I was originally going to publish this article last night after the show had aired but there was such an amount of negativity on Twitter that I decided to sleep on it and publish it with fresh eyes outside of the heat of the moment.
Starting in 2004, for many years The Gadget Show was THE program to watch for news and reviews about consumer Technology and Gadgets. It’s presenting team of Jason Bradbury, Suzi Perry, Jon Bentley, later joined by Ortis Deley and Pollyanna Woodward, had good chemistry, worked well together and were well liked, particularly the original cast.
A mix of enthusiasm, professional reviews and technology based challenges found The Gadget Show respect in the
technology arena and a huge fan base, as seen by the massive attendances at the Gadget Show Live shows. For 16 series the show went from strength to strength with impressive viewing figures during the shows traditional Monday Evening slot, but then the news broke that series was about to undergo a massive over haul, out went the studio based format, and in came an international road trip format. Bigger news followed that Suzi, Jon & Ortis were no longer involved in the show, and it wasn’t by their choice. The Gadget Show Web Page was flooded with complaints but the decision had been made to radically change the shows format, gone was the Gadget Show and in it’s place was The Gadget Show World Tour, and last night the new format aired for the first time but was it a success?
The first thing to say is that this incarnation of the Gadget Show is very different making it difficult to compare with the traditional format, the lack of studio time makes the show feel more like a documentary rather then a magazine show, a trait that is backed up with a challenge that arcs across the whole episode, in this case to build a robot to compete in the Robot Wrestling Championships, of course being set in Japan there are plenty of tech suppliers to help. The addition of a story line is an interesting one, it gives each episode a purpose but sometimes it came across as being a little forced and was definitely a step away from the relaxed studio atmosphere.
@zoeghdie on Twitter: A bit annoyed at how overly dramatised @thegadgetshow has become! Hmmm… or is it only me?
In between robot building were features on different technology elements, starting tonight with a review if 3D camcorders, fantastic I thought a return to the shows routes but unfortunately there was a twist, the camcorders were to be used to film Poly dressed up as a Manga character complete with up skirt shots. There is no doubt that this will appeal to certain demographics but there is a real danger, as the following Tweets show, that distracting away from the Tech will cheapen the meaningfulness of the review.
@Darrin1066 on Twitter: @TheGadgetShow up skirt video of Polly! What’s that all about, I want to know the best gadgets to buy. Not soft porn and robots!
@richiemortuk on Twitter: Hmmn, dressing @GadgetPolly in skimpy clothes, and getting her to dance whilst filming up her skirt and #thegadgetshow is dead
Another change in shows visual style was the introduction of interview style sections to camera, with each each presenter providing a personal insight into why decisions were made for the task and also their thoughts on the trip as a whole, creating a video diary. Polly and Jason were answering questions from an interviewer but the original questions were edited out making the scene looking a little odd.
@LawTechGadget on Twitter: @thegadgetshow Why did you change the format? @suziperry & ors made it the show it is today. The diary thing is v strange.#thegadgetshow
One opportunity provided in the new format is that presenting the entire episode from a single country allows you to
look at the culture of the country, and this was covered by Polly and Jason exploring a sensational 3D Holographic Japanese pop sensation using the impressive HatsuneMiku voice synthesis software and looking at the worlds most advanced walking robot. This could potentially become a fascinating aspect to the show allowing us to see how different cultures interact with technology in different ways.
But is the show a step in the right direction, or is our beloved Gadget Show a thing of the past? The previous show was so popular that any change in format was going to be difficult to get over with the shows fan base, I don’t think that there’s an argument to say that the show didn’t need a slight re-fresh but this complete over hall might be a step to far. Did the show deserve the massive backlash it got last night, obviously not as it show certainly had its entertaining moments, but there is no doubt that the show desperately missed it’s regular presenting team, and the on-screen chemistry that they had built over the years. There is also some question as to why Pollyanna was chosen as a presenter when she possibly had built the least creditability with the audience, had this been an interim show to cover the space in between series then it would have been received in a much more positive manner but as the main gadget show output it no longer ticks some of the boxes that it used to.
Whilst the majority of Twitter expressed a negative reaction to The Gadget Show World Tour, it did get some positive feedback so I’ll leave you with some more thoughts from Twitter, showing examples of the good, the bad & the ugly
@scottgroovez on Twitter: @TheGadgetShow Oh I shall; missing the banter between the presenters. Look forward to seeing what’s next!@VickyGough1 On Twitter: #thegadgetshow – love love love it.
@fluffyheadorca on Twitter: I won’t be watching @TheGadgetShow until they bring back @OrtisDeley @suziperry @jonbentley90 RT if you agree #showruined #thegadgetshow
@Weezykid On Twitter: I actually prefer the new #thegadgetshow format so far. Not sure about the interview bits but glad its tech centric @TheGadgetShow
@Viva_Vialli on twitter: Very disappointed with #thegadgetshow not the same without the full crew. @JasonBradbury is still “The man” but the gold digger???!!!
@AnnaPhylaxis on Twitter: Very much enjoyed #thegadgetshow tonight. I can say that cos I didn’t make it. Fascinating technology & tech culture.
Update on Viewing Figures
See here for an update on The Gadget Show World Tour Viewing Figures
About the Author
This has been a post by Phil Lane, a self confessed Gadget Addict. To read all his Blog Posts Click Here.
You can follow Phil on Twitter at @GadgetPhil
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