'Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris': Was the first episode of the live show entertaining?

'Best' stars Harris as host and is a variety show that includes everything from audience participation to sketches with celebrity guests like Reese Witherspoon. The program airs on NBC.

Neil Patrick Harris hosts NBC's 'Best Time Ever.'

The NBC program “Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris,” a live variety show, debuted on Sept. 15 on NBC.

Actress Reese Witherspoon served as a guest announcer on the program and the episode included pranks, a song-and-dance number, and audience interaction (including the revelation that Mr. Harris had been popping up during moments of a couple’s life before the show, including their wedding).

The program is based on the British program “Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway,” which has the same format of featuring many different sketches. 

Reviews from critics are somewhat mixed for the first installment of NBC’s new live show. One reviewer wrote that the show was “a spectacular TV coup… [Harris] stole the show.” 

But others found the show a bit too manic or unbelievable. One found that “Harris was energetic and charming… I liked that ‘Best Time Ever’ was big and loud and frenetic and ambitious. I just wish I could have suspended my disbelief for even one segment.” But others found the program a bit too over-the-top, with other reviewers calling it “misguided,” “as perplexing as it was distracting,” and “forced and frantic.” 

The show seems to be suffering the problem of doing too many things in an effort to catch viewers’ attention. NBC no doubt made the program live in an effort to recapture the success of its recent hit “The Sound of Music Live!,” which aired in 2013 and featured country singer Carrie Underwood and “True Blood” actor Stephen Moyer starring in a live version of the show. Ratings for last year’s “Peter Pan Live!,” the network’s follow-up to “Music,” didn’t reach those of “Music” but were still good. In addition, one of its biggest reality competition hits, “The Voice,” airs live episodes for its finale.

It seems like the program being live is one gimmick among many right now for “Best.” Perhaps in the future those behind the program will cut down on the many skits and focus on a few popular bits.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to 'Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris': Was the first episode of the live show entertaining?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today