ABC's Press Your Luck Revival: Grade It

Press Your Luck Review

Having previously revived Match Game and $100,000 Pyramid (among others), ABC this week is giving two more classic game shows a contemporary spin. First up, Press Your Luck got a sneak preview on Tuesday night. Does it deserve big props, or a Whammy?
TV’s latest iteration of Press Your Luck is at first familiar… and then a bit new. To start things off, trivia questions are lobbed in the direction of three players, and the first response (if there is one) gets bundled with two other possible answers as a multiple choice question. Players then win a number of spins based on the order in which they answer correctly.

Moving to the Big Board, the players take turns using some or all of their earned spins to win cash, prizes and additional spins while hopefully not landing on a dreaded Whammy! Failing to dodge that li’l devil gets you an animated visit in which he, one comical way or another, empties your coffers. Adding to the strategy of Big Board play, a player can pass to whomever is in the lead any unused spins, which then MUST be used. Meaning, you can forego your chance to add winnings so that a rival might be led into the Whammy’s lair.

After two rounds of the above, the revival ramps things up.

The player with the most amassed winnings heads into a series of bonus rounds where they go “head-to-head with the Whammy,” using any or all allotted spins to seek big money and fabulous prizes, or walk away. The temptation of ever increasing Big Bucks amounts in the premiere led the winner to go on and on, almost to the final round. Ostensibly, one can walk away with a million-dollar payday if their game play is preternaturally perfect, or something. But we shall see.

The set for this new Press Your Luck is dramatically dark and dynamic, with a dais that spins the players and host Elizabeth Banks around for the Big Board rounds. The animated Whammy is not as obtrusive (nor annoying) as some past incarnations of the show, and some of his vignettes are quite clever. (One even demonstrated wink-wink corporately synergy, via a “final rose” ceremony.)

As host, Banks is lively but could (and probably will) be looser in future installments, as the game play and lingo become second nature and she can find variations on the oft repeated “One more spin, Stevie!” cheer. (Speaking of which, I seem to have forgotten how often players will declare, “I will Press! My! Luck!” before every elective spin. Oy!) Banks is a terrific comedienne, so it’d be great to see her sassy personality sneak through more.

What did you think of Press Your Luck’s special preview ahead of its regular time slot premiere this Wednesday at 8/7c, where it will lead into the new Card Sharks and then Match Game?

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