"SportsDome," one of the Onion's two current forays in the television world, took a stab at lampooning the already self-degrading ESPN staple that is SportsCenter last night, when it premiered on Comedy Central at 10:30 p.m. Eastern.
"The Dome," as it's referred to by satirical anchors Mark Shepard and Alex Reiser, is a lot of things, but fails to translate quite the same way as the print or online versions do. While it's not true of all of the segments, some of the jokes seem to be stretched just beyond the headline.
From NY Times TV Critic Mike Hale:
Some of these segments are quite amusing, but they're rarely more amusing than they would have been if published in The Onion (the newspaper or the Web site). You get the sense that the writers are running the asylum. For the most part, the transition to television consists of little more than actors, and the occasional sports celebrity, reciting Onion jokes.
NPR Critic Linda Holmes got much of the same feeling, and points out that the problem is unavoidable. While a print version can thrive on headlines alone, "SportsDome" forces viewers to continue with a joke, even if the punchline came in the first 30 seconds.
However, when they get it right, they get it right. One segment of the show which has been lauded, at least by the NY Times, is a particularly fun yet gruesome spot called "Who Would You Kill?"
The likely recurring segment takes on issues, players, and teams in a "Kill Down" (much like Colbert's "Threat Down"), where analysts pick and describe who they would kill and who they'd do it. It might not be in the best taste at the moment, It's just over the top enough to stay hilarious, and rips out a few rip-fire jokes that don't have enough time to get old.
It's hard to rip on a show that rips on itself so much, but the Onion's giving it a shot. Thought the premier was met with mixed reviews, it will be interesting to see how the show progresses, and if any classics come out of it's first 10 episode run.
WATCH: A clip from the premiere