I was at home in bad last night and Sunday was actually a pretty good TV night, and this is from a guy who usually never watches it with the exception of SportsCenter and a few select shows.
I decided to catch the premiere of American Gladiators on NBC; however, I only watched the second hour (sorry, I had to catch the HBO series, "The Wire", at 9).
Well, the American Gladiators was a show I often watched growing up and sometimes I do catch it on ESPN Classic. The old version featured pumped up men and women playing some physical games, and sometimes overacting to sell the competition, but it was cool and a concept well ahead of it's time. As well, the show had a "campiness" to it, that is if you compare to today's world -- the world was different, the hair was different, you saw the red, white and blue, and the gladiators you knew little about them aside from the fact they could kick your arse.
Ah, I remember the pumped up muscle men and women in shiny spandex who took on average, everyday athletic Americans in competitions like Powerball, Asssualt, and the Eliminator. The Gladiators would whoop on the contenders, and they would throw them around like rag dolls.
Back in the day, the Gladiators were kind cool, and were stars to a certain extent.
Furthermore, they all seemed to be somewhat personable, and the action was the main focus of the show.
The updated version I saw was not too bad last night, but, it seems to lack what made the first show so cult-like in my eyes. First of all, the hosts are Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali, two people who I like, but you already know they were hired to bring viewers to the show.
That's fine; however, I had a big problem with the camera work and the horrible dialogue of the Gladiators, as well as some of the contenders. The old series personalized the Gladiators and made them seem like "bad-asses", the new version fails in that respect. I don't know whether it is because some of them lack stage work, but it came off at times as amateurish. Plus, it seems the women are a lot smaller, and look like everyday gym trainers, which is not a bad thing as in the old show, the women were a lot bigger, perhaps too big for mainstream taste.
I will say, the set looks awesome, and very awe-inspiring.
Furthermore, the Gladiators were in respect, not all that good in their premiere show. In the old days, you knew you were going to have to work to win to in the gamae, in this update, it seemed little too easy with the current crop of Gladiators. Honestly, I want to see more action and physicality, not contrived smack talk or human interest stories.
The old version took itself seriously, like you were watching an actual competition, the new version, well comes off as a glossy reality game (ala Dungeons and Dragons without the dorks), not a competition.
I don't like Hogan as the host, and Ali is like trying to figure out what to do.
Well, it's mindless entertainment, so I can't be too harsh on it and maybe the producers will figure things out, but right now I will not be investing any more time into the show unless the product improves and it becomes a lot more fun to watch.