Fox's Banzai

As part of the further march of promotion into the weblog realm, I got an email (posted below) from Kyle Ford of Fox, talking about their new TV show Banzai. I don't really watch TV, so I didn't know anything about it, but I had a vague sense of having heard the name or something before, so I guess they must be doing promo online. Interestingly, Kyle emailed a few other people as well, and among their number were people who were either French, Canadian, didn't own TVs, hated Fox, or some combination of all of these traits.

But I'm always game for looking at something if I'm approached by someone being thoughtful, respectful, and good-humored, and Kyle was. So I looked at some of the sample clips and was pleasantly surprised. For a gimmicky show, I don't hate it.

Kyle sent me a DVD to look at, and it pretty much just expanded on my existing opinion of the show. The bits are funny, but the stereotypical, grating "Japanese" narrator is just offensive. And not in a good way, in a lame way. I'm trying to figure why they're so heavy-handed with it, and I think it's because the original show (and much of the footage) are from the U.K. and we all know how squeamish Fox's audience would be about hearing a British accent while flipping channels.

That being said, they inherited one interesting bit of the show's U.K. heritage that I think makes it worthwhile. You can bet on the outcome of the little bits taking place during the show, but instead of being limited to the dark ages American-style phone call, you can also vote through the web or via SMS messages. Fantastic! Actually encouraging people to use modern technology. So that kind of balanced it out for me.

As for the content of the show itself, the bits are great. They could do with a little less padding from the transition graphics, and it would be more seamless if short ads were sandwiched in between each segment instead of being grouped into minutes-long blocks like in traditional shows. In all, it's worth a look if you have the TV on when it's airing or if your Tivo's not full.

Kyle's original email to us was as follows:

Hey all. My name's Kyle Ford, and I'm the web producer for an upcoming FOX show called Banzai (of "kick to the balls"-annoying floating ad fame). It starts on Sunday, July 13th after The Simpsons (8:30/7:30c).

It's basically an over the top Japanese gameshow parody/iTV program that's been airing in the UK for several years. In a nutshell, you're presented with scenarios, then asked to place real time bets on the outcomes. In the UK this is done via set top iTV units. Here in the US, we're going to be doing it via the web and through SMS enabled cellphones, so that people can play along from their homes, bars, wherever.

I'm contacting you guys because, well, you're some of blogging's big guns, and as such I'd like to FedEx you "review" DVDs of the show's entire first episode (the same thing we do for traditional outlets such as TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly, etc.), in the hopes that you might take a few minutes to post your honest reactions to it.

No pressure. If you love it, great. If you hate it, not so great, but we'll still be friends. I basically just want to allow interested bloggers the chance to sit at the "adult table" when it comes to expressing their opinions about upcoming tv shows, rather than having to rely on crappy bootlegs and "leaked" clips.

Interested? If so, please send me a mailing address so that I can shoot a DVD your way. If you could care less, I'll leave ya alone and wish you glad tidings.

Best,
Kyle

P.S. I apologize to the many bloggers that I've omitted from this list, but I can only send these DVDs to a limited number of people. If you know of a few more bloggers with a fairly substantial audience (to get the most bang for the buck) that might be into this, please let me know. Much appreciated.

P.S.S. The show's obnoxious, processor-mauling "coming soon" page is at:

http://www.fox.com/banzai/

P.S.S.S. Some example video clips are at:

http://fox.com/banzai/video/kick.htm
http://fox.com/banzai/video/climb.htm
http://fox.com/banzai/video/chicken.htm

Respectful, good-humored, and perhaps a little too apologetic. Just like we like 'em.

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