allkpop TV Guide [Variety Edition]: New Program Spotlight - God of Victory
The TV Guide is back after three weeks of hiatus! If you've missed us, you can curse the Summer Olympics - they've been cancelling everything left and right. But now that the closing ceremony is over, and the Olympic flame has been extinguished, we can get on with the good stuff!
This is a special week for those of us living in the K-variety world. It's not every day we get to witness the birth of a new variety program, and this one looks like it's going to be good: MBC's newest effort, 'God of Victory'!
The way this program runs is pretty easy to understand: there are two teams fighting each other over a variety of events, and whoever wins a majority of the events win. The audience can choose between either side at the beginning of every event, and the losing side gets sent home while the winning side can stay and face the gauntlet once more. One extremely lucky winner at the end can go home with a brand-new car as a prize.
For the first episode, 'God of Victory' brought out one of South Korea's heavyweight comedian hosts, and an actor with a proven track record in variety: Tak Jae Hoon and Kim Soo Ro. Divided into the Red Team (Kim Soo Ro, Noh Hong Chul, Rainbow's Jaekyung) and the Blue Team (Tak Jae Hoon, Kim Na Young, Lee Jae Yoon), the two sides battle each other to determine who truly has the ability to become the 'God of Victory'!
Sounds neat, right? Yes, yes it is.
The question is, though: why do we want to watch two celebrities fight each other? What's in it for us?
We don't watch these kinds of shows to find out who'll win at the end. The final result is only a MacGuffin; the real meat in a variety show, and the reason why 'funny' shows are funny, is the process by which the end result is achieved. Case in point: the best part about 'Running Man' isn't necessarily who wins, but how they win, and what they do to get there. Some of the great moments in 'Running Man' happen when the cast members interact with each other in unforeseen and hilarious ways, and the end result isn't the end-all-be-all to the enjoyment of the episode. (This doesn't fly, of course, for fans of individual cast members.)
'God of Victory' places too much emphasis on the who side of things. Will Tak Jae Hoon win? Can Kim Soo Ro make a comeback?? Will the two rivals ever come to an exciting conclusion???
The most hilarious parts in 'God of Victory' weren't the competition itself. It was the preparation for that competition, and the numerous side-avenues the cast members exploited, that gave the real hearty laughs in this first episode. The ego battle between the two competitors in the initial library setting was hilarious, as was watching the two teams go against each other in the preliminary decision scene in the gymnasium (where we got to enjoy an up-close view of Noh Hong Chul's nether regions).
In other words, it was much more enjoyable seeing how the two teams prepared, and what they had to do, than trying to find out who would actually win during the real competition. People watch variety shows for laughter, and with 'God of Victory', laughter was conspicuously absent in the actual events.
My suggestion? Stop being so serious and have a little fun with it! Drop the bombastic narration, and get rid of the audience and the free cars. Instead of being heavy and serious, aim for playful and familiar - especially during the competition, where viewers can get a little tired of the continuing drama and just want to laugh a little.
Most importantly of all, create some room for the characters to start flying, because the show has several cast members with practically unlimited potential - I mean, we're talking about Noh Hong Chul and Tak Jae Hoon, two of the wittiest, most talkative people in Korea, as well as Kim Yong Man, a man with proven MC capabilities.
Kim Na Young, I feel, was a miscasting decision for 'God of Victory'. In a show that requires a loud voice to drum up support for your side, her voice was shrill, annoying, and at some times, even interfering with the show (as demonstrated when Kim Yong Man halted his emceeing to point out just how loud and shrill it was). She is very funny on quieter talk shows like 'Happy Together', but she simply doesn't fit the atmosphere of 'God of Victory'.
Rainbow's Jaekyung and Lee Jae Yoon were ... folding screens, for lack of a better term. It's too early to come to a conclusion about their positions as fixed cast members, simply because it's the first episode and things need a little time to settle. Who knows if they might come into their own? They get a pass for now.
All in all, 'God of Victory' has many good things going for it - two of Korea's funniest men, Tak Jae Hoon and Noh Hong Chul, one of the strongest MCs in the entertainment business in Kim Yong Man, and the perfect 'game devil' Kim Soo Ro. It also has a better-than-average format; ripped off 'Infinity Challenge' and 'HaHa vs. Hongchul', certainly, but still a very flexible and wide-open playing field.
But all of the funniest men in the world can't help save a show if they aren't given situations to be funny in, and the strongest MC in the world can do nothing if he isn't given time to talk. 'God of Victory' takes itself too seriously, and that ultimately is a crippling factor standing between 'God of Victory' and a successful run.
Next week, it's Shinhwa vs. 2PM - a true battle between the beast-dols. Let's see if the young, vibrant energy can inject some life into the competition for 'God of Victory'.
Here's our recommendations on what to catch for the week coming ahead. Keep in mind that these picks are the writer's personal choices; your own opinion may vary.
Monday, August 20
Healing Camp ::: SBS, 11:15 PMahh
Hosts – Lee Kyung Gyu, Kim Jae Dong, Han Hye Jin
Three cheers for recently-returned Olympian, the South Korean football team's Ki Sung Yong! After becoming a hero for being part of the bronze-medal-winning team at the 2012 London Olympics, what manner of dazzling stories does he have up his sleeve for 'Healing Camp'? Don't miss his one-of-a-kind tales, this Monday!
Tuesday, August 21
Win Win ::: KBS2, 11:05 PM
Hosts - Kim Seung Woo, Tak Jae Hoon, Lee Soo Geun, Lee Ki Kwang
'Win Win' welcomes actor and 'Gentleman's Class' cast member Lee Jong Hyuk! What kinds of tantalizing stories will he share for the audience? Find out more about his life story and tales of filming 'Gentleman's Class' on this episode of 'Win Win'.
Wednesday, August 22
Golden Fishery – Radio Star ::: MBC, 11:05 PM
Hosts – Yoon Jong Shin, Kim Kook Jin, Kyuhyun, Yoo Sae Yoon
[Preview not available at press time.]
Thursday, August 23
Jungle Love ::: MBC, 11:15 PM
Host - Lee Jong Hyuk (narration only)
Are you a fan of the 'Laws of the Jungle' series? How about matchmaking programs like 'We Got Married'? Then this show will be the perfect fit for you. 'Jungle Love' is about six men and four women who travel to an uninhabited island and decide the perfect match for each other. Of course, there are winners - then there are losers. Survival in the wilderness, and finding true love - this show's got it all!
Friday, August 24
GO Show ::: SBS, 11:05 PM
Hosts – Go Hyun Jung, Jung Hyung Don, Yoon Jong Shin, Kim Young Chul
Say hello to F.T.Island's Hongki, veteran singer Lim Jae Bum, and soulful balladist Bobby Kim! Lim Jae Bum has a hidden variety talent? Hongki gets angry - but over what, and why? And don't miss their amazing performances that truly confirm their talent in music. All this and more on 'GO Show'!
Saturday, August 25
Infinity Challenge ::: MBC, 4:00 PM
Hosts – Yoo Jae Suk, Park Myung Soo, HaHa, Noh Hong Chul, Jung Jun Ha, Jung Hyung Don, Gil
Haha's getting married, and 'Muhan News' sets out to deliver the breaking details! Find out the true story and never-before-told tales, as well as hilarious anecdotes and jealousy from the singles, about his recent hookup with singer Byul. Also, it's the start of an adventure as the cast members compete with each other to win a trip to the fabulous paradise of Hawaii! Who'll get to visit the fabled island, and who'll be left behind? All will be revealed on this week's 'Infinity Challenge'!
Sunday, August 26
Running Man ::: SBS, 6:00 PM
Hosts – Yoo Jae Suk, Ji Suk Jin, HaHa, Lee Kwang Soo, Song Ji Hyo, Kim Jong Kook, Gary
Lee Kwang Soo finally gets his time in the spotlight, alongside special guest Gong Hyo Jin! Tasked with protecting the lovely actress, he is gifted with an unprecedented seven - yes, you read that right, seven - nametags. But will it be enough for the giraffe to escort Gong Hyo Jin to safety? Find out this Sunday! Also featuring MBLAQ's Lee Joon.
Do you have a (currently ongoing) program you'd like to see reviewed? Tell the author via Twitter (@MtnMadman).
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