Monday, January 07, 2008

American Gladiators Returns

I cannot adequately put into words how pumped I was to find out that American Gladiators was making a comeback. In fact, when I hit play on my Tivo to watch it last night, I let out a squeal of excitement (a tough, manly squeal, of course).

American Gladiators is a show that started in the late 80's and ran through '96. the show featured contestants coming to compete against a series of Gladiators featured on the show.

In the new version, replacing Mike Adamle and Larry Csonka as hosts are Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali. Replacing Nitro, Gemini, and Ice (among others) are new, bigger, tougher Gladiators. One guy, Justice, is listed as 6'8" 290!

They also have returned the best games from the older show (slightly tweaked) and come up with some new ones as well. Here is an overview.

Returning Games:

Powerball: This may be the most physical, mano-a-mano game that has existed on AG. The contestants have to get balls into barrels at various spots on the floor, but they have Gladiators trying to take them out. The result is hard hits, tackling, and sometimes injuries. The one thing that always bothered me about this game is that there are 3 gladiators going up against 2 contestants. I don't mind the contestants being out numbered so much, but why 3? One contestant is always going to be 2 on 1 when the other is 1 on 1. Doesn't seem fair to me, but it is a fun game to watch.

Joust: Perhaps the most famous game from the older show, contestants stand on a platform acoss from a gladiator on his platform, where they procede to use "jousting sticks" to knock each other off. The new twist: rather than falling onto a padded floor, the loser has about a 12 foot drop into a swimming pool.

Hang Tough: what I always called "the rings" as a kid, the contestant must make it across a series of gymnist style rings before the gladiator gets to him and takes him down. No obvious changes to this game.

The Wall: Rock Climbing, Gladiator Style. Pretty simple really. The contestants get a 7 second head start to climb up a rock climbing wall before the gladiators are let loose to chase them. This always played on my fear of someone chasing me and who was about to get me. The new twist, again, is that when the loser falls, they drop into the water.

The Assault: I lied before. This has to be the most famous older game. The best by far. A constestant has to make his way through a course, hiding behind barriers and finding weopons to use to shoot a target located above a gladiator's head. Oh yeah, and the gladitor is using an air cannon to shoot tennis balls at 100mph at the contestant. If they get hit, they are out. There are some small new twists to this game (newer weapons), but the coolest thing is that when the target gets hit, the gladiator gets flung upward like a catapult (it used to be that smoke would release, yawn).

*It will be interesting to see if they bring back the other classic games like Atlasphere and Human Cannonball.

New Games

Pyramid: This us my favorite new game. The contestants have to climb a padded, stair-stepped pyramid, with a gladiator in their way. The gladitors have the higher position (and usually about 100 lbs of muscle) on the contestant, so it results in some crazy tackles from above and throws off of the pyramid.

Earthquake: There is about an 8 foot in diameter platform in the air that shifts and angles, as a gladiator and a contestant wrestle to knock the other off. The loser falls into the pool.

Gauntlet: Contestants have to run trough a padded hallway of sorts with 4 gladiators at various places with pads, looking to knock the crap out of them.

Hit and Run: Contestants have to run back and forth across a flimsly bridge to get points, all the while, gladiators are hurling 100 lb pendulum bags at them to knock them off.

After competing in these games for points, the leader gets a head start in The Eliminator, a huge obsticle course to determine the winner. Here is what they have to do: On the whistle, contestansts first scale a wall (8 feet or so). From the top, the jump into a pool where they swim 20 feet under water below a row of fire. They swim to the edge, where they climb a 30 foot rope ladder. At the top, they grab onto a barrell like device and roll to the bottom (can you say "So dizzy I want to puke?"). Then, they do the hand bike, followed by a balance beam, then up a pyramid, and down the zip line. Then they go up the "Travelator", which used to be the first part of the Eliminator. It is a referse treadmill angled upward that contestants have to run up. Then they run up some steps and break through a wall of padded bricks.

I honestly think they have made The Eliminator too hard. It is no longer a question of speed and strength (as it used to be), but of simple endurence. Usually contestants are so tired at the end they can hardly finish, and some don't. I have yet to see a close finish, as one person is usually down for the count out of exhaustion. It will be interesting to see if the contestants catch up to The Eliminator, or if they scale it down to make it more competative.

Anyway, you can catch the show on Monday's at 8 EST, 7 Central. If you are watching the new show, let me know. It would be fun to share our favorite moments and gladiators.

Apparently The Gauntlet was a game from the old show, not a new game as listed above. My mistake. As one of the poorer games they play, I guess I just don't remember it from back in the day.


Chip Burkitt said...

So, when can we expect to see you on the show, Nick?

Nick said...

You know, Chip, when I was in my phisical prime and pre-knee problems, I would have loved too. Those days are gone, sadly.

I know that makes me sound like an old geiser, or a has been, saying "When I was younger, boy I woulda...", but oh well. :)

Mark said...

I liked the old version so I was curious. I watched as much as I could but maybe since I've gotten older, I just couldn't get past the incredible "Cheese" factor anymore. Every time Wolf howled, I felt an uncontrollable urge to roll my eyes. It was just like the old show, a strange mixture of Japanese reality game show TV, the movie "The Running Man" and Wrestle Mania. I was hoping they would update it a little more by making it less corny.

Nick said...

I have to concur, Mark. There is definately a cheese factor. Wolf's howeling didnt bother me so much. It was a gimmick, and it was "campy", but I thought it was fine. What made me laugh my head off was the 20 second tribal giberish song and dance by Toa that (I gather) was supposed to intimidate the contestant. Did you catch that?

Honestly, though, so many things are cheesy nowadays that I can look through it in exchange for the action. You think tou'll keep watching?

Mark said...

I'll keep watching, at least until I get to see Helga. :)