Ultimate Beastmaster

Introduced and executive produced by Sylvester Stallone, this series is a near copy of Ninja Warrior with a slightly different set of obstacles. Season 1 features 10 one hour episodes for competitors from six countries (US, Korea, Japan, Germany, Brazil and Mexico). Each country has a pair of announcers who narrate and cheer. Seems like a good idea for international distribution, but doesn’t add much to the viewer experience. The season starts with 108 competitors, and the number is whittled down to a final two meeting in episode 10 when the Ultimate Beastmaster champion is named.

The “beast” gimmick is a stretch. The obstacle course is assembled inside a very large dragon-like structure. They tried to name each obstacle after a part of the dragon’s body. For example, the first obstacle is worth 10 points and seems to be just a set of stairs called “jaw breaker” because it is inside the mouth of the dragon. If a contestant falls into the pool of red dyed water that sits under most of the obstacles, the announcers say the competitor feel into the “blood of the beast”. Groan.

I enjoyed the first episode, but the rest are very repetitive, as the obstacles remain the same but with difference contestants. Being able to Netflix binge watch the show is actually a negative, as the sameness of each episode is magnified. It would probably be more fun to watch if you just watched an episode once a week.

If you like Ninja Warrior and can’t get enough, I’d give it a marginal YES, otherwise don’t bother.

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