Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Initial Thoughts On ...

Battle of the Brains

I managed to miss the BotB premiere yesterday: my powers of comprehension were obviously blighted by Batman. However, this was mostly because I didn't think they would turn it round so quickly since filming started barely more than three weeks ago. Well, they evidently did. Good for Shine North.

There are flashes of brilliance in the show, especially with regards to the round one formats, but it is the very definition of a curate's egg. It seems to have been cut with the subtlety of a lawnmower and slapped together with a bucket of UHU and amateur hour voiceover links. But then you realise again that they were only filming it earlier this month and everything was done in a crazed rollercoaster rush. Remember that. As a consequence the pacing is strange for a 30 minute show that has the natural hour length on the commercial channels, or 45 on the BBC. The questions pass muster, however. Which is what really matters when you're watching it. As you can tell I can forgive a litany of crimes and misdemeanours in quiz programmes, if the questions don't make me splutter in utter disbelief.

What did cause me to go "HURRSSSHHH" in exasperation - that's the sound of coffee exiting my mouth like a fire hose - were tidbits in the script like the question "Who will become the best quiz team in Britain?" and throwaway phrases like "clever clogs" and "intellectual supremacy". Hey, it's only schedule filler for August. It's not Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins going at each other with samurai swords. Though that would be so cool, dude. Anyway, I thought the Eggheads were the best quiz team in Britain, or at least on BBC2. It seems quiz shows can't even agree in the same hour slot about such things. A fight resolution does actually sound like the best way forward, doesn't it?

Today I realised why our thoroughly amiable, albeit slightly robotic at times, host Paddy was on Richard and Judy a few minutes before talking about 80s movies like Top Gun, Weird Science and the barely forgotten masterpiece that is Mannequin with Caitlin Moran and Sarah Cawood - please don't ask why. Of course, he never mentioned he was doing presenter duties on a new quiz and it was as if he had just dropped in for a random chat about nostalgic inanities, and maybe the sheer bloody coincidence, or by means of black magic we have no knowledge, was meant to reel the viewers into BBC2.

Now for my turn: Got my broadcast confirmation letter today. My Welsh team, as opposed to my English one, will be making their debut on August 13. I will be producing a typically self-indulgent report to mark the occasion that will further expand on my cheap-shot analysis of this new show.

1 A 64-year-old doctor from Guangdong named Liu Jianlun was designated 'Patient Zero' or the 'Index case' of which disease?
2 Who is the creator of 23-year-old Canadian comic book hero Scott Pilgrim, a slacker, wannabe-rockstar, who is living in Toronto and playing bass in the band "Sex Bob-Omb" and who falls in love with American delivery girl Ramona V. Flowers, but must defeat her seven "evil exes" in order to date her?
3 Taking its name from the Venetian explorer Alvise da _____ who was born in the said 13th century palace in 1432, what is the oldest building on Venice's Grand Canal?
4 Which cathedral was built under the orders of Pope Urban IV to commemorate and provide a suitable home for the Corporal of Bolsena, a miracle which is said to have occurred in 1264 in the nearby town of Bolsena, when a travelling priest who had doubts about the truth of transubstantiation found that his Host was bleeding so much that it stained the altar cloth? (The cloth is now stored in the Chapel of the Corporal inside the cathedral)
5 Which 'canid' can be Crab-eating, Falkland Island, Hoary, Tibetan or Cozumel?



Answers to FE:XV
1 SARS, transmitted during a stay in the Hong Kong Metropole Hotel in 2003 2 Bryan Lee O'Malley 3 Ca' da Mosto 4 Orvieto Cathedral 5 Fox


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