The State of TV (or the return of American Gladiators)

Granted, I don’t watch a whole lot of non-Sports related television anymore, but the writers strike is going to really damage television as we know it.  Without the ability to produce new episodes of the standard dramas and sitcoms, the networks are resorting to filling the schedule with new reality tv shows.  The sad thing is, even these they are managing to do poorly.

Sunday night on NBC saw the return of American Gladiators.  Originally run as a syndicated show from 1989-96, it has been “revived” for prime time viewing.  The basic premise is that two contenders compete against each other in a series of challenges that test physical strength and stamina.  Complicating this competition, is each event has “Gladiators” that they must face.  These gladiators are basically pro or amateur bodybuilders (or in the case of the men ex-football players).

Out of morbid curiosity, I watched Sunday’s special two-hour premier.  Having watched some of the original run, I was curious to see how it would be updated for the 21st Century.  In probably a good move by the producers, not much had changed.  There was perhaps more safety equipment, but the basic format and challenges hadn’t changed much.  What was sad, is that the production seemed to me to be worse in this new version.  At least in the first episode of the night, the editing seemed to be pretty shoddy and rushed.  Plus one contestant and one gladiator were injured.  Not a good way to start off a new show.  The second episode of the night did seem to improve a little in the editing department, however it still seems a bit rushed.  The transitions between show and commercials could also be improved.

I will not be watching tonights episode (in its normally scheduled time).  If the writers strike carries on much longer, I feel that it will definitely be a major blow to the networks.  Will even the people that like reality tv finally get sick of it all?  I know I am, and I barely watch tv as it is.  What will I watch tonight (Besides the BCS Championship Game)?  The Daily Show and Colbert Report’s return to the air without writers.

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