Recently I was wondering, “Where are all the good Sci-Fi shows?” Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, isn’t there some other Star ____ show to watch? Unfortunately, reality shows seem to dominate the dial. Why take a risk on an expensive fantasy show when it’s cheaper and easier to make shows about karaoke or partying at the Jersey Shore? This is why I’m surprised by Robot Combat League. It has the reality show format, but it feels quite unique.
The basic premise of the show is simple. There are 12 teams, with two people on each team. One person controls the arms of a giant robot, while the other controls the feet. Two teams slug it out with their giant robots. It’s kinda like the “Rockem Sockem Robots” toy meets the “Robot Wars” TV show. The contestants flail around like a kid playing Wii Sports Boxing for the first time. Surprisingly, the giant robots closely mimic the actions of their human counterparts.
That’s what surprised me about this show. SyFy spent some money on this production and it shows. The robots look great! They seem to be designed to match the personalities of the team. The hardware looks quite complex too, with heavy metal and hydraulics. The result is quite violent looking fighting. When a hydraulic line busted open, the fluid leaked all over place like bloody robot murder.
The addition of a $100,000 prize to the winners of the tournament adds to the drama. This is not the biggest prize ever on a TV show, but it shows the risk. In addition to all the other costs of the show, there’s the cost of the 12 robots. This show doesn’t look cheap like a regular reality show. That’s not to knock reality TV. People watch reality shows because of the drama. And often, the drama can be pretty entertaining. That was another surprising twist with Robot Combat League. The first fight was phenomenal. It was a total upset! I was happy to see such an inexperienced team turn things around. Although, considering this is a brand new show in a brand new competition, they’re all inexperienced.
Robot Combat League is a great show. Unlike Ice Road Truckers or Swamp People on the History Channel, Robot Combat League doesn’t feel out-of-place. It’s also a nice change of pace from many of the the other shows on SyFy. After a quick glance at SyFy’s lineup, I see a lot of ghost shows. I haven’t been watching the channel that much, not since the name change and I switched to broadcast TV from cable. If the show wasn’t available online, I might have missed out on the fun.
Even better, Robot Combat League makes science look cool. Some of the contestants are real brainiacs. My concern is the longevity of the show. Sure, the people seem interesting enough, but how long can viewers watch robots smash into each other? Considering that Boxing and Wrestling is still a thing, Robot Combat League might make it past the first season.