It’s been a while since I last reviewed an American show. But I definitely have to do so for NBC’s revival of Weakest Link.
The original NBC run as well as the British mothership were great fun to watch. A mix of Survivor and the traditional quiz show plus Anne Robinson’s biting commentary and insults toward the contestants. It was a recipe for fun television. I actually preferred Weakest Link over Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Though those early days with Regis Philbin were also great television.
While the Weakest Link revival captures some of the original run’s magic, including retaining the most of the music and visuals, there’s still something not quite right just yet.
When the unexpected news of NBC’s revival first came about, hearing Jane Lynch would step into Anne Robinson’s shoes made sense. They are similarly charming and have a similar sense of dry humor.
But many of Jane Lynch’s quips feel forced and so obviously scripted. Jane Lynch is much better than the lines that are given to her here. Let her rip! It feels like they are holding her back for some reason. Could it be we’re not allowed to be too mean in 2020? Perhaps.
Anne Robinson is certainly iconic as host. There were times when some of the retorts fell flat or the contestants themselves felt like they were trying too hard. But overall, it was Anne Robinson’s delivery that was one of the biggest appeals of the original series.
Hopefully after a couple more episodes, Jane Lynch can settle into a more relaxed and free flowing style that suits both the show and her own personality much better.
It’s great to see so much of the original series almost unchanged except for some high definition upgrades, especially in the awesome-looking studio. The music and the graphics are essentially the same as well.
But the laughtrack is very forced. And certainly, the Weakest Link as a format with its burns and shade work the best when there’s an audience to react to those burns and shade. Not the pre-recorded laughtrack activated by the control room. I don’t think the lack of audience should have an effect on Jane Lynch’s lines and delivery though.
The ideas of sick burns or throwing shade didn’t even exist back in 2001 like they do now. So the show needs to step it up in that aspect. That said, seeing Weakest Link back in primetime after all these years with only minimal makeover is a testament to the viability of the format. And my gripes are certainly things that the show can work on moving forward.