Sunday, 18 January 2009
Total Wipeout is the show that you wish the new Gladiators was... except for the fact there are no Gladiators in it. I should probably clear that up. The show (Saturday nights on BBC 1) involves 20 competitors being whittled down to one through a series of assault courses and challenges which in some way are similar to those on Gladiators (In particular the Eliminator).
Total Wipeout doesn't have any of the pretensions of Gladiators. Instead of having the commentator talking about how tough the challenges are and trying to sell the fact that this is a true battle between athletes you get Richard Hammond snidely taking the piss as people get absolutely battered... It's brilliant. Where Gladiators has referees and places safety at a paramount the challenges on this show seem set-up to hurt people. Where Gladiators has challenges that are tough but definitely do-able this has people attempting things that appear to be literally impossible (and getting hurt in the process). Where the contestants on Gladiators are finely tuned athletes they appear to let anyone on Total Wipeout.
The creators have basically taken all the elements that have made Japanese game shows like Takeshi's Castle such a hit and given them a more workable and Western structure. Now all we need to do is find a way to include muscle bound roid freaks chasing the pensioners and hairdressers as they attempt the courses.