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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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Variety ran a piece on the show as we near Thursday night's premiere. I'll definitely be tuning in as I'm always up for some more trivia, but I have serious doubts about this "Chaser Lounge" idea. I'm not sure how this comes across as anything other than nasty. I guess we'll see...

‘The Chase’ Brings the ‘Jeopardy!’ GOATs to a Whole New Trivia Table
 

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Jennings, Rutter and Holzhauer have a private group text going — as well as a series of public Twitter exchanges, where they have been taking good-natured jabs at each other since the GOAT tourney a year ago. That explains their conversational ease with each other on “The Chase” stage.

“I wasn’t expecting the chemistry to gel as quickly as it did,” said Rutter. “It felt like we’d been shooting for years on the first day.”

While one trivia titan takes to the Chaser chair, the two others linger backstage in the “Chaser Lounge,” watching the game and making cracks about their peer — and the contestants.

Holzhauer, a sports enthusiast and self-described “armchair quarterback,” said he was “unsure” of the Chaser Lounge as a concept at first, but soon came around to it. “The idea of people offering running commentary, it’s kind of what the world of social media and TV shows and things like that is,” he said. “You have people who are there watching there with you, and they’re saying the same things you’re saying; it’s a fun thing.”

Quips Jennings: “If you liked us ribbing each other during the GOAT tournament, just wait ’til you see it now where there’s literally nothing at stake and we’re just doing it out of pure pettiness.”

 

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The rules seems to be like “Bamboozzled” from Friends....first do this, then do that, then this happens...finally you’ll get to do this

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It's not bad.  The Lounge is kind of dumb, but whatever. Ken at least is okay as a Chaser so far. He's not braggadoscious enough for the role, but at least he's got a fitting Chase Nickname ("The Professor"). Sara is okay. She's got more charm than Brooke, although I do think she reads the questions a bit slower. 

The questions are actually really hard. But they'd BETTER be with $25k per question for each cashbuilder question. I imagine that increase IS in part to balance out them only having a team of 3 instead of 4.

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24 minutes ago, Kromm said:

The Lounge is kind of dumb, but whatever.

In theory, it is.  But considering I enjoy the camaraderie between Brad, James and Ken (when he's not in trouble with the interwebs), I'm easy to please.

Ken knows all the random things, but somehow he didn't know Dynamite?!  

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7 minutes ago, mtlchick said:

In theory, it is.  But considering I enjoy the camaraderie between Brad, James and Ken (when he's not in trouble with the interwebs), I'm easy to please.

Ken knows all the random things, but somehow he didn't know Dynamite?!  

Well I didn't. I guessed it with those three as choices, but to me almost anything could be a BTS song. 

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Pretty good so far. I like how they got rid of all the in-between chatter (like consulting with your teammates) and just got on with it.

I'm used to Brooke and her speed, especially since she also have a current game show featuring Ken. But I'm sure I'll get used to Sara.

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I knew nothing of the British version of this show but this version reminds me of a hybrid of Jeopardy and Deal or No Deal with a bit of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? 

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21 minutes ago, LexieLily said:

I knew nothing of the British version of this show but this version reminds me of a hybrid of Jeopardy and Deal or No Deal with a bit of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? 

So a game with questions, a game with suitcases and another game with questions? 

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I liked it more than I thought. I've been watching the original American version, as well as Master Minds and greatly prefer Brooke, she is quicker and I think makes it more fun, she is always laughing.  I think it was set up for a big win to start the series off, because there were some seriously easy questions and Ken missed something really obvious (sorry, can't remember what).  I even liked the Lounge, because James and Brad are pretty funny.  I do miss the Beast though, he is totally awesome.

Bottom line: I enjoyed it, will keep watching.

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At $25K, the cash builder questions are worth five times those from the 2013-2015 U.S. version of the show.  That really ramped up the cash  quickly, even though the contestants did fairly poorly in their cash builder rounds.

Ken was a good chaser and as entertaining as The Beast from the previous version.  Nineteen to beat in the final chase would have been a challenge for The Beast, as well.  I think anything under eighteen was pretty much a given that The Beast would prevail; we'll see how that goes with Ken, Brad, and James.  The key to The Beast's end game, that Ken already employed, is to answer the question once you know where it is going.  Contestants usually wait until the question is read in its entirety.

I liked Brooke as a host, since she read the questions quickly and correctly.  I don't recall her ever stumbling.  Her banter with The Beast was not particularly entertaining, though.  Sara was fine in the first show - I didn't see anything I particularly liked or anything that detracted from the show.

The Chaser Lounge, as long as it is as limited as it was in the opener, should be a fun add.

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4 minutes ago, mjc570 said:

I liked it more than I thought. I've been watching the original American version, as well as Master Minds and greatly prefer Brooke, she is quicker and I think makes it more fun, she is always laughing.  I think it was set up for a big win to start the series off, because there were some seriously easy questions and Ken missed something really obvious (sorry, can't remember what).  I even liked the Lounge, because James and Brad are pretty funny.  I do miss the Beast though, he is totally awesome.

Bottom line: I enjoyed it, will keep watching.

When Brits inevitably tore into the previous version, I'd always defend Brooke based on how blazingly fast she reads questions. She's definitely faster than any other host of any version of this show, including Sara, Bradley Walsh, and the annoying Australian goon. 

But Sara IS charming. Not as cheeky as Bradley Walsh, but Brooke, for all her strengths, just kind of speaks really loud (in addition to fast) and doesn't really seem engaged with players. Honestly, she's about the same on Masterminds. The times she does engage all feel scripted. 

The Lounge, by the end, definitely wound up annoying me, because it was just James monologuing. Does Brad even talk, or is James just so pushy we'd never hear him if he did? 

Still getting used to the huge cashbuilders and smaller teams. 

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3 hours ago, Kromm said:

But Sara IS charming. Not as cheeky as Bradley Walsh, but Brooke, for all her strengths, just kind of speaks really loud (in addition to fast) and doesn't really seem engaged with players. Honestly, she's about the same on Masterminds. The times she does engage all feel scripted. 

Agreed!  Compare Sara, for example, to Jane Krakowski on the new "Name that Tune".  Now SHE is somebody that is scripted!

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Further thoughts:
Maybe  (ha,, no maybe about it) I'm just a grump, but I really don't care to hear the contestants talk about why they made their choices,   I do like hearing the experts do that, though, because I almost always learn something new.

For that matter, I don't really care about the contestants, except maybe a very brief statement as to what they do. Especially here, where it's one and done.   I guess I may be unusual but I don't identify with them, and don't actually like when they win, unless they are really really good.   I guess regular people need encouragement to go up against any of the experts, but I definitely know what side I'm rooting for.  

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I so looked forward to the show but was so put off by the elaborate, over-the-top studio setting. Way too many distracting lights and colors and the “ladder” to the Chaser is nonsensical. The concept is excellent but can be staged so much simpler with the same excitement.

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I thought they set things up for Kristin to beat Ken by loading her quiz up with female oriented questions that Ken couldn't possibly know......like what car Oprah gives away.  How is a man supposed to know that?  And how do you expect Ken to know BTS?  I mean c'monnnn man.....then another girl question at the end to win her bank?  Complete set up......and to hear "That's some real GIRL POWER" from the host felt like a slap in the face.   Thumbs down on this show.

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I am a man.  I knew the Oprah question, although I have never watched the show, because "you get a car, you get a car, everybody gets a car!" was extensively covered in media across the board and I was curious to know just what kind of car it was.  I didn't know "Dynamite," as k-pop isn't my thing at all, but some of the younger folk in my life are always trying to play that kind of music for me, so maybe I should pay a little more attention next time.  I don't remember what the third supposed "girl question" was but I don't care either.  I assume there must be some other baggage at play, because that is such an odd reaction, but perhaps someone who wonders how a man could possibly know these answers needs to expand their horizons or accept that they won't do well with trivia.

Anyway, I enjoyed the show.  I agree with others above that the UK remains the gold standard.  I preferred the GSN show's visual style for sure, but the new version's higher degree of difficulty appealed to me.  The "lounge" idea didn't add much but didn't bother me either.  I'm not sure it's going to be Brad's style to have much to say there.  Finally, the dedication to Alex was a nice touch.

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Ken said he wished the last contestant had taken the $400k offer. Did that mean she could have banked that amount? I wasn't doing the math during the show but thought she missed a few questions in the beginning.

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2 hours ago, Swenson said:

I thought they set things up for Kristin to beat Ken by loading her quiz up with female oriented questions that Ken couldn't possibly know......like what car Oprah gives away.  How is a man supposed to know that?  And how do you expect Ken to know BTS?  I mean c'monnnn man.....then another girl question at the end to win her bank?  Complete set up......and to hear "That's some real GIRL POWER" from the host felt like a slap in the face.   Thumbs down on this show.

Well to be fair, he does know a lot of random stuff like this.  He got the car question right by guessing (as she did),  just like he does on many questions by making educated guesses.  He explained all of his answers and many of them were the way he works with quiz questions in general.  I think it would be a bit too much if the questions were always stacked the other way as well.  

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LOL that Oprah's car question was called "female oriented." I'm a female, I saw that Oprah episode and all the resulting press and chatter it caused, yet didn't have a clue about the car make.

I'm also WAY WAY over the age group for k-pop but I know BTS and Dynamite since they've been everywhere on everything this past year. Even their outfits from the Dynamite video are being auctioned, I knew that, and what the entire group of outfits is expected to bring. That might be a future question! There are TONS of male BTS stans, they are not all females.

The only thing that surprised me was that Ken hadn't come across BTS. Which I always want to call BTK. But that's a different category.

I laughed at the Alamo question since I yelled out "McConaughey!" before the answers were even show. Boy, was I wrong!

I loved this episode. I have never seen any other versions so it was all new to me. I like the back-room viewers too, I was glad neither Brad nor James were snarky or rude, and I got a kick out of James getting all pumped about the $400,000-plus amount Ken laid out. And when Brad got up and left, I thought he was heading out to smack Ken for something or other. I guess he was just taking a break. Still, that was funny.

For some reason, I was vaguely disappointed Ken did not catch the players, but he was so gracious about them winning. In all, this was a feel-good show for me and I'm in for the long haul. Looking forward to James and Brad being the Chaser.

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Still getting used to the huge cashbuilders and smaller teams. 

Weren't there only three contestants on the GSN version? 

I've never seen the original UK version or the Australian version. My initial reaction to this version was that the questions were much harder. I'm fairly surprised by that because the US tends to dumb down American versions of British shows, and apparently they did that on the GSN version, because I always felt like I knew about 60-70% of those answers and here I felt like maybe I knew 5-10%! 

Also, I'm not a big Jeopardy afficionado, so I would not recognize Jennings, Holzhauer or Rutter on sight and had no idea who the two guys in the "Chase Lounge" were. Even knowing now I'm still annoyed at the concept. It adds nothing to the game and is a big distraction IMO.

Never heard of Sara Haines either. She was OK but I found her voice a bit nasal.

This version utterly lacks the snark and personality of The Beast which was probably the most unique feature of both the  UK and the GSN versions. 

I did like how the final chase countdown went backwards for Jennings, though.

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2 hours ago, Snow Apple said:

Ken said he wished the last contestant had taken the $400k offer. Did that mean she could have banked that amount? I wasn't doing the math during the show but thought she missed a few questions in the beginning.

It means they COMPETE for the higher amount, at more of a disadvantage. So that amount could be banked... via a harder to win round. 

Imagine that second round as a ladder. The goal is the bottom of the ladder. The Chaser is at the top of the ladder. The contestant starts off three spaces below The Chaser. If they compete from THAT spot, they go for the amount from the Cashbuilder round, which is rolled into the Bank for the final round if they reach the bottom before The Chaser reaches them. 

The higher offer means they move one space up, and The Chaser can catch them with two questions instead of three. Therefore the potential reward is higher. 

The low offer means they move one space down instead, and The Chaser needs four questions to catch them. 

Edited by Kromm
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22 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

Weren't there only three contestants on the GSN version? 

Possibly. It's actually been FAR longer since I've seen the previous US version than the Brit and Aussie versions (which both have teams of four). 

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26 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

Never heard of Sara Haines either. She was OK but I found her voice a bit nasal.

She's from The View (one of the less annoying people from it) and before the Pandemic pulled TV schedules apart had a morning show with Michael Strahan. 

Her voice is nasal, but that's probably better than Brooke's bellowing. It's a shame she isn't nearly as fast a reader as Brooke though. Time is critical with this format. 

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Was hoping to love this, given the Jeopardy connection, but I found it just too loud and chaotic. Plus, ken behaved like a prick throughout. Won't be watching again.

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I hope that women who comment here don't think I'm putting them down or anything.  I know there's plenty of women with very high educations that would stand up to these Jeopardy goats....in fact....the first contestant was that guy who acted if though he would just breeze through it and didn't answer one question right and Ken had no problem beating him....now THAT was funny ....but you all know if you've watched Jeopardy over the years that these people are usually weak in "useless" knowledge pop culture topics....so why even have these guys there if you're not really going to challenge them in what their strength is?  Isn't that the point?  

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Holzhauer has a connection to the GSN version. Both he and his wife competed on it (separate episodes) before he competed on Jeopardy. 
I’m a fan of the GSN version as well as Brooke and The Beast. I think the Jeopardy champs lack the snark and arrogance mixed with humor that The Beast brings to the table. He could come across as a complete asshole, but then you realize he has this more warm and fuzzy side. Ken has tried to up his snark on Masterminds, but it usually falls flat. I think it’s going to be the same here. I’d rather they just give up the weird nicknames and exaggerated characters on this one. The Jeopardy champs are more imposing when they just show their speed and knowledge. Personality is not where they shine and for that reason they should not bother with the lounge thing. 
I too miss Brooke’s speed here and she also was good at building drama. Not a fan of Sara here. I think she wastes a lot of the contestants’ time. 

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2 hours ago, Kromm said:

It means they COMPETE for the higher amount, at more of a disadvantage. So that amount could be banked... via a harder to win round. 

Imagine that second round as a ladder. The goal is the bottom of the ladder. The Chaser is at the top of the ladder. The contestant starts off three spaces below The Chaser. If they compete from THAT spot, they go for the amount from the Cashbuilder round, which is rolled into the Bank for the final round if they reach the bottom before The Chaser reaches them. 

The higher offer means they move one space up, and The Chaser can catch them with two questions instead of three. Therefore the potential reward is higher. 

The low offer means they move one space down instead, and The Chaser needs four questions to catch them. 

Sorry, I think I used the wrong words. I meant if she went for the 400k instead of the safe money, would she have enough correct answers to avoid Ken and make it to the final round anyway?

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1 hour ago, Kimmmmmm said:

Was hoping to love this, given the Jeopardy connection, but I found it just too loud and chaotic. Plus, ken behaved like a prick throughout. Won't be watching again.

That's actually part of the core premise of the show. If you didn't like Ken's really mild form of boastful arrogance, you'll hate the other versions of this show, where it's even more overt. 

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The GSN version from 2013-2015 had only three contestants going against The Beast.  I appreciated The Beast's wit and typically rooted for him to beat the contestants.  The few times he did lose, he was always very gracious.

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41 minutes ago, Snow Apple said:

Sorry, I think I used the wrong words. I meant if she went for the 400k instead of the safe money, would she have enough correct answers to avoid Ken and make it to the final round anyway?

I think she could have won the 125k but Ken would have caught her at 425k. 

The GSN episodes are on Netflix if anyone wants to see The Beast. That host definitely reads the fastest of any host. Sara isn't bad though. Way way better than Jane Lynch on Weakest Link. 

The first show was good. 

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Made it ten minutes in but was beyond bored. I was hoping all three guys would be on at the same time as the Chasers have great chemistry. Never saw any other iteration of this so I can't compare but I am not sold. When they get the guys on the same stage, maybe I'll watch. I'll give it one thing though, it's a bit more interesting than The Wall, but that's not saying a lot.

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 Plus, ken behaved like a prick throughout. Won't be watching again.

Man, if  you thought Ken was a prick I'd love to hear your reaction to The Beast (UK Chaser). I actually found Ken to be quite boring and too mild mannered. I think that's a uniquely Brit thing, though - to have a host be purposely rude and abrasive and make fun of the contestants. Anne Robinson did that on The Weakest Link and The Beast was one of three "characters" that played Chaser on the UK and GSN version. 

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35 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

Man, if  you thought Ken was a prick I'd love to hear your reaction to The Beast (UK Chaser). I actually found Ken to be quite boring and too mild mannered. I think that's a uniquely Brit thing, though - to have a host be purposely rude and abrasive and make fun of the contestants. Anne Robinson did that on The Weakest Link and The Beast was one of three "characters" that played Chaser on the UK and GSN version. 

Ha! I thought the same; that Ken was too nice. I thought they were keeping the game part and got rid of the "mean" host persona. Then Ken tried to get in a few digs but it just wasn't him.

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40 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

Man, if  you thought Ken was a prick I'd love to hear your reaction to The Beast (UK Chaser). I actually found Ken to be quite boring and too mild mannered. I think that's a uniquely Brit thing, though - to have a host be purposely rude and abrasive and make fun of the contestants. Anne Robinson did that on The Weakest Link and The Beast was one of three "characters" that played Chaser on the UK and GSN version. 

The Governess, a woman named Anne Heggerty, on the UK show, is even better at it than Mark Labbett (aka The Beast). She tosses barbs and burns constantly, and expertly. 

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On 1/7/2021 at 10:07 PM, Snow Apple said:

Pretty good so far. I like how they got rid of all the in-between chatter (like consulting with your teammates) and just got on with it.

I'm used to Brooke and her speed, especially since she also have a current game show featuring Ken. But I'm sure I'll get used to Sara.

 

On 1/7/2021 at 9:46 PM, mtlchick said:

In theory, it is.  But considering I enjoy the camaraderie between Brad, James and Ken (when he's not in trouble with the interwebs), I'm easy to please.

Ken knows all the random things, but somehow he didn't know Dynamite?!  

I even knew Dynamite.  If you watch a lot of network tv, that song is used in a ton of different commercials.

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On 1/8/2021 at 3:18 AM, HerkyJerky said:

Agreed!  Compare Sara, for example, to Jane Krakowski on the new "Name that Tune".  Now SHE is somebody that is scripted!

I love Jane, and I think she’s a hoot on Match Game as a panelist. I gave up on Name That Tune after 5 minutes because she’s not a good host.

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Her voice is nasal, but that's probably better than Brooke's bellowing. 

I went back and watched a couple of the GSN episodes on Netflix. I wouldn't say Brooke "bellowed," exactly. But it's worth noting she was hosting with a live studio audience and may have been projecting a bit more due to that. The thing that sort of bugged me about Brooke (superficially, admittedly) was her enormous mouth. I swear she had twice as many teeth as a normal person. 

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I've never seen this show  before, first time I heard about it is when James was on Jeopardy and I read he had beat The Beast on The Chase, which was a high honor. I LOVED the first episode and am really pumped about the second one tomorrow night. I think James is going to be the chaser. I like that James, Brad and Ken are all on the same team so to speak. I also thought the questions on episode one were pretty high end, which I appreciated. I like to learn from these trivia shows, not think I'm smart because I answered some easy peasy question.

Can't wait! See ya'll after tomorrow night's episode.

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I don’t know who the host is but she’s got magnificent arms. Sleeveless, no jiggle. I’m mesmerized. That’s all I got. 

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9 minutes ago, Quickbeam said:

I don’t know who the host is but she’s got magnificent arms. Sleeveless, no jiggle. I’m mesmerized. That’s all I got. 

Sarah looks pretty with her hair like that.  And yes...great arms.  She had a baby not all that long ago...it could have been a year by now.  But I guess she was getting fit for this show.  Lol

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I know a lot of people don't, but I love James!   I had no doubt how this one was ending.  I have watched the British version and I like this new one.  Something to distract me from the fact that Alex is gone. 

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I agree about Sarah's hair, I really liked it. Great to see a woman not having skanky hair extensions down to there, parted in the middle. Yes, I watch The Bachelor!

I like this show so much, I watched the rerun last night with Ken. I was pumped about James being on. As I posted before, I like the three Jeopardy guys being on the same team instead of competing against each other. It's fun to see them in this different role.

The three players were pretty good. The woman was golden though. I was rooting for James to beat them, then felt badly at the end when he did and the two went home with nothing. I hope they at least got their parking validated.

Brad is super quiet in the viewing room, but I thought Ken (and when he got Brad to talk) made some interesting comments. Big fan of Ken's shirt, tie and pullover sweater.

Looking forward to Brad's spin as Chaser next week. This is my new favorite show, it's not dumbed down so it's challenging for viewers too. And I think Sarah is doing a great job as host.

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James struck me as having a curiously flat affect in the role of Chaser.  The trash talk didn't seem to come naturally to him, and felt scripted (as it may well be).  The thing about The Beast's wisecracks is that they seemed to be more genuine.  He at least made them feel like he came up with them himself on the fly--though his might have been scripted also.  As others have said, Mark Labbett seems to be a more naturally snarky and quick-witted person.  Of course that may just be because he's had a lot more experience in the role.

Seeing James blaze through the final questions definitely brought back memories of the GSN show.  I haven't seen much of the British or Australian versions, but on the GSN version it was quite rare for the contestants to win.  The Beast generally made pretty short work of them in the final round.  I wonder what the Chasers' average will be here.

The viewing room thing is thankfully not as "dude-bro" as I feared it would be, but I agree it doesn't really add all that much.  And Brad so far is pretty quiet, as if he's not really into doing snarky commentary.

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2 hours ago, MrAtoz said:

James struck me as having a curiously flat affect in the role of Chaser.  The trash talk didn't seem to come naturally to him, and felt scripted (as it may well be).  The thing about The Beast's wisecracks is that they seemed to be more genuine.  He at least made them feel like he came up with them himself on the fly--though his might have been scripted also.  As others have said, Mark Labbett seems to be a more naturally snarky and quick-witted person.  Of course that may just be because he's had a lot more experience in the role.

Seeing James blaze through the final questions definitely brought back memories of the GSN show.  I haven't seen much of the British or Australian versions, but on the GSN version it was quite rare for the contestants to win.  The Beast generally made pretty short work of them in the final round.  I wonder what the Chasers' average will be here.

The viewing room thing is thankfully not as "dude-bro" as I feared it would be, but I agree it doesn't really add all that much.  And Brad so far is pretty quiet, as if he's not really into doing snarky commentary.

I think that is just his personality, and I think as for Ken as well, it is a hard role for them--they want to do it like the show would want them too, but they also tend to be a little like their own personality.  Watching it, I think it would be hard to strike the right balance especially because most American viewers do not know what that person is "supposed to be like".  If they come off too harsh they will look mean, but if they are too light those that expect more will be disappointed.  

James rocked those final questions...

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I agree that James went totally robotic sounding and/or scripted with his comments to the contestants.  Ken was actually a tad better at it surprisingly, but neither was actually good. You'd think James would be good at shit talk at least, given his aura of snarkiness when HE was a contestant, but I guess not. Ken also can't do the shit talk, but he's better at the teaching/other conversation parts, and I think that comes down to years of book tours and being on lots of podcasts. 

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Actually I thought James was better than Ken. I didn't think Ken fit the role of "snarky chaser" at all but James did it rather well. {shrugs}

This batch of contestants was better than last week, but frankly if you can't get more than one or two correct answers in the cash builder you just don't belong here. I don't know if the questions are just harder or what but on the GSN version you had no chance of winning the final chase unless you got a minimum of 20 steps. Last week they got a measly 10 and this week only 15. 

Also, I didn't notice so much last week but Sarah does read the questions too slowly in the cash builder. She even paused too long between questions and it kind of pissed me off. I remember when that clock got down to about five seconds Brooke really tried to speed read that last question and get it out in time but Sarah is just too casual about it. Speed is everything - it's a chase!

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