday night game show block.

Per Variety —

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The hour-long quiz show will be hosted by Sara Haines (“The View”), while Holzhauer, Jennings and Rutter will take turns as the show’s “Chaser” — described as “a ruthless quiz genius determined to stop contestants from winning cash prizes. Each week, new contestants face-off against the Chasers in a battle of brain power, challenged to think faster than they ever thought possible.”

 

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There's a bit of a hierarchy, I'd argue, with versions of this show.  As is often the case, nothing beats the original UK version.  It's just got the most wit, the best pacing, the best questions, the best presenter/host, the most impressive contestants, and the best "Chasers".

The original US adaptation had some shortfalls.  The contestants by and large were crap, and the questions followed suit.  The only advantage the contestants had over The Chaser was that the show imported the most famous UK Chaser, Mark Labbett and while he had some understandable shortfalls of US culture. So the show would liberally sprinkle US entertainment questions around to trip him up and get some wins for the contestants. The host, Brooke Burns, was better than you'd expect in that she delivered the questions very quickly and correctly, but she didn't really exhibit any wit or panache, so that hurt the show.  Labbett, a genuinely witty man, had to provide most of that.

The Australian version, if you seek it out online, also had Labbett, who is genuinely fun to watch, and another of the best UK Chasers (unlike the US version, who only had one, the UK version had five, who alternated) Anne Hegerty. In the same way that Labbett had a personna ("The Beast", a literal takeoff on his surname), Hegerty dressed like a stereotypical Governess and was in fact deemed "The Governess".  She's also genuinely witty/hilarious, arguably even moreso than Labbett, so the Aus version had a real advantage.  They also had a few actual Australians to bulk out the Aus cast of five chasers.  The Achilles heel of the Aus show is the most annoying host on the face of the planet.  If you view this version (from which the Brit imports eventually left) be prepared to tune out the annoying host.

As for this new version?  I don't get Haines as host. Nothing in her says Game Show Host to me. Nothing.  She's pleasant, but for the needs of this show, boring.  This needed either a well spoken comedian, or a comedic actor.  The choice of new Chasers, basically the Murderer's Row from Jeopardy, seems like good casting, with the small issue that the Chasers ALWAYS play up quirky/faux-arrogant characteristics and become deliberate nicknamed parodies of themselves.  Of the three Jeopardy guys, James Holzhauer is the only natural to do this.  Ken Jennings can be snarky, but he's too well known as a nice guy, and Brad Rutter is a pretty straighforward person too.

Edited by Kromm

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