September 24, 2008

TV: Opportunity Knocks (ABC, Tuesday 8)

Heartwarming family game show that will surely please fans of such things.

For each episode, the Opportunity Knocks crew rolls into a new town and builds its portable set outside the home of that week's contestant family; the audience for each show is made up of the family's friends and neighbors.

Four family members compete, each being asked a series of four questions about their family members. Which of Sister's friends does Brother have a secret crush on? Which of Dad's 300+ toy cars is his favorite? Which cookie recipe won Mom the family bakeoff championship? There's $25,000 to be won over each series of four questions, and each family member can win a bonus prize customized to his interests -- backstage Jonas Brothers passes for Sis, a '69 Camaro for Dad -- if he gets all four questions right. At the end of the show, the family is given the opportunity to double the money they've won, or to go for broke for a possible grand prize of $250,000.

The show is very good natured, with none of the potentially embarrassing questions that I remember from NBC's similarly-themed Identity, which had a brief run in late 2006; the only potentially embarrassing moment in the first episode was the secret crush question, and even that was handled with surprising grace and delicacy. (Kudos to Ashton Kutcher, who is one of the show's producers; between this show and Beauty and the Geek, he's demonstrated a real knack for presenting potentially awkward premises in charming fashion.)

I don't have a particularly large appetite for heartwarming family entertainment, so I won't be watching Opportunity Knocks on a regular basis. People who enjoy such things, though, should enjoy this very much; I'd imagine, for instance, that fans of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will feel right at home here.

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