Friday, October 5, 2012

Game Time: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (1991)

PBS rarely has game shows. They're often spoofed, instead, on some shows, like Sesame Street. In 1991, however, the Public Broadcasting Service decided to try something new.

Based on a computer game, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? enjoyed a healthy four year run before ending in 1995. Reruns would continue for another year before a follow-up series, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?, would take its place.

Carmen, according to the storyline, is a master thief who, along with her various henchmen, is wanted for crimes across the globe. The ACME Detective Agency, headed by the Chief (Lynne Thigpen) and a special agent in charge of recruiting (series host Greg Lee), calls upon a trio of detective recruits (contestants) each day to solve a case in a quiz show format. It seems so ironic, then, that GameShowNetwork, a YouTube poster who may not be affiliated with GSN after all, uploaded the following episode......

Carmen would eventually make her way to Saturday mornings and in animated form, in a short-lived series for Fox later in the decade, with Carmen voiced by show business icon Rita Moreno (ex-The Electric Company). Eventually, we'll get to that series.....

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

I caught this one back in the day and it was a great show! American kids are definitely in desperate need of geography lessons and this show was a great way to do that.

Considering the budget they had, they did a great job. Thigpen & Lee did well in their roles and having doo-wop group, "Rockapella" singing the theme song and the incidental music helped make this above average entertainment.

Towards the end of the show's run, they "updated" the set and started using more SFX which turned me off.

The timing was right as well since mapmakers were having trouble keeping up with the changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union and other little countries popping up everywhere. Not to mention the reunification of Germany.

hobbyfan said...

It's just too bad that PBS doesn't bother reviving the series, more than 20 years after the original's launch. Then again, seeing what they did with the Electric Company......!