A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that greed and risk-taking are prominent factors in this game show; many times contestants miss out on winning a lot of cash because they wanted even more. At times audience members' cheers seem to pressure participants into risks they're not comfortable with. There are lots of emotional moments when contestants are prompted to discuss plans for their winnings -- and then have to face heartbreak and shock when they walk away empty-handed (or at least with less than they'd hoped for). But sometimes the tables turn, and participants' wise decisions -- and ability to walk away from temptation -- literally pay off.
What's the story?
Hosted by Regis Philbin, MILLION DOLLAR PASSWORD is a revival of the popular game show Password, which originally aired on CBS in the 1960s. While the stakes in the modern-day version are significantly higher than in its parent show (cash prizes now top out at $1 million per game, as opposed to the original's $10,000 grand prize), Million Dollar Password follows the same basic premise: Contestants must get their partners to guess a series of secret passwords by giving them one-word clues. Two teams -- each consisting of a contestant and a celebrity -- battle it out in timed preliminary rounds, after which the contestant with the most points moves on to more challenging tests on his or her way to a possible million.
Is it any good?
This fast-paced word game is great fun for families with grade-schoolers on up. It's entertaining to see how the participants strategize their play and craft their clues, and it takes no time at all before you're shouting your own ideas at the screen. There's also plenty of opportunity for parents and kids to quiz each other with follow-up questions about clues they would have used if they'd been playing.
Though it often employs standard game-show effects like dramatic lighting, high-pressured tension, and greedy contestants, overall there's nothing too iffy about this modern-day remake of an American classic. Ironically, the show is so fun that it may inspire families to turn off the TV and tune into each other by staging their own version of the game in the car or around the dinner table.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the contestants' decisions. What would you do in their place? What would be your strategy going into the game? Would you set your sights on the ultimate cash prize, or would you be satisfied with a smaller amount of money? At what point would you be able to walk away? What would you consider a "successful" venture to be? How does greed affect our decisions? Do you think the contestants were affected by greed? Why or why not?