|USA||2014||60 Min||Adventure . Action . Comedy|
"Riot" features a group of regular players - including John Ross Bowie, Jamie Denbo, Brian Palermo, Jordan Black, Jessica McKenna, Meryl Hathaway and Rob Gleeson - improvising a series of showdowns designed to test mind and body. Throughout the show, the players must think on their feet as they face unpredictable song, dance and sketch challenges, often while navigating the show's trademark one-of-a-kind set, tilted at a 22 degree angle. Each week, special celebrity guest stars also will be featured. Confirmed guest stars include Carell, Jason Alexander ("Seinfeld"), D.L. Hughley ("The Original Kings of Comedy"), Cheryl Hines ("Suburgatory"), Tom Green ("Tom Green Live"), Chris Kattan ("Saturday Night Live"), Mayim Bialik ("The Big Bang Theory"), David Arquette ("Pushing Daisies,"...
The main reason to watch is for its signature gimmick, a set tilted at 22 degrees, where, several times per episode, performers are imprisoned and told to improvise a scene.... There’s no describing how hysterical this is; you have to see it.The New York Times Full Review
Is there anything great here? No. Is it goofy fun? Yes.Newsday Full Review
An expectation of failure is built into the comedy, so that at times the contestants are funny only in the attempt to be funny. At other times, given the circumstances, it may seem miraculous that they can be funny at all.Los Angeles Times Full Review
Segments like “Slide Show” and “A Bunch Of Jerks” (in which performers are attached to harnesses and yanked into the air whenever they break the rules of the game) bring some visual engagement to short-form improv. But the rest of the premiere throws up barriers to engagement, moving too quickly or too confusingly to make the viewer feel like they’re in on the roast McManus is emceeing.The A.V. Club Full Review
Ultimately, improv is always going to be a hit-miss proposition. But despite being inordinately literal about its hits, Riot proves too liberal with its misses.Variety Full Review