The final of eight shows in Ten's Pilot Week initiative - DeciderTV.com's Steve Molk reviews BRING BACK...SATURDAY NIGHT.
HOW DID TEN PITCH IT?
Rove McManus is on a mission to bring back Saturday night entertainment. Join his quest to reunite Australia’s greatest acts, bands, and television faces in a generation-bending live television show where young performers will bring back the best of the past, and old-school entertainers will be challenged with reinvention.
WHAT IS IT REALLY?
A Saturday night variety show a la Hey Hey It's Saturday (replete with Hey Hey gag in Rove's opener), with live comedy, music and performance.
WHO IS IN IT AND WHO RESPONSIBLE FOR IT?
Hosted by Rove McManus.
The show is produced by Roving Enterprises.
WAS IT ANY GOOD?
It was the Rove anyone who is old enough to remember Australian Idol and Big Brother on Ten was expecting, and for everyone younger it showed what he's naturally good at - live TV. This was McManus in his natural element... hard to believe it's taken this long to get him back on the box doing what he does so, so well.
Mel Buttle made deft work of a live cross that very early threatened to get hijacked by a local Brisbanite rubber-necking in the background, and Merrick Watts live-crashed a wedding to be the MC they didn't invite - Best Guest Ever - which also proved to be pretty funny. Hilariously dependable work from both Buttle and Watts who are pros in the loosest situations.
They probably didn't need that live cross to the family however that hot dog suit at the end was a helluva payoff.
In fact that the show started with three crosses which always has the potential to upend the entire process gave it a real energy which allowed Rove to shine. It again highlighted that it's him in front of a camera in front of an audience that is where he appears to be most comfortable (and where most people would be happy to see him land).
The gag with Delta Goodrem pretending to work at a hardware store and being directed by Rove in an earpiece was almost FM Brekky radio 101, which used to be Rove Live 101, which was Letterman/Leno/Carson 101. Nothing outrageous but nothing new.
Somewhere in the process the name of the show name changed to simply "Saturday Night" (and it was a smart move - it's much better without the silly "Bring Back..." prefix).
The live crosses were entertaining, Rove was holding court as host in the best way, the interview with Miranda Tapsell was as engaging as ever, it's always good to have live music on TV, and even the slowest moments were glossed over brilliantly. And who doesn't want Judith Lucy, like Tony Martin, to be the voice over artist for everything?!
It's everything we loved about Rove Live packaged and transported through time to 2018 with the right amount of updating to achieve great success.
SHOULD IT GO TO SERIES?
It would be really great if it did. This kind of fun, family-friendly program has real potential to transform Saturday nights for Ten - if they give it the chance.