American Gladiators has returned. No longer banished to ESPN classic, there are new gladiators with new events. Yet, the new version of the show is missing many key elements that made the original so much fun to watch. They are trying to tell us the life story of the competitors, and the Gladiators. They are trying also to make the Gladiators out to be amazing athletes, and all athletes try to be gladiators. They also try to add suspense where none is needed, cutting to commercials when an event is about to begin to try and keep the audience in suspense. The producers are trying to make the show into something that it is not, a reality show.
Reality TV has taken a firm place in the standard diet of any TV watcher, and this is no surprise seeing the enormous success of numerous reality shows. Yet, American Gladiators is not a reality show, it is a game show. There are contestants that are competing for a prize. They need to treat it as such. They don’t need to jazz it up also they can let the competitions stand on their own. The additions of theatrical elements just add a cheesy factor to the show.
The show has potential to be good; here are some suggestions for making this show better:
- Stop getting to know the Gladiators. Every time that Titan opens his mouth and speaks into the microphone is a bad moment for American Gladiators. They come off dumb and cheesy both bad things unless you are trying to get a target market of 10 year olds. They either need to take the gladiators in one of two directions; one make them into comically villainous people, much like pro wrestling, or two make them into mysterious mute characters, that might each have a tag line or special trait. (Much like the Gladiator Wolf, who I am actually okay with in terms of his howling before events. It is cheesy, but in a good funny way and is something that is short and distinctive.)
- Cut out the interviews. The little introduction that is given at the beginning of the show is all the information that we need to know about the competitors. We DO NOT need to be introduced to the family in the crowd, reminded later on about a certain trial the person had to overcome as a child, or to hear an interview before each event, in which the competitor tells us, “I will do my best to win.” Of course they are going to be trying to win the event, why else would someone be on this show? It really does go without saying the motivation the competitors have.
- STOP FORCING US TO LISTEN TO THE HEAD (and only so I assume he is the head) REFEREE ASK IF THE COMPETITORS AND GLADIATOR ARE READY AND WAIT FOR A RESPONSE. This can be resolved easily, and the guy can still say the line. Ask the question quickly and if nobody objects start the event. Also in the eliminator don’t show him tell the two competitors that they will have two whistles, one for the one in the lead and the other for the one starting late. They don’t show all the instructions given between Pro athletes and officials and we still get it, what make you think that all of America will be lost if we don’t see that scene?
- Following the first three points should allow for an additional event, which are really the bread and butter of this show. Keeping the events going keeps people watching the show. The events need some tweaking. Little things like the Barrel role part of the eliminator, the containers being too wide in the Powerball event, the weapons given to the competitors in the Assault game being poorly designed, the course giving to many hiding spots to the competitors, and so on. Also they need to scrap some of the events. The event of crossing the bridge with the huge weights coming across is really dumb, you can duck under the balls. The gauntlet was taken away from the original show for a reason; take it away from this one. Also the artificial surface used in the Powerball event is a law suit waiting to happen. That is an ACL killer; did they get a sweet deal on old NFL Astro Turf?
Making these moves should take care of all the other smaller problems on the show. (Hulk Hogan, Ali’s daughter, and creepy voice over guy) If not talent can always be found.