Finally trying to be a day back ahead of schedule, I’ve been chasing a little the last few days!
But this is something I’ve wanted to do from the start, and that was talk about the other reason I’m actually watching TV on a Sunday Nights again, and that’s Robot Wars, the second series of the reboot from last Autumn!
Let me get this out of the way right now… It’s a pretty damn good reboot.
The set design, is pretty damn good. Love that they’ve kept the overall industrial setting that the original series had, and a fan of the green strobe lights.
Love the hosts. I just don’t think Craig Charles would have had that same energy he had in the early 2000’s during his original run, a good 15 years later. I’m glad they went with two new folks, and they got Dara O’Briain and Angela Scanlon instead, and they’re both awesome. Charismatic, entertaining, funny and I love the fact they both share the load, compared to the old show where you’d always have the female co-host in the pits with Craig up in the booth. Equality is good. And Angela’s jumpsuits are gold. Jonathan Pearce is back on commentary and he’s his usual, excited, witty self, a great return to form. Also nice to see Dr. Noel Sharkey back too, the absolute ledge.
And whoever told the teams to have a posed entrance at the start of the episode, is gold.
The presentation on TV is great, Series 9’s have improved further compared to Series 8’s, clearer, cleaner, and does a better job of explaining the show to the average viewers. And of course, it’s really nice just to see some fighting robots again, the action so far with the more relaxed rules has been fun. 110kg instead of 100, more powerful flippers and blades… Not totally a good thing, and I’ll explain why later.
Now, I have to be a bit nitpicky here, but this show is held back by a couple things that I think could make it even better.
The House Robots don’t do enough. I liked the new button mechanic in Series 9 of “The Rogue House Robot” getting 10 seconds of free hit time, but even then, they aren’t aggressive enough for me. Getting pushed into a CPZ in the older show could be a death wish sometimes, now, it just doesn’t feel that way. I suspect this problem goes hand in hand with another problem…
…The format. I’m not digging the Round Robin format in Round 2. I get why it’s a thing, you want more bang for your buck because you haven’t got as many entrants as you did the old days (Chris Cook, help me out here, I think it was 96 in the old show, compared to 40 now), but half way through every episode it’s the same talk about having to frantically make repairs in a limited time slot, because now you have to fight five times to make the final, but in a much shorter amount of time. And if you’re the unlucky one that has to fight a top-tier bot right away, like a Carbide, you may be at a disadvantage playing catch up. I think that’s why the House Robots hold back, because if they completely destroy early, there’s no chance they can keep going. Which is rough.
Oh, and they gotta sort the arena out too. It’s not Typhoon 2 anymore. The arena breaking unfairly gave Cherub a win over PP3D in S9E2, and the pit pushing down into the ground had a big impact on the Concussion/Thor fight last week in the Episode 3 Round Robin.
But like I said, I’m nitpicking here. This is a really good reboot. I feel like there’s more of a complete TV show feel to this incarnation, one that can appeal to the kids who like the action, as well as the adults who were either nostalgic, or new viewers, who actually get more emotional investment into the teams now, with backstage shots of them repairing, and pre-made VT’s of the teams building at home. Sure, they’re cheesy, but that’s a huge part of the charm.
Overall, it’s a great reboot, well worth a watch, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of Series 9 plays out. Even if the spinner is becoming overpowered to all hell… just like Hypno Disc was back in the day! Would like to see some more creativity as opposed to spinners and flippers, but hey, they’re effective, and this series so far has proved that!
See you back here tomorrow!
PS: Umm…. This is kinda terrifying from Craig Charles:
That time Robot Wars predicted the Brexit future. pic.twitter.com/Nco6BrcDw1
— Matt Brian (@m4tt) March 14, 2017