Gladiator! Are you ready!?
I promise, no robots were harmed in the filming of BattleBots……. Who am I kidding!? Of course there were robots harmed in the filming of BattleBots, as they’re literally smashed, sliced, torched, tossed around, and demolished for the purpose of our entertainment! Moohaha! And the funny thing is that, showing glee in their destruction is not in-humane of us. Why? Because they’re only robots!
For those who are unfamiliar with BattleBots, or the idea of robots doing battle on TV, here is a brief history lesson. In fact, the genre/concept of duelling robots is not a new thing but has been around for some time, since the mid-90s and was discontinued in the early 00s. However BattleBots was revived in 2015 on ABC (USA), and it is these 2015 – 2016 episodes which have been making their way onto Netflix. Essentially BattleBots is UFC for geeks! Rather than spending years in honing their bodies into chiselled weapons, the boys & girls in BattleBots have spent the past years in building and refining their fighting robots to do their dirty work on their behalf- creating desk sized robots (sometimes coffee table sized) with only two purposes: withstanding some serious pounding, and to give back that same love, in the form of a spinning blade, pincers, flamethrowers etc.
The battles are undertaken in a ‘BattleBox’, a large bulletproof transparent box, lined with obstacles to ensnare and further damage unsuspecting robots. The creators of these fighting bots control their contraptions from a very safe distance outside the box. And their bots do battle for 3 minutes, or until one bot is incapacitated and fails to come too before the end of a standing 10 count.
The show includes short packages featuring the Creators behind the bots, analysis on the effectiveness of each competitor, while most of the show is devoted to the battles. The battle/competition format is by knock-out, starting off with 24 robots, each loser of their bout is eliminated (except for 4 Wildcards),, progressing to the Round of 16, then to the Quarter finals, then to the Semi-finals, then eventually to the Championship round- where the top bot (and its Creator) is crowned and given a giant ‘Nut’ trophy (the nuts & bolts kind of nut, not a giant unshelled peanut).
The season which we watched was BattleBots 2015, hosted by Molly McGrath, Chris Rose and Kenny Florian who commentate on the action, and Alison Haislip is on hand as the sideline reporter to capture jubilant or devastated robot creators, depending if their bot was just smashed to pieces, or if they survived to fight another day.
What I enjoyed the most about the series, wasn’t the on-air action (although it was pretty cool to hear the coming together of two solid metal objects), but it was hearing how excited my wife got from watching gratuitous violence! While we were making our way through the BattleBots series, we were simultaneously watching a few other series on Netflix (a baking show and a sitcom). However when given the option, my wife always elected BattleBots over all other options. Why I found this to be amusing, was that my wife historically isn’t into these types of things i.e. she would never watch a boxing match or a round of UFC, nor was into video games. But now that they weren’t human beings beating each other senseless- it was alright to cheer for blood! Well, at least torn robotic limbs, fried circuit boards, and shredded wheels!
And what was also interesting to see, was to see STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) celebrated, and the boys and girls who possessed it to be assigned Legend status. It’s not often that you have a crowd cheering on an exhibition of ingenuity, smarts and strategy- but here it was!
So if you want to check out a modern day Gladiator battle to the death, check out BattleBots 2015 – 2016 HERE! All it needs is an Emperor figure seated in the crowd, to give the thumbs down, to signify ‘Finish him’ to complete this modern day gladiator scene.