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original title: American Gladiators
The thing about this show is that you feel for and sympathize with the contestants, and you will unknowingly find yourself hating the gladiators and picturing them as villains.
The hosts of the show themselves are huge, Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali, one a legendary wrestler and the other a female boxer.
Let's hope NBC doesn't cancel American Gladiators after a couple of seasons.
Overall, this is a fun and clean show to watch for the whole family, and is definitely worth a look. I've watched a few, can't say yet whether it's better than the original or not, although America was due for a new version of this and it came at just the right time. There's one BIG black mark against the current version - the way they tease you with the next event and then cut to five minutes of commercials. Hey, this ain't Deal or No Deal (a big problem with that show also). That technique grows old real fast and is a tacky piece of trash the original didn't stoop to. It means we never watch this live, we watch on DVR so we can fast forward through the annoyance.
Announcers - I give a slight nod to the new show. The biggest pitfall here is to go too over the top too often, Hulk does that more than Adamle but the Hulker is also such a great screen presence. Ali does a nice and controlled job.
Contestants - I think I like it better when they didn't focus on the contestants so much (the original). While these competitors look good, there's too many interviews with contestants and family. What are they going to say, I think I'm going to lose?
Gladiators - Certainly looking fit, although I have a soft spot for Siren, Ice, Gold, Zap et al from the old crew. They were very tough but fair, this group is a tad too macho/nasty for me. So I prefer the original, although Crush and Phoenix are great lookers as well as battlers and Helga is a cute twist. I thought Wolf was a little much at the beginning but he's grown on me.
Referee - I don't think anyone can replace Larry Thompson, he was The Man. The new guy (who you'll recognize as the ref in Dodge Ball!!) is okay but no Larry Thompson.
Events - There's something hokey about the Gauntlet, they need to work on the rules or something. In the old one pinning contestants down was illegal, now everyone seems to do it. The Pyramid seems too stacked for the gladiators. The end of the Eliminator (the steep treadmill) is just too damn tough, I want to at least see these folks get to finish the event. I'm also not sure about Snapback, something looks hokey about that event, it looks like the gladiator can pull the contestant back whenever they want. Otherwise the new events are marginally better and presented much better, particularly Assault where the gladiator goes flying, that was a great idea. With all due respect to the contestant-lawyer who claimed she got sick from going into the water so many times, I'm sure the studio's lawyers (and doctors) are happier about these folks falling 15 feet into water than onto a wrestling mat.
Conclusion - A close call but for the commercial tease, where they can hopefully grow up and clean up. The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. It is assumed that no one who is diligently avoiding spoilers will be visiting this page in the first place.
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