NBC finally unveiled its new variety show, Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, which is based on a popular British TV show, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. If you missed the spectacle, the show is presented live with bits, (like hidden camera stunts), recorded earlier. It’s sort of a mix of talk show, comedy, game show and more.
So, what it the “best time ever?” Surprisingly, it wasn’t bad. It was uneven at times with some moments that didn’t really go over. Fortunately, for the most part, the show was quickly paced, so if you weren’t crazy about one segment, another came rushing by quickly.
First gimmick for the new show: a celebrity announcer. For the opening show, it was actress Reese Witherspoon, who was a cute as ever. There was a segment where people from home could sing a karaoke song for a change to win some money along with special guest Gloria Gaynor. Harris interviewed a couple who had just gotten married and as it turns out, he was right there with them and they didn’t even know it. There was pretty good prank that Harris pulled on the judges of the TV show, The Voice. Harris and Witherspoon both climbed a tall tower and then then rode a zip cord down back to the bottom. And Harris did a mini trivia gameshow with a member in the audience who won a great prize. How they crammed all that in one hour was quite a feat.
But not every element worked. Harris interacted occasionally with a “mini me” version of himself, Carrot Top the comedian showed up for no apparent reason and Nicole Scherzinger showed up to lip sync in the audience and to take over some of the announcing duties. While she is likable, her appearance was just kind of clunky and seemed a little too impressed with herself. Finally, the “finale” of the night was just odd with some weak magic tricks, men jumping around on pogo sticks and some bartenders shaking up fake drinks.
Most of the flaws can be forgiven as this was the first show and they may be trying to figure what worked and what didn’t. In some ways, the show reminded me of the old Dick Clark’s old Bloopers and Practical Jokes show where everyone was trying a little too hard. Surprisingly, the show was very clean and could have aired at an earlier time rather than the 10:00 p.m. timeslot NBC booked for it.
While it may not be have been the “Best” time ever, it was a pretty fun hour and the format was so different, that it was a nice change from regular television programming. Best Time Ever airs on Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. on NBC.