NHL 36 Suffers in Comparison to 24/7
December 15, 2011 9 Comments
Look, this is going to seem like an unnecessarily harsh headline for the premiere of NHL 36: Patrick Kane on VERSUS last night. Really, it was a nice little show and it looked good. I liked some of the scenes – our star and his father buying Hawks t-shirts, visiting with cops and firemen, his almost scene-by-scene picking on Jonathan Toews, even though Toews was given no chance to respond – and I thought the narration was very good and the cameras on the ice during practice were cool, but otherwise – this felt a little bit slight and rushed, and in the end, I didn’t really learn anything about Patrick Kane, and I’m pretty sure he said fewer words in 30 minutes than I just said in this paragraph.
The format of the show, as I’m sure you know, is straightforward. Cameras and microphones follow around Patrick Kane for 36 hours on a Sunday and Monday preparing for a VERSUS game against the Phoenix Coyotes. The show follows him from awkwardly forced conversation and hangtime with Kane’s dad, to shopping for clothes at a Blackhawks store for reasons that were never made quite clear, to a game between Chicago police and fire that Kane dropped the opening puck at, to the next day’s preparation for the game.
Honestly, there just didn’t seem to be much to Kane’s time under the microscope. A reader commented on Twitter that this show might have been about 10 minutes long if they hadn’t used the slo-mo effect. Some of the stuff in practice was interesting, but you didn’t see nearly the access or the content (read: no cursing, even with bleeps) of 24/7. Therefore, I’m pretty sure we just watched Patrick Kane yell “Hey!” about 15 times in succession during the actual game against the Coyotes.
Choosing Patrick Kane was a good idea on paper, because he’s an bona fide NHL superstar who isn’t currently seeing double from a hit to the head – an increasingly rarer commodity (there’s my controversial material for the day, guys) – and a legitimately popular player. The problem is, the show didn’t seem to find one singular thing that made him interesting and worth chosing for this project, so they just kept kind of floating around to different traits of Kane’s life – his dad, his desire to be a good community guy, his playful rivalry of Toews, even though I don’t think we ever actually hear from #19 – without ever giving us real evidence to show why that’s interesting. I mean, at least show Kane and Toews talking to each other like real human beings.
There’s definitely a show here. Maybe the team at NHL Original Productions just needs to find the right player to make this thing work. How about we follow Sean Avery all day to those dumb modeling shoots he does, or even better, a player on a really bad team – Eric Staal or Rick Nash or Jason Spezza. I’m sure this thing has the potential to go up and down from player to player, but there was certainly a lack of focus and a seemingly forced nature, as if they told Kane and his dad what to talk about – that makes me think that this show needs to find it’s footing before too long, or it won’t be worth the hype. When you saw 24/7 later, it’s as if the wiley vet was showing the youngster how it’s done, which is strange, because the same people behind the former’s first iteration are behind this.