Sunday, June 22, 2014

Game Time: Masters of the Maze (1994)

After working on game shows such as Break The Bank, Richard S. Kline struck out on his own, starting with co-producing, with Bert Convy & Burt Reynolds, Win, Lose, or Draw and its teen counterpart. In 1994, Kline sold Masters of the Maze to the then-Family Channel (now ABC Family), which at the time was owned by the Christian Broadcasting Network, and because of it, their flagship show, The 700 Club, still airs on ABC Family to this day. I digress.

In the course of its two seasons, Masters went through two hosts. J. D. Roth (ex-Fun House) hosted the first year, but was not asked back for a second season. One would guess that he filled the void when he was cast as Jonny Quest for Cartoon Network's revival of that franchise, but didn't last there, either. Saved by the Bell alumnus Mario Lopez, whose first hosting gig was another NBC series, Name Your Adventure, was hired to replace Roth. Unfortunately, Family Channel would've been well served to acquire reruns of Bell in order to draw viewers to Masters, which was a blatant clone of the generic, cookie cutter games that Stone-Stanley was producing for Nickelodeon at the time, right down to the odd "uniforms" contestants had to wear, which in this case looked like robot suits.

At least Lopez passed Game Show Hosting 101. He was fine, but Fam was having problems luring viewers, and was considered an inferior competitor to Nick and Disney Channel, which back then was a premium service.

Jared Oswald uploaded this sample episode. Mind the video quality, as it looks like Mr. Oswald used a VHS tape as a basis.

Rating: B.

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