February 25, 2001
7:25 PM   Subscribe

At first I found Junkyard Wars (imported) and thought it was the funniest show on TV. Then I found Iron Chef (also imported) and it was even better. I got hooked. Now I've found BattleBots (homegrown! Buy American!), and I have to wonder if TV has any more pleasant surprises for me. As long as I stay away from the big networks I seem to do fine.
posted by Steven Den Beste (21 comments total)
By the way, they're doing a BattleBots marathon tonight on Comedy Central; it will run until 9 PM PST. Tune in!
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:30 PM on February 25, 2001

Agreed on all counts, although I haven't gotten into Junkyard Wars or BattleBots the way I got into Iron Chef. I will put in a blatant plug and say that TiVo did help me find these shows through suggestions.
posted by hijinx at 7:32 PM on February 25, 2001

Seven words. Sheep in the Big City. Cartoon Network.
posted by Mr. skullhead at 7:38 PM on February 25, 2001

What makes Junkyard Wars and BattleBots nice is that the participants aren't on the show for greed (to win a million dollars, etc.). They are there because of their hobbies and interest in having fun. BattleBots would be better, though, if it toned down its WWF style of presentation. The content of the show doesn't need or benefit from the artificial hype.
posted by fleener at 8:08 PM on February 25, 2001

I'm pretty sure BattleBots is a riff on a British "battling robots" show called Robot Wars, but I could be wrong -- judging from the website, they've got plans for a US Robot Wars, though I'm thinking it'll be the Dating Story to BattleBot's Blind Date.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 8:27 PM on February 25, 2001

Though they are completely different in character from Battlebots, Junkyard Wars and Iron Chef, two shows that I've enjoyed in the last few months (that have recently been translated into less-than-good amercian copies) are both BBC productions... Changing Rooms where two couples swap keys and, with the help of a professional designer, redo a room in each other's homes; and Ground Force where the homeowners are away for 2 days, and the Ground Force team completely remakes their gardens.

Both of these programs are available on BBC-America, along with the original of another wildly successful copycat.
posted by crunchland at 8:37 PM on February 25, 2001

So what do americans think of Charlie Dimmock, hmm? You know, the female person who does the fountains and stuff in Ground Force. She's a sex symbol over here. And...uh...my Dad used to drive her to school. Apparently.
posted by davidgentle at 8:48 PM on February 25, 2001

Charlie DimmockWell, I don't think that she's not a typical American sex-object, that's for sure. I think she has a great smile & beautiful hair -- I think she's very nice, in an earth-goddess sort of way, but I don't think I'd ever see her as a sex symbol.

My wife doesn't care much for the show, but did comment that she thinks Charlie needs to start wearing a brassiere. (I might add that she also thinks BBC should lose Alan Titchmarsh, and make Tommy Walsh the star.)
posted by crunchland at 9:54 PM on February 25, 2001

At least Antiques Roadshow is legitimate; the American version is licensed from the BBC. The American version of Changing Rooms is a bald-faced ripoff. (I guess the gardening show is too, but I didn't even know there was an American version of that.)
posted by aaron at 12:17 AM on February 26, 2001

Carol SmillieAnd I was under the impression it was Carol Smillie who was the big-time sex symbol over there. She certainly has a luscious accent.
posted by aaron at 12:28 AM on February 26, 2001

red dwarf!
posted by corpse at 4:46 AM on February 26, 2001

gack! how could I miss this plug!!
I just finished alot of work on the BattleBots site. plugs are ok in here right? battlebots.com did lots and lots of SVG. adobe paid for the site...good chance of crashing browser/computer. but when it works its not bad.
posted by darkpony at 7:38 AM on February 26, 2001

(darkpony: I applaud their guts--do they think they have an SVG-intensive demographic? I'd like to hear about other SVG sites, if there are any, but not here. Start a thread, anyone?)
posted by rodii at 8:03 AM on February 26, 2001

re: iron chef
iron chef would be more appealing if i was a carnivore.
although the mushroom 'burger' was inspiring! yum!
posted by senkai at 8:51 AM on February 26, 2001

senkai, I am a carnivore, but whenever I watch Iron Chef their theme ingredient is always something like "eel brains", or something that even I would never eat.
posted by jpoulos at 9:20 AM on February 26, 2001

Another instance of "guilty pleasure" TV this past weekend was something called "Getaway," which featured stunt drivers against real cops in chases, usually involving about 6 miles in 6 minutes. The stunt drivers have to reach a "getaway zone" before being caught by the cops. The cop with the best record wins a trip to Vegas.

Apparently inspired by the "reality tv" of watchin real life car chases.

Sorry, but I can't seem to find a web reference to it.

posted by fpatrick at 10:57 AM on February 26, 2001

jpoulous, but isn't fish supposed to be 'brain' food? ^.^
posted by senkai at 11:31 AM on February 26, 2001

Ah! Ever since I moved from home to attend college, I've been without DSS. I'm down to 4 stations and really bad FOX reception. I'm missing sooo much! Ah!
posted by ewwgene at 1:16 PM on February 26, 2001

Yeah, Battlebots is a buy-in of the Robot Wars format. Though I'm still missing Pippy Forrester in the Brit version. Steven: I think you'd be interested in the deep background to the Robot Wars/Scrapheap Challenge format: the 80s glory that was The Great Egg Race, complete viff Heinz Wolff, zee mad zientizt. Boffin-tastic.

(And I wonder if you could export Time Team to the US...)

And I've been watching Iron Chef, as well. (I love the overdramatic reiteration of every point.) Looks like the Japanese may have beaten Bazal Productions to the gun when it comes to combining cookery and game shows...
posted by holgate at 3:42 PM on February 26, 2001

I don't want to start a cultural war, but I guess it's not surprising that the Brits find Charlie on GROUND FORCE to be a hottie, given the competition, as depicted in the the gallery on this site.
posted by crunchland at 5:33 PM on February 26, 2001

What I love best about Battlebots is the fact that a bunch of guys hanging out in their garage can make a robot and enter it. Hell, my brother in law has made one with two of his friends, and his robot will be ready to go in the next Battlebots. I guess I might as well point out the link to the exclusive Quicktime Movie (5m 34s, 14M) they made of the demonstration.
posted by norm at 9:31 PM on February 26, 2001

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