I love game shows. Game shows morphed into reality shows, and I watch some of them when there’s a game underneath (Survivor), and I was happy to hear that American Gladiators is coming back. But until it does, I stumbled upon something on G4 — yeah, I know! — that totally made me happy: Ninja Warrior.
It’s a Japanese import of 100 people trying to tackle four stages of a brutal obstacle course — and it’s mesmerizing. They change the course between seasons, and G4 is running different seasons of the show out of order so it’s tough to follow along, but some of the obstacles are completely insane. Just seeing people get past them is entertaining, and you wind up rooting for everybody you watch.
So do the competitors. There’s no backstabbing, there’s no “take this guy out” dynamic, and there’s no one ultimate winner — everybody wants to get past the challenges, but nobody talks trash and nobody blames anyone but themselves for when they cannot meet the goal — and almost nobody has. In 10 years on the air in Japan, only two people have ever beaten the challenges. It’s like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire for people with upper-body strength.
Grab some of the episodes of the video podcast then go set TiVo. You’ll wanna see this.