Top Five #038: Game Shows

Top Five is a show where the hosts categorize, rank, compare, and stratify everything… from cars to gadgets to people and movies. From stuff that is hot, and things that are not nearly as interesting – it’s Top Five.

Who’s willing to bet it all and walk away a winner? It’s the top five game shows!


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  1. 5. Survivor: Survivor was such a great game show, because in the first season only Richard Hatch realized it WAS a game show. Everybody else thought it was show about ‘surviving’ while he realized that the voting and the other players could be ‘gamed’ to his advantage. By the second season more people figured out the ‘game’ and strategies of alliances and betrayals became a regular part of the show. It was really compelling stuff to see players manipulate group dynamics, see them shift strategies as the numbers shrank, and see different strategies emerge as the show changed and added rules. TOTALLY a game show.

    4. Remote Control: The inevitable culmination of all the Game Shows that Gen Xers watched as kids, Remote Control, was a meta-quiz show designed for all of us that grew up on 70s and 80s game shows. Where else is there a quiz show with categories like ‘Dead or Canadian’ or ‘Brady Physics’? Silly stuff, lots of fun.

    3. Wheel of Fortune – It has a sexy lady, a puzzle to be solved, and a giant wheel… It may be the perfect game show. You can play at home, beat the contestants and feel smarter than Janice from Des Moines when she couldn’t remember that ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’. When I was a kid we’d play along at home as a family with our scoring being the dollar amount of the puzzle being the score for being the one to solve the puzzle. The immortal Chuck Woolery was the original host, before Pat Sajak by the way…

    2. Jeopardy – Wheel’s smarter brother. Another show where you can beat the contestants to the punch and feel smart. A great show to watch with friends so you can prove you know about the opera ‘Carmen’ and they don’t. Neener neener. Alex Trebek is awesome with or without a mustache.

    1. Price is Right – Everybody buys stuff…everybody can relate to the day to day need to figure out how much stuff costs and that is the heart of WHY Price is Right is soooo great. Its very premise is relatable, and why it is eternal. Mix that with yodeling mountain climbers, Plinko, and THE BEST GIANT WHEEL in all of Gameshowdom you have the best game show EVER. When I was a kid me and my neighbor would watch this every single day during the summer and we were in only elementary school. We loved the pretty girls, and the final showcases. Bob Barker was always the best. One of the bus drivers from my school was actually on this show, but didn’t get past the original pricing game.

    I think the ability to ‘play along’ at home is the key to a great game show. I didn’t realize how many of these things I watched until you guys started listing yours, then I started thinking about mine and realized I watched TONS of game shows in the afternoon after school or during the day in the summer time.

    Tic Tac Dough, The Newlywed Game, Password, Double Dare, Win Lose or Draw, Card Sharks, Sale of the Century, Battle of the Network Stars, What’s My Line, High Rollers (with giant dice), Name That Tune, Supermarket Sweep, and a 100 others could be Honorable Mentions. You could do a TOP FIVE Game Shows from every decade of television, honestly. I the meta-game shows like Who’s Line, The Gong Show, that use the ‘game show’ format without really being games…

  2. 5. Who dares wins – crazy Australian show

    4. Beat the geeks – it was amazing geek on geek verbal violence

    3. Press your luck – no whammy

    2. Wipeout – I love the, umm, big, er, balls

    1. Win Ben steins money – that’s one smart son of a gun

    my honorable mention was Battle of the network stars, but I was unsure if that would count.

  3. Oh man, Zach and Rodrigo, I remember the EXACT Pokemon question you guys are talking about. The answer was “Frodo”. What pissed me off at the time was that Regis Philbin said that Frodo was from “The Hobbit” WRONG PHILBIN! FRODO WASN’T IN THE HOBBIT!

  4. Have to agree with Stephen about Eco-Challenge. An amazing expedition adventure race and challenge of many different skills and teamwork.

    All Muppet Hollywood Squares is a show I would pay money to watch.Rodrigo was spot on there. I would want Madame to be the host, however.

    Match Game was the first talk show I was a big fan of, and it definitely makes my top 5.

    I would not have thought of Remote Control, but Matthew is right, it deserves to be there. It was a successful mash up of game show and comedy sketch show.

    Jeopardy is the classic game that everyone loves to play along with, or watch a spoof of on SNL. Sean Connery vs Alex Trebek is one of the best fictional rivalries on television.

    A fun episode, thanks much guys!

  5. 5. Beat the Geeks: It was the first game show where my geekiness was a real asset. Plus, it was great to watch when the geeks lost- they got SOOOOO angry!

    4. Eco Challenge: I agree with Stephen. I also loved the group that blamed all their problems on Burnett, and walked through New Zealand yelling “Curse you, Burnett!”

    3. Win Ben Stein’s Money: I had a lot of respect for Ben in this show- he is genuinely very smart and well-read!

    2. The Amazing Race: I love seeing all the places around the world the teams visit (especially the ones I’ve been to myself) and the challenges they have to solve.

    1. Whose Line is it Anyways? The original British version is much better than Drew Carey’s Americanization of the show. Drew just isn’t all that good at improv, and he made the show about him. But either iteration of the show is well worth watching!

  6. Two references to Chile in this episode! I’m so happy! For those of you who don’t know, the Saturday show Rodrigo was talking about (Sabado Gigante) is originally from Chile, and its host (Mario Kreutzberger aka ‘Don Francisco’) is chilean as well.
    I love game shows, don’t know why, but I just can’t stop watching them. I don’t think I can rank them though, and most of my favorite shows are from Chile anyways so I don’t think you would know them :)

  7. The Amazing Race
    This is the only game show I currently watch. (If you prefer to call it a reality show, then I will say that it’s the only reality show I watch, as well. :D) I enjoy the travel aspect immensely, and there is just enough strategy to make it interesting without it becoming too much, a la Survivor, which I quit watching after the first three seasons. I just don’t enjoy bitchy shows.

    The Mole
    I love mystery stuff, so this was a fun one to “play along at home,” especially once you figured out that the show was actually edited in a certain way as to give clues… never too obvious though, they always kept you guessing. It was also the show in which Anderson Cooper earned my crush that continues today. :)

    Remote Control
    Matthew said it all. Talented comedians running around, funny questions we could relate to, double entendre, and La-Z-Boys that would suck you into the wall. Cool!

    The Match Game
    The first game show I really loved as a kid. I didn’t know why then, and I don’t know why now… maybe it’s the element of “connecting with a celebrity” although I had no idea who Charles Nelson Reilly was… still don’t, really. Why was he on that show, anyway??

    Price is Right
    I honestly don’t care much for this show, but it’s an icon. Loved Bob Barker, he was such a paternal figure until the internet came along and ruined his reputation. I understand Drew Carey hosts this show now, and there’s even a male model! Maybe I should check it out…

  8. Remote Control which was mentioned above…added that Mtv sensibility to Game shows

    the Joe Schmo show…a game/reality show that is really more of a very long hidden camera show where they don’t hide the cameras…and everyone is an actor except for one guy. The show is currently wrapping up showing it’s 3rd season…an impressive feat when you consider that the last season ended a decade ago

    Double Dare … Nickelodeon brings it’s slime love to teenagers answering questions or doing messy stunts.

    Real World/Road Rules challenge…another marriage of reality tv and game show…. ideally you would have spent weeks getting to know these people and seeing who they are before they join this collection of random stunts and challenges…notable for giving us WWE fans, the Miz.

    the Price is Right…not so much a game show as a bunch of games as a show.

    honorable mentions: Guts!, Legend of the Hidden Temple, Card Sharks (I have no idea why but I loved this show as a kid),

  9. ClubberLang6 on

    Here is my list:
    1.Jeopardy: This is JEOPARDY!!!!!
    2.Double Dare: Anybody remember the green slime?
    3.The Contender: Was a boxing reality show, where the winner (Sergio “the Latin Snake” Mora) got a million dollars I think.
    4.Scholastic Matchup: Many areas have regional trivia shows, where high school teams compete.
    5. Hollywood Squares Really funny.
    Worst game show is Are you Smarter than zee 5th graders!

  10. Solid Muldoon on

    I was old enough to know what they were talking about on The Match Game, and it was the raunchiest thing ever to appear on broadcast TV! I can’t believe it got on the air. It would be considered too dirty to air on broadcast TV if they tried to make it today.

  11. Just catching up on top five so a little late to the party.
    If you enjoy Who’s Line and QI you should deffinatly check out Just A Minet the long running and always hilarious radio show that was one of the first comedy game shows. The fact that it’s been on the air for so long is testament to the strength of the super simple format (talk for 60 seconds on a random subject with out hesitation, deviation or repetation) and the wit and charm of the regular contestants.

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