It's not as bad as I was expecting. I went for a later episode to see the show at, theoretically, its most refined. American Gladiators was cancelled by this point.
The presenters were awful but I understand that at least that black guy was new. American Gladiators also had an awful presenter in the later years. She was so bad that years later, in syndication, they wouldn't even air episodes from the season she did. They aired all the episodes from before her season (even the weird season 1) and all of the episodes from after her season but not the ones from her season. They were deemed unwatchable.
Anyway, the UK version of Powerball looks to be pretty much the same. Perhaps a smaller playfrield.
The Wall is the same.
Tightrope appears to be a low-budget ripoff of Sky Track. In American Gladiators, they introduced an event in about season 3 where the contestants moved along a velcro track upside down and they had corresponding velcro on their gloves and kneedpads or something. It was popular, although I didn't like it.
The two contestants raised against one gladiator and as long as you beat either the gladiator or the other contestant, you got some points.
But in this Tightrope in the UK version, there are two one-on-on races against the gladiator. It's stupid. Of course the gladiator is going to have a huge advantage. That's the point of the show. The gladiators are larger than the contestants. And aside from that, they have an advantage by being able to practice the events. So they should shut out the contenders every time.
Oddly, in this episode, two of the contestants won.
Whiplash is another event that wasn't in American Gladiators but it's similar to an event that was in an American Gladiators rip off show called Knights and Warriors called Own the Bone. That event caused numerous injuries. Grossly irresponsible event.
At least the object they're struggling for in the UK Gladiators appears to be foam. In Knights and Warriors is was some hard material.
Anyway, it's pretty stupid. And, oddly, each contestant goes against a different gladiator. That's not fair. One can make the argument that if they went against the same gladiator, the second contestant would have an advantage because the gladiator would be winded but just give them a chance to recover.
Joust looks the same.
Hang Tough looks the same. That was an event that I really hated. Boring as shit.
Then we get to the Eliminator. The US version wasn't particularly extravagant. It looked similar in budget to the UK version. Indeed, both shows overall have a very similar look, similar editing (always going to annoying crowd shots and having dumb backstories of the contestants), and similar budget.
But the US version of the Eliminator, any incarnation, isn't quite as low budget as the UK version.
As I said, the eliminator changed every season or so. Perhaps the same is true in the UK version. But starting with this jumping over and under beams is some weak ass shit. In the US, in the classic early seasons of the show, they rolled a giant boulder up an incline. That's way more interesting.
In season two, they changed the boulder to just running up a treadmill. They also use this treadmill in the UK version but later in the event.
Then in season five, they changed to a versaclimber. I don't want to explain what that is.
Anyway, it was just better in the US version. But the UK version improved in one respect: eliminating the handbike for the women. Only real freak women were able to get across the handbike in the US version. So what smart contestants did was try to do the handbike for about 1 second and then give up and take the penalty 7 seconds or whatever in the pit. Then climb up the cargo net.
You'd take way more than 7 seconds trying to get across that handbike as a woman with limited upper body strength. And chances are, you'll never get across. So you just expend all of your energy on this and end up in the pit anyway.
Even in this UK version, where they maintain the handbike for the men, one guy couldn't do it in this episode.
Here's another important difference: in the US version, there audience wasn't comprised of homosexuals being prompted to sing "Another One Bites the Dust" after every event.
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