This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason The show doesn't premiere until a few days after this post's publication; we got a screener.
Mr. Gorbachev, Should You Tear Down The Wall?
LeBron James and Chris Hardwick team up (no they don't) for NBC's gimmicky new game show.
What Is This Thing?
The Wall is a very complicated game show in which green and red balls are dropped down a giant Plinko board. Green balls earn a random amount of money, and red balls lose money. Answering questions correctly adds green balls. The whole experience is hosted by Chris Hardwick, who keeps claiming that they're trying to change lives. Provided that those lives are attached to telegenic people who are okay at answering trivia questions, that is.
When Is It On?
Tuesdays at 8 PM ET on NBC, starting January 3; a special preview episode airs Monday, December 19, at 10 PM.
Why Was It Made Now?
There's a distinct possibility that someone wasn't paying attention to the headlines during the presidential campaign and thought that NBC would be able to get Mexico to pay for it.
What's Its Pedigree?
The Wall is brought to you by executive producer LeBron James, who is apparently tired of being awesome at basketball and would prefer to be known for innovations in the field of game shows. Although obviously no one thinks LeBron actually had anything to do with this other than picking up a check for the use of his name, so I'm not sure who they think they're fooling.
It's hosted by Chris Hardwick, but it does not appear to reflect any of his sensibility either, aside from a fondness for appearing on television. The gameplay, such as it is, is basically Plinko from The Price Is Right, but no one's admitting that. So I have to assume that The Wall was created by an machine that spits out game show ideas. Probably the same one that came up with The Million Second Quiz.
For a game with a lot of random elements, it has a lot of interesting decisions for the contestants to make. They have to decide where to drop their balls, whether they want to double up on balls, and a few other things that are just excuses earnestly to discuss balls. Call me shallow, but the line "This might be the ball that changes our life" will never not make me laugh.
And they're potentially giving away a LOT of money. In a world where even the terrible reality show Window Warriors* gives away $100,000, networks are having to raise the stakes. If you want to see people breathless at the chance of getting really big checks, you might as well go with the biggest checks around.
First of all, it shouldn't take an hour to ask eleven trivia questions. Especially when none of them would make it past the first tier on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. And second, a game that's set up so you could answer everything correctly and still end up with no money is not a game that's well designed. Most of the running time is devoted to watching a less interesting version of pachinko, and you could replicate it at home for the cost of a ping-pong ball and some thumbtacks.
Please don't watch this. You'd be better off watching Plinko clips on YouTube. Or even Window Warriors.