BattleBots Returns for 2015

Josh Bray is here to celebrate the triumphant return of Battlebots to ABC in 2015. How did the first episode fair? Find out more!



BattleBots is back! June 21st marked the tri­umphant re­turn of the de­funct Comedy Central show, now on ABC, that fea­tured hot ro­bot on ro­bot fight­ing may­hem. I do have a soft spot in my heart for the orig­i­nal in­car­na­tion of this show, so I was a tad afraid the move to a ma­jor net­work would make for a wa­tered down prod­uct or some­thing treat­ed with such ridicu­lous­ness that it would be bound to fail. I was ex­cit­ed, but ex­pect­ed to be critical.

So how did the show fair in it’s new ma­jor net­work form?

In a cou­ple words: Very en­ter­tain­ing. But a cou­ple words makes for a bor­ing overview!

BattleBots is host­ed this time around by for­mer cheer­leader turned sports jour­nal­ist and com­men­ta­tor Molly McGrath, who seems to bring a gen­uine en­thu­si­asm to the show. It re­al­ly helps the pro­duc­tion, as an un­in­ter­est­ed host could re­al­ly kill the atmosphere.

Commentating on fights is re­tired MMA fight­er Kenny Florian and sports­cast­er Christopher Rose. Of the two, Kenny ac­tu­al­ly seems to know a bit more about the ins and outs of what is go­ing on with the bouts. Christopher Rose is just adorable at times in his in­no­cent ig­no­rance. They both do a great job on com­men­tat­ing though; every­one pre­sent­ing is giv­ing this show an air of le­git­i­ma­cy but they also don’t take them­selves too se­ri­ous­ly. There is a bit of cheese here and there, but you should re­al­ly ex­pect that from the sub­ject. We are talk­ing about fight­ing ro­bots here!

Razorback VS Icewave

The show it­self will be large­ly fa­mil­iar to view­ers of old­er sea­sons, es­pe­cial­ly with a few of the teams that are re­turn­ing from the shows orig­i­nal in­car­na­tion. There is one big change that does end up stream­lin­ing the whole tour­na­ment, which is the re­moval of weight class­es. Instead of hav­ing sim­i­lar tiered ro­bots fight­ing in their own class­es, all ro­bots con­form to a sin­gle weight class. Something re­al­ly in­ter­est­ing is they are al­low­ing for more than one ro­bot to be con­trolled by a team, mean­ing you see some teams with lit­tle de­coy bots and helpers. The helper bots made for some cool dy­nam­ics so far.

This first sea­son will con­sist of six episodes, with four bouts a show. Twenty four teams are fight­ing for six­teen spots in the ini­tial push, 12 won spots and 4 wild­cards. The line-up is a re­fresh­ing mix of new tal­ent and faces that I fond­ly re­mem­ber from watch­ing the old­er episodes. It’s re­al­ly cool to see not just how some peo­ple have come along in the in­ter­ven­ing years, but what tech­nol­o­gy and de­sign ad­vance­ments the years have brought.

Bite Force VS Warhead

The are­na is damn near the same, fea­tur­ing all the old haz­ards the BattleBots of past pos­sessed. Fights play out the same. This isn’t a reimag­in­ing of BattleBots, this op­er­ates as a con­tin­u­a­tion. It is ac­tu­al­ly pret­ty heart­en­ing to see they are not com­plete­ly dis­avow­ing the orig­i­nal show. They ref­er­ence it a few time, and even have some throw­back clips for re­turn­ing competitors.

All in all, ABC looks to be tak­ing this se­ries se­ri­ous­ly. Enough that the end prod­uct is very en­ter­tain­ing. Maybe I am just a huge nerd, but a cou­ple of the fights in the first episode had me on the edge of my seat. If for some rea­son you were not a fan of the orig­i­nal show or the sim­i­lar show Robot Wars — or if this con­cept just sounds ridicu­lous — there might not be much for you. I still say you should give an episode a chance and see if the hype doesn’t rope you in. BattleBots mix­es com­pe­ti­tion, sci­ence, tech, and gen­er­al geek­ery into a great stew that is hard to not en­joy while consuming.

If you want to learn more about the ro­bots and teams in­volved, the YouTube chan­nel Tested has a cou­ple great videos let­ting you get to know the combatants.

BattleBots airs on ABC on Sundays at 9:00pm EST. Find out more about the new BattleBots at their site.

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Josh has worked in IT for over 15 years. Graduated Broadcasting school in 2012 with a fo­cus on A/V pro­duc­tion. Amateur pho­tog­ra­ph­er with a pas­sion to make things work… by any means nec­es­sary. Editor-in-Chief and do-er of tech things at SuperNerdLand

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