EVERYONE STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING. SYFY IS MAKING A REALITY SHOW BASED ON REAL STEEL.
The future-shock new series is called Robot Combat League and the project has been kept under wraps until today. The action resembles a real-life version of last year’s hit movie Real Steel, with large menacing robots pounding away at each other in a satisfying shower of sparks and gushing hydraulic fluid. And just like in the film, the ‘bots will be controlled by shadow-boxing operators whose movements are translated into metal-on-metal punches. WWE wrestler, author and Dancing With the Stars veteran Chris Jericho will host.
To recap: A television network most famous for making delightfully terrible B-movies with titles like Dinocroc v. Supergator and Sharktopus is producing a reality show based on a Hugh Jackman movie where giant robots fight to the death in a boxing ring, and the whole thing is being hosted by a WWE wrestler slash rock singer slash amateur ballroom dancer? You have my attention, gentleman. You have ALL of my attention.
Robot Combat League will have 12 teams. Each consists of a fighter (dubbed a “robo-jockey”) and a robotics engineer (a “robo-tech”). The fighters and techs are from various backgrounds, such as a race car driver, an Olympic athlete, a National Guard helicopter pilot. One of the robo-jocks, for example, is MMA fighter Amanda Lucas (Star Wars visionary George Lucas’ daughter). Each team is paired with their own unique robot, all designed by Setrakian, that will have unique strengths and vulnerabilities. And, of course, the robots will have a colorful names, such as “Steampunk” and “Sgt. Smash.”
Entertainment Weekly has the full story, along with some pictures of the giant robot warriors and the fauxhawked host. I recommend checking it out for a number of reasons (it is great, it is kind of hilarious, it is about a show where huge robots punch each other in the head, etc.), but mostly because Syfy president Mark Stern sounds like a total supervillain whenever he talks about the show.
One early test featured a robot attacking a Volkswagen Beetle that was hung in the air. “The robot was hitting it, it was tearing the mirrors off and breaking the windows,” Stern says. “At every step we got closer and closer.”
“Soon,” he continued, while sitting at the head of an elongated conference table and petting his nameless white cat. “Soon it will be time. And then NATIONS WILL CRUMBLE.”
“Up until we actually saw them in the ring fighting, we didn’t think it would work,” Stern says. “Setrakian created a robotics system that can mimic a human’s actions and movements. We’ve had robots decapitated, we’ve had robots cut in half. It was truly spectacular.”
“Yes. Truly spectacular, indeed.”