Initial Reaction to ABC Battlebots (2015) Episode 1

Holy Crap.

Battlebots has returned this year on ABC and it’s as ridiculous and amazing as it was more than ten years ago on Comedy Central.  To begin with, I want to say I felt like my ten year old self again while watching this first episode.  The hype, the out-of-place suave commentators, the flashy stage, and the killer robots threw me back to my parents’ couch years ago.  It was fun, stupid, and most importantly, robots fought each other for the glorious nut!

First, few things I was disappointed about before I gushed about everything else.

-No original theme?  That makes me sad.  The original Battlebots referee Mark Beiro was also not there but considering his long and great career, I’m totally fine with that.

-They didn’t say “The box is locked, the lights are on, it’s robot fighting time!”  Come on!  That was basically their slogan!

-As mentioned before the main three commentators seem out of place but given the nature of Battlebots history, that’s typical.  At least they’re not as annoying as the original ones!

Okay!  Onto the good stuff!

This season of Battlebots (season 6) has made some good choices in order to both highlight the builders and televise the battles.  Instead of a huge assortment of robots we get just 24 robots in one weight class.  This cuts down the shallow coverage of the robots and gives us a more in-depth look into each of them.  This is great!  We learn why we should care for each of the robots, it makes us root for them more, and it gives us the opportunity to connect to them and remember them better.

Some people complain about the coverage on the builders but that’s typical Battlebots!  They love to focus on the builders!  It humanizes them!  It gets the audience to know them better and why we should root for them!  It also shows how anyone can build robots and compete in the tournament!  It’s pretty funny too when you get this juxtaposition of these cool, suave announcers interviewing the dorky and sometimes rigid builders.

At first I thought when they were focusing on the builders they were only showing the winners of each battle.  Thankfully, I was wrong with that as evidence by the Warhead vs. Biteforce battle.  Good!  I don’t want things to become predictive!

Okay, now onto the battles!

First off, Razorback vs. Icewave.  Nice, good battle to start on!  Razorback is interesting; I never have seen a Battlebot design like that before.  What were they trying to accomplish there?  Anyway, Icewave was definitely the highlight for this battle.  I liked the builder, Marc DeVidts, he reminds me of me a little.  He saw Battlebots around my age and wanted to build his own Battlebot because of which.  That’s awesome.  Icewave actually reminded me of the former Middleweight Champion, Hazard thanks to its spinning blade.  Icewave was just tearing apart Razorback and it was greeeeeat.  I look forward to Icewave’s next battle!

Next, Wrecks vs. Plan X.  Anyone recall the Middleweight T-Wrecks here?  Hm, maybe me.  Regardless, Wrecks is nothing like T-Wrecks.  God, this robot is so funky!  I freaking love this guy!  Team Captain Micah “Chewy” Leibowitz explained that he came up with this robot after waking up from a dream and I can tell!  Then there’s Plan X which is also freaky thanks to its glowing brain.  Former Battlebot competitor Lisa Winter built this robot and I was pleased to see her return.  Female representation in a male dominated sport is always a plus especially when the builder is young and confident in herself.

This battle was probably the most entertaining out of the four thanks to these two weird, weird, robots.  It looked like Plan X was going to win it at first then Wrecks started shuffling back like a determined terrier ready to take down a german shepherd!  I was laughing my ass off during the entire fight.  Part of me was hoping Wrecks would win this one due to its comeback in the last ten seconds and the huge damage it was inflicting on Plan X.  Definitely a favorite.  I was disappointed by Plan X’s spinning weapon but hopefully it will do more damage in the next round.

Next we get the upset battle Warhead vs. Biteforce.  Ah, Warhead, one of the few veteran robots that unfortunately couldn’t seal a win against his opponent.  And to be fair, it was a bad matchup.  Biteforce had a strong drive and a highly defensive ram.  That drum spinner barely dent Biteforce and the arms and tail were useless.  Biteforce had this battle right from the get-go by pushing Warhead all over the place and into two different pulverizers (which made me laughed hard)!  Biteforce reminded me of Complete Control thanks to its unique design and ability to handle dangerous opponents.  Good work Biteforce!

Finally, we get the amazing battle between Nightmare and Warrior Clan.  Man, ABC missed their chance to talk about how Team Nightmare and Team Whyachi had fought each other before in Season 3 for Nightmare vs. Son of Whyachi where Son of Whyachi won hands down.  They should have mentioned that!  Anyway, great battle even though my favorite, Nightmare, got flipped over (again, another bad matchup for a veteran robot).  To be fair though, whether done intentionally or not, the new Nightmare design kind of helped Nightmare in its dire situation.  I’m sure Jim Smentowski was trying his damndest to flip his terrorizing robot over.  Regardless, DID YOU SEE WHAT NIGHTMARE DID TO THAT BITTY FLAME BOT!  That was hilarious.

We still have more qualifying rounds to go through so I’ll withhold my judgement of flame and multi-bots until then but so far they seem to be working out well.

As for wildcard…there are 24 robots and 12 battles which means 12 losers.  Only four of the twelve losers will be picked to fight in the second round (if I’m interpreting the rules correctly).  The show briefly mentioned that the judges will pick the four robots that did the best in their respective matches (which is a great idea).  If I were to pick a robot or two from this episode it would be Wrecks or Nightmare.  Both did a great job fighting their opponent and I can’t decide who deserves it more.  I guess I lean towards Wrecks cause I want to see more of him!  He’s so funky and hilarious (but also he lasted the full three minutes as well)!

My Pick to Win the Nut: I think Icewave might have the best chance.  Battlebots has had a history of vertical rotator robots (e.g., Hazard and Son of Whyachi) winning the Nut.  Icewave’s blade was just wailing on Razorback showing that he is both a good defensive and offensive robot.  However, Icewave was smoking by the end of his match which isn’t good and he’ll have to worry about flipping robots like Warrior Clan (who might even be too low for the swinging blade).

Overall, the episode was great and I look forward to seeing more episodes of Battlebots!  Woo!

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