007: Road To…

Happy New Year all! I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday and wish you all a prosperous new year. Now that the pleasantries have been exchanged it’s time to get down to business.

 

Recently EON Productions/Amazon/MGM’s latest project premiered, namely the 007 themed “reality” show:

007: Road to…

(This gag will never get old!)

So what are we to make of this project? This cash grab from Amazon, so eager to exploit their newly acquired intellectual property, yet unable to fully do so because of Madame Broccoli’s reluctance to move forward with the series.

“Ew gross!”

As we see in this interview from The Express Michael G.asslight Wilson’s son Gregg, lives up to his father’s penchant for exaggeration and flat out fibbery:

He states on the point above; “I’m very much just one voice in a room of many thrashing this out. Amazon is very involved too and MGM too.”

I’d say Amazon and MGM were solely involved, but more on that in a moment, first Gregg had all this to say:

“On the films, I’m extremely hands-on and I’m involved at all stages from development up until beyond release. But on this project, because we’re not the actual production making it (72 Films is), I’m more involved in development, the casting and setting everything up. But I’m not on set when they’re shooting it, that would probably be the major difference. And also the way that this was shot, they had a very small nimble crew, so it’s only really a dozen people following around these contestants sometimes.”

Hmm, interesting, but what are we to make of this?:

“Barbara wanted to be involved in all the important stages, particularly the casting was really important to her. Dad and Barbara both approved [the final contestants having watched] the videos of all the potential candidates, whittled down, gave our notes on who we thought was good, who we thought was maybe not. And also approving all the major locations and that kind of stuff.”

A very interesting statement indeed as we’ll soon see!

Per this interview with The Guardian we’re told:

“When asked if there might be other Bond TV spin-offs, she said: “Our focus is making the feature films. When we get going on a Bond movie it takes our full attention for three or four years so that’s our focus.”

Apparently they’ve lost that focus as they found time to work on this and it has been zilch on the future of the franchise these 2+ years since Danny’s swan song as Bond.

“We make the Bond movies for the big theatrical screen and everything about the Bond movies is for audiences to see around the world on that format, so we’ve not wanted to do television.”

Is that so? Yet some how this project was so special? Did no one ever float the idea of an Amazing Race knock-off to EON? It really took 20+ years of “reality based competition” programing before somebody got the bright idea to sprinkle in some Bond?

They continue:

“…the new Bond-themed Amazon series, 007 Road to a Million, (is) a nice fun thing to be doing in the meantime” and would hopefully help fill fans’ hunger for the famous franchise.”

Well apparently this is all we’ll be getting for awhile.

So Bond!

 

Then there’s poor old Brian Cox who apparently thought he was being tapped for an actual Bond film:

“When Brian Cox joined the new reality competition series 007: Road to a Million, he admitted that he thought he signed up for something a little different. I said, ‘Oh, finally they’re getting me in a James Bond movie,” he continued. “I thought, ‘Yes, of course!”

Now I’m no fool, Cox said that on one of the nightly chat shows, so I’m sure he was joking… Except Babz Broccoli had this to say in response:

“I’m not quite sure if that’s true,” she says with a smile. “I think he was joking a little bit.”

“not quite sure?” You “think he was joking a little bit?” Maybe Brian didn’t truly believe he was being cast in a Bond film, but I wonder if Ms. Broccoli doesn’t think he did! At any rate if I were Mr. Cox I’d fire my agent immediately!

 

So what of the quality of the program? Does it live up to the hype Baby Wilson et.al. lavished upon it? Or is it just so much glitter amongst the chicken feed?

Here’s a review from a site called Reality Blurred:

“Amazon Studios spent $8.45 billion to buy MGM, which includes the James Bond film franchise. Their first project using that IP is 007: Road To A Million, a reality TV competition. Given a character with a 70-year history, 27 films, and an epic cinematic sandbox to play in, they’ve produced the world’s most excruciatingly boring game show.”

Ouch!

“To take the fantasy of James Bond and drain it of absolutely everything except spectacular locations and musical cues is a bizarre, brave choice.”

I hate to break it to you old boy but they’ve been doing that since 2006!

Referring to the groups of contestants and the game play; “Their questions are different, and they’re in their own universe, never interacting with the other teams. Locating the briefcase and answering its question gets slightly more challenging as time goes on, but these are challenges for children.”

Concerning the plot and pacing; “It took me several days to finish episode two, and I gave up during episode three. There are eight hour-long episodes; I did jump ahead to the final moments of the final episode, and let’s just say I found it infuriating even though I had not spent six more hours watching.”

He adds; “Also invisible: any sense of the thrill and tension of James Bond. There’s no urgency, except when there’s suddenly a clock.” And, “I started to wonder if 007: Road to a Million is actually genre-bending so much that it defied expectations, short-circuiting my brain’s neural pathways.”

There’s good reason for that friend, I’ve been building up to it, but I’m going to let you stew a bit more first!

 

Ok, that was some random blog, what do the “legitimate” reviewers think? Well just to show you I’m not “nut-picking” here are EON apologists The Guardian again:

“This desperate Bond-themed reality show is shoddy, boring and soulless – and the onetime Logan Roy is so hammy you’ll never be able to rewatch his HBO epic again”

WOW! harsh words!

“Not every reality show idea has to be brought to fruition. Not even if it comes with Barbara Broccoli’s blessing and some name-brand recognition.”

Her blessing?! I thought she was wrist deep in the kneading of this dough?

“The tenuously James-Bond-affiliated premise is this: nine couples – friends, married pairs, sisters, brothers, a father and son – have the chance to win £1m each by answering a series of questions. To find the questions, they have to travel round the globe undertaking a series of Bond-lite challenges and – for extra thrills – pull open the ring tab on a smoke canister to find out if their answer was right. Green smoke, advance to the next country and question; red smoke, off home you pop.”

Sounds thrilling and oh so original!

Zzzzzzzz

“It is devoid of style, tension or anything else we might associate positively with his majesty’s longest secretly serving agent – including chivalry. I mean, yes, Bond shades it into sexism on numerous occasions, but to the husband who instantly urges his wife up a crane, into a tarantula cage and inside a crocodile compound instead of doing a damn thing himself, I would say: you can take things too far the other way, you know?”

That’s what I’ve been saying for years, you can go too far into the other direction! Something I’ll be delving into in a future rant!

 

Then there’s this:

“The worst thing is Brian Cox. He punctuates the dreary action in the manner of, according to the press release, “a villainous and cultured” Blofeld-ish figure. He purports to be watching from a giant bank of screens and supposedly “revels in the increasingly difficult journeys and questions the contestants must overcome”.

In fact, it looks far more like the producers have tied a cravat around a ham and offered it a lot of money to sit in a broom cupboard for a couple of days to record a load of voiceovers (“About 60 questions in a low growl, darling, if that’s OK? Then a handful of ‘corrects’ and ‘incorrects’, a couple of baleful criticisms for when they really are as thick as two short planks, and maybe a couple of avuncular bits for coverage?”). There are a few pieces to camera, too, so that the viewers don’t assume they are being held in contempt.”

Hmm, It’s almost as if all of Cox’s scenes in this thing were tacked on last minute?!

 

Ok, well it may not have been well produced and it may not have been the most thrilling game show, but being it was steeped in the world of James Bond was it at least successful?

 

Amazon Prime Video’s ‘007: Road To A Million’ Fails To Break Into List Of Most-Watched Shows In UK

So a Bond themed program couldn’t find success in Great Britain?!

“Barb, the UK’s official TV audience research body, publishes a weekly list of the top 50 highest-rated shows. Its most recent ranking did not feature 007: Road To A Million after its premiere on November 10.”

It couldn’t make top 50?!

“The James Bond game show has a 45% score on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning it has garnered a green splat to indicate its “rotten” status among critics.”

45%! Ouch!

 

Ok, the time has finally come to divulge the detail I have been alluding to all this time, EON claiming to have taken a hands on approach to this project, including casting, the reviews stating it all seemed rather divorced from the Bond themed premise, it all leads to this article:

007: Road to a Million was not originally planned as a Bond spin-off

 

Yes, this whole debacle was already in the can when it was shopped to EON productions!

“Speaking at the launch for 007: Road to a Million, executive producer David Glover explained that the original pilot episode did not contain any Bond elements and was simply “a game show where people have to go on an adventure’.”

“I took it in to Dan Grabiner [Amazon Studios’ Head of Originals for the UK and Northern Europe] and he said, ‘It’s a great show, but it needs another level, it needs something to kind of connect an audience to it.’ And he said, ‘Maybe we should hook up with some kind of IP or something.”

 

Yeah, hey we’ve got this Bond IP burning a hole in our pocket and Broccoli won’t play ball, let’s cram this down her throat!

 

“Dan sent the pilot to Barbara Broccoli, who I think watched it out of politeness, because she’d seen hundreds of these kinds of pilots and never wanted to do one and was expecting to turn it down, but [she] really liked it.”

 

Well she better if she ever wants to work in this town again!

 

“James Bond producer Gregg Wilson added: “We get a lot of not very good proposals, which are often about emulating the character of Bond.”

Ah, yes Gregg, you wouldn’t want your James Bond themed show to emulate Bond in any way! That’s why you make the big bucks, that and the fact your father and auntie own the company.

Of course the article says pilot up there, as in a proof of television concept, but how do you make a reality show pilot without filming the whole damn thing? That and the fact all the “Bond” was obviously tacked on post production and it’s apparent neither Gregg nor Baz nor Mike had anything to do with this program besides giving half hearted promotional interviews and taking credit for things already done before they were ever involved. Hey why do you think it was little Gregg taking point on this rather than the dynamic duo of Babbzy and Michael G.asslight Wilson

 

One last time since “Austin Powers f@&ked them“:

007: Road To…

  10 comments for “007: Road To…

  1. DB, very illuminating. I did not know this show was in the can and then they tacked on the Bond IP. Bezos and Co. must be absolutely pi$$ed that Babz can’t bother to get off the schnide to make a new film. Maybe they’re so incompetent that they can’t figure out a plot device to get around the death of Bond. Eon this one’s for free, just say he escaped the island or do the Bobby Ewing strategy where the Craig years were a dream (nightmare). Well done DB!!

    • Nah, the next film needs to be another reboot or, even better, a direct continuation of the series that ran from 1962-2002. That way, we can think of the whole Craig era the way we think of Never Say Never Again; as a non-canon, parallel version of Bond.

  2. Great rant as usual DirtyBenny, I was looking forward to see you slamming the loads of excrement the great legacy of Ian, Cubby and Harry became. And to think 25 years ago today JamesBond.com launched to promote TWINE – good old days when Bond was Bond and not a killable pathetic loser.

  3. This was fun to read. Also shows the mess of the series. I hope you write more, bro. Other Bond sites have this weird idolatry thing going on for Craig. I’m going to join this forum. Better discussions going on.

    • Hello Bob, thank you for the kind words. Unfortunately (fortunately) I don’t have a Twitter/X account, maybe someone else passing by can help with that.

  4. Belated New Years greetings DB and thanks for all your good work in keeping this site going.
    It’s a remote possibility that Auntie Barbara may be keeping Bond on hold for a few years until all of the ludicrous “culture war” and identity politics BS (hopefully) runs out of steam and dies out. If (sc)Amazon are playing the long game as well, we might even get a decent Bond film eventually, with a REAL James Bond actor. I’m not holding my breath though.
    Incidentally, regarding not-officially-Blofeld’s “delicatessen in stainless steel” line from FYEO, I read somewhere that it’s a reference to defectors from the USSR being set up by the US intelligence services with new identities in small businesses, such as restaurants, bars and delicatessens, as a reward for their services to Uncle Sam. Does sound vaguely plausible…

    • Thank you sir, long time no see, ironically I have a rant in the que on just that subject, called “Lazy Like a Fox!” I’ll dive a bit deeper when I get around to writing, but it is plausible considering the crazy climate Babz, EON, et.al. could be waiting out the storm as it were.

      Interesting take on the “stainless steel” line.

  5. If they included Daniel Craig in the reality show, for example as an announcer, it would be a massive hit.

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