NHL 36 Suffers in Comparison to 24/7

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.

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About stevelepore
Steve Lepore is the Managing Editor of Puck the Media. His work has been featured in The Hockey News. Feel free to contact him at stevemlepore@gmail.com

9 Responses to NHL 36 Suffers in Comparison to 24/7

  1. Thanatos says:

    Here’s something to think about: Maybe the day-to-day life of an NHL Super Star really isn’t as interesting as you hoped it was?

    • Ryan says:

      I’d agree with that in a heartbeat, but then I’d question why anyone would think it would make a good TV show in the first place.

  2. Dejordy says:

    There just wasn’t much to it; you’re right.

  3. Sasha says:

    Completely agree–the show fell flat fell, and wasn’t helped by the fact the far and away superior 24/7 was on three hours after it ended. I wish we had interviews from Kane’s teammates and coaches. It was totally Kane-centric (which, of course, it should be, but there was a way of doing it correctly that they missed). It seemed ever-so orchestrated. Also, why no glimpse into his apartment? It would seem a sizable portion of the 36 hours would have been spent there.

    The Bell-sponsored series on the Habs last year did it best. Sure, most of the content isn’t terribly objective or hard-hitting, but the “Nos Canadiens” series managed to squeeze more out of 24 hours than Versus did in 36.

  4. Honestly, is anyone’s 36 hours actually interesting enough for a TV show unless you’re smack dab in the middle of a war zone…then again that’s mostly hours and hours of boredom interspersed with minutes of sheer terror. Sort of like watching the Minnesota Mild play.

  5. Sean says:

    I think if they made it like recapping the game of the week like NFL films does in which they break it down then get studio analyst breakdown followed by finishing off the game in review. So mic conversation, NHL films music, narrator, game breakdown, and player/coach interviews/narration. That would be better than following someone. I gave the show a b n see how this could go in a different direction.

  6. Arthur says:

    What a shocker….a frustrated blogger, who in his wildest dreams couldn’t get the same access to a player and his personal life, throws darts at the people who do get it and try to bring the average fan inside the life of an NHL superstar.
    Of course it wasn’t 24/7 but it brought the average fan a little bit closer to the action. Nothing wrong with that. You don’t see a whole lot of that stuff in MLB or NBA do you?

    • stevelepore says:

      Just because I don’t have similar access doesn’t mean I can’t critique it as a television show? So everyone that has access to and films an NHL player immediately gets an A?

      I watch 24/7, 36, shows like that, as a fan of television, not hockey.

      • Arthur says:

        Did I give them an A? No I did not.
        With your vast experience in sports television in hand, it is easy to see why you can sit back and critique the work of others.
        What you should have brought up in your critique is how much these players change their personalities when they have cameras on them all the time or are mic’d for a game. They become someone else, more reserved and private. Does that make for good tv? Usually not.
        However, bringing the lowest common denominator fan closer to his favorite player can only be a good thing. I’m sure Joe Average Fan in Chicago enjoyed the show. It’s a shame that it didn’t live up to your exalted expectations.

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