My Thoughts on Jeopardy GOAT

Perhaps I am jumping the gun, but I do have a couple thoughts about the Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time tournament that made its debut last night. As an avid Jeopardy fan who has written about the show too many times to count, it feels like I have an obligation to speak up.

The Jeopardy Greatest of All Time tournament is a pretty cool concept.

But first, a very quick rundown on how Jeopardy GOAT is organized. Three of the most prolific champions in the show’s history––James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter––are battling it out for the title of Greatest Ever and a $1M prize. The brainiacs are playing nightly 1-hour matches that consist of two jeopardy games played back-to-back. The scores from both games are combined and the person with the highest value wins that match. Here is the kicker, there won’t be a champion until a contestant wins THREE matches. That means Jeopardy GOAT could run for SEVEN nights assuming that James, Ken, and Brad each win two matches. That’s a lot of Jeopardy!

Before I elaborate on the structure, let me give credit to Jeopardy on where they got it right. I think they nailed it with the contestants they chose. I am sure they have competition performance numbers to back it up, but just from a fan’s subjective opinion, you can’t get more iconic than James, Ken, and Brad. They have separated themselves from all other Jeopardy players and have earned spots on this grand, primetime stage.

Now, let’s get to the structure. After last year’s Jeopardy All-Stars tournament focused too much on fluff and not enough on game play, I was hoping that the show producers would make adjustments for this year’s special tourney. Well, they did. However, they overcompensated.

As much as I hate to say it, I was fatigued at the end of Tuesday’s show…and that was just the first night! Watching back-to-back Jeopardy games is a bit exhausting on the brain, especially when you are trying to keep up with the three best players of all time. I am accustomed to watching a regular Jeopardy episode on DVR, a 20-minute time investment (fast forward through the commercials) that provides me with the perfect amount of intellectual stimulation. But 60 minutes and 122 clues?

In my opinion, one night would have sufficed to crown the Greatest Ever. When I realized that the tournament would go three nights, I thought it was overkill. When I then at the end of the first episode that it would go a MINIMUM of three nights with the possibility of seven nights, I thought it was ridiculous.

With that said, I think the intangibles hit the mark. The set looks good, the accelerated theme song is a nice touch, and the three contestants––although competitors––have excellent chemistry with each other. And, of course, Alex is Alex.

I am going to try to watch the remaining episodes but I can’t commit to it, at least not when it originally airs. I am totally in the corner of Ken Jennings when it comes to who I want to win and I was delighted to see him take the first match last night. For those of us who think this series is being drawn out too much, let’s hope he wins the next two nights as well. Don’t Blink.

Past Jeopardy Blog Posts:
The End of James Holzhauer’s Run
Keeping Score
My Opinion on Jeopardy Champion Austin Rogers
My Misguided Jeopardy Judging
The Five Things I Hate About Jeopardy
My Disdain for the Current Jeopardy Champion