The variety show is officially back!
The idea of reviving the classic genre has been kicked around for some time, recall Maya Rudolph’s failed attempt a year ago, but now that it has come to pass, it almost feels inevitable that Neil Patrick Harris would be the man to bring the variety show back to prime time. However, in this case, it’s the ways NPH has changed the format that spell its success.
Sure, the hour long premiere was chock full of musical numbers, games and celebrity cameos, but it also boasted an American Ninja Warrior style obstacle course, celebrity pranks and some really legitimate prizes. Obviously the producers looked at all the most popular pieces of pop culture, from YouTube videos to Instagram to Vines (we may be a generation a little obsessed with screens) and mashed them into one show. This is Lawrence Welk for a new generation.
But the real key to Best Time Ever is that it fully embraces its camp with open arms. When you have Reese Witherspoon zip lining across the night sky, what other choice do you have? Honestly, I can’t think of a person who better embodies the consummate entertainer with just the right amount of tongue in cheek than Neil Patrick Harris. This revival lives and dies with him. So it’s lucky that most people have universally agreed he is the best.
The only obstacle I can foresee is the yet to be unleashed fall lineup waiting in the wings. Yes, Best Time Ever is a fun hour, but does it feel more like a summer show to fill the hours when all the real TV is on hiatus? It was smart to premiere a week ahead of the pack, but it will be interesting to see how it fares when it’s up against some real competition.
Final Verdict: Make it a weekly date, even if that means with your DVR.
*Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris airs on Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC.
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