Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Games! Games! Games!

It is has been HOT here in NYC. Like Lawrence of Arabia meets Do The Right Thing, hot (I think I speak for every lady in the city when I say I'd be eternally grateful if Mookie came over to my apartment with a pizza and some ice right about now).
So by the time I emerge from the oven-like depths of the E train after a long day at work, all I want to do is kick back with some AC, and watch something mindless and fun so my brain doesn't overheat like the rest of my sweaty self.

If you're also trying to beat the heat, I have TWO breezy game-shows that you can cool off in front of until the sun goes down, and it's safe to walk outside again: The CW's Whose Line Is It Anyway? and NBC's Hollywood Game Night.

Let's start with the return of an old favorite: Whose Line. Revamped with a new host (Aisha Tyler), new games, and new celebrity guest stars, this classic improv show is back and better than ever. Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie and Wayne Brady have finally been reunited after almost 6 years, but watching them perform together, you'd think they never left the stage. They even brought back the original musicians, Laura Hall and Linda Taylor, to back up the crew. While Tyler is the newbie of the bunch, she more than fills the big shoes left by past host, Drew Carey, bringing her own brand of humor to the proceedings. 
Whose Line Is It Anyway? airs Tuesday nights at 8PM on the CW. 
It's truly a joy to watch these veteran improvers work together again - I fell into fits of laughter like a little kid at least once per episode - and with fun new games like "Sideways Scene" and "What's in the Bag?" the whole show feels re-energized. Whose Line is perfect for those sweltering evenings when going out to see a live improv show just isn't an option. My recommendation? Save a bunch on your DVR and have a mini-marathon! The first three episodes are also currently available to stream on cwtv.com.


Now onto Hollywood Game Night, NBC's new game-show hosted by Jane Lynch. It's like playing Pictionary with your friends...if your friends were famous TV actors like Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, and Martin Short. Basically, two lucky audience members get to play party games with teams of celebrities for the chance to win $25,000 (and $10,000 for the celeb's charity of choice). At an hour apiece, the episodes tend to drag a little, but it's really fun to watch the actors' competitive - and drunk - sides come out as the stakes get higher (plus, they're having such a great time, you can't help but play along with them). MVP currently goes to Yvette Nicole Brown of Community who *GAME SHOW SPOILER ALERT?* helped her teammate win the top prize during the bonus round. I'm especially excited for episode 3 which airs this Thursday. The guests include SNL vets Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler so looks like it may be the best one yet. Check out the first two episodes streaming on NBC.com, then throw a game night of your own!
Hollywood Game Night airs on Thursday nights at 10PM on NBC.

Just a couple quick things before I pull my sheets out of the freezer and settle in for the night:

- I would be remiss if I didn't direct you here to the AV club's compilation of the best TV moments of the year (so far). It's a great list that might inspire you to check out some new shows, and revisit some of your favorites.

- In why-wasn't-I-watching-this-sooner news, Orphan Black is just the straight-up coolest thing I've seen on TV in a long time. I'm not a big sci-fi fan, but I was blown away by this inventive, sexy, creepy, and heart-pounding Canadian series. Do yourself a favor and watch season one!
If you're not saying:
after the first two episodes, I'll move to Toronto (which might be a little cooler this time of year...).

- Finally, Extra Hot Great is returning! This unique pop-culture review podcast was on a long hiatus while the hosts launched their new site, previously.tv, but it's finally coming back some time this summer. The show is packed with games, fun segments, and reviews, and my personal favorite, the TV canon, where listeners can submit their favorite TV episodes for an in depth review. For directions on how to submit a show yourself, click here!

Check back next week after I do some time with the Netflix original series, Orange Is The New Black. Stay cool, everyone!

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