For the last few months since I heard about the revival of one of my favorite childhood shows, I was saying how excited I was about last night. The premiere night of American Gladiators came and went and along with it went my excitement.
This was about as disappointing a show as I’ve ever seen.
Where to start…where to start?
Let’s start with presentation: The hosts of the show are Hulk Hogan and Leila Ali. I never had a problem with that, but they don’t really do much of anything. All they do is conduct interviews with the players before and after events. Some voice over is doing the VERY mediocre play-by-play. Remember Mike Adamle hosting and treating it like a real sports competition? Yeah, none of that here.
And what’s with the camera shots? Is it possible to get a shot of Powerball showing the whole rink? Also, is it possible to use the same camera for more than one second? I’m sure SOMEONE in the country had a seizure seeing 7 camera angles in about 5 seconds.
I also don’t think we needed to see the female contender practically breaking her leg over and over. Which reminds me, why didn’t they blow the whistle when she got hurt??? That would have NEVER happened in the original show.
The banter from the gladiators towards the contenders and vice-versa were awesome. I love it. More junk being thrown back and forth is only good for the show. This was something missing from the original AG.
Don’t get me started on the commercials, why are they so damn untimely? Right as they are about to start an event, literally right before the starting whistle they go to commercial. How is that going to keep viewers watching? Again, all that makes me want to do is DVR the show and SKIP commercials. I’m sure that’s something the advertisers want to hear. Here’s a simple solution…play a full event, THEN go to commercial.
As for the events themselves?
I’ll go individually:
Assault: It looks like the field is about a quarter the size of the original. It also seems near impossible to complete. You have to manually load every weapon and even FIND weapons in a sand box. (Double Dare anyone?) These are grown men and women right? Pretty lame.
Joust: Really nothing different here except it’s played over water. I was never a huge joust fan myself, but this event was basically unchanged and that’s a good thing.
Powerball: This event actually LOOKS much better as it is now played inside walls in the form of a hockey rink. It’s very sleek looking and the only rule changes is that it’s now a 60 second event and not 45. Oh and the scoring pods are now 5 times bigger. So instead of really earning points by getting to the pods, you can now just throw them and score from 10 feet away. Not a bad event, but they didn’t improve it at all.
The Wall: Basically unchanged except for the wall is now a few feet higher (but certainly easier). Gladiators are now 7 seconds behind at the start and it’s played over water. Good event because it’s the same.
Hang Tough: Very much smaller than before. They probably eliminated two-thirds of the rings. However, I didn’t think it was so bad. There is very little room for error on either side and it also creates more head-to-head battles but still overall VERY beneficial to the gladiator. Oh and yeah it’s played over water.
Gauntlet: Essentially the same as before with many minor differences. 4 gladiators instead of 5. 30 seconds on the clock. Each gladiator you get passed gets you 2 points. If you beat all 4 gladiators you have to run about 40 feet to reach a goal line worth an additional two points. Fun to watch.
Pyramid: One of my favorite events that has hardly changed at all. Changes are that you have 60 seconds instead of 45, and there is a scoring zone three-quarters of the way up where if you reach that point of the pyramid, you get 5 points. You need to hit the button at the top to get a full 10 however. Still almost impossible for the contender, but fun as hell to watch.
Hit and Run: I’ve never seen this event before, but it was on the UK version. I like the event, but the medicine balls need to be a bit lower to prevent constant crawling by the contender. Better than some events, but not the best.
Earthquake: This is a new event to AG. It essentially replaces the conquer portion of Breakthrough and Conquer. I think there will be some great battles in this event, we just haven’t seen any yet.
The Eliminator: *sigh* I don’t think words can describe how horrible this really is. First off, the rules are the same where the contender in the lead gets a half second head start per point they are ahead and the first one across the finish line wins the show. There are NO gladiators at all. Now in the original show when they took out the gladiators later in the run is when the eliminator started to suck. Does anyone even remember the premise of the show? PUT THE FREAKING GLADIATORS INTO THE ELIMINATOR!!!
But anywho, players go over a wall, then have to swim under fire (you read that right). Yeah that’s safe. Especially that metal bar that’s in front of hit which that female contender slammed into. After a somewhat grueling power swim, you need to go up a 30 foot net while wet. Then you go onto some sort of human spool type thing where you spin around. By the way, there appears to be NO penalty for falling off of this and it appears to be quicker to just run to the next part; which is the dreaded hand bike. By now, most players are starting to reach a point of heavy fatigue and this is not helping. Again, falling off doesn’t seem to take any longer to advance. Now you run up the pyramid and down the famous zip line to the famous treadmill. You know the original AG tried the treadmill at the end for one season and it didn’t go over well because players were EXHAUSTED. That was the case here…oh and their feet were wet. Players can spend MINUTES getting up this thing. After that there are some steps and the finish wall which you just slam into.
The Eliminator is simply too long and too hard (that’s what she said). It’s easily the worst event on the current show.
Not only that, but for both men and women, there will be 6 winners, but only 4 advance to the elimination round. How do they eliminate the other two? Well the 2 worst eliminator times by the winners are automatically kicked off the show. “You win, but you lose, thanks for playing.”
STUPID STUPID STUIPD.
You may be asking yourself “Doesn’t he have anything good to say about the show?” Well no not really. What I do think is good about the show is somewhere above in this post.
I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. Give me your thoughts on the new AG.