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!

 

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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!

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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.

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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 Bray
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
Josh Bray

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