Many people mocked the Battleship movie that came out not long ago. After all, how could anyone make an interesting film based on a game where people yell out grid coordinates and say cheesy things like “You sank my battleship!”? But, while that movie did wow critics, another film that had a genesis in a childhood toy certainly did. Many critics and moviegoers enjoyed Real Steel which, of course, owed a debt of gratitude to the classic plastic toy Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots. And now, capitalizing on the popularity of that flick, coupled with America’s obsession with mixed martial arts and all things tech, the SyFy Channel will launch a fighting robot competition show.
The program, called Robot Combat League, will be hosted by wrestling star Chris Jericho and will feature customized, 1,000-lb. robots slugging it out in a steel cage format. The show has clear antecedents in programs from the previous century, including 1998’s Robot Wars and 2000’s Battle Bots.
“It has always been our desire — and it’s really come around perennially — to update and do Battle Bots for the new century,” Syfy president Mark Stern told Entertainment Weekly. “Can we do Real Steel? Are we at a place where you can do real bipedal robots? Every time we tried to to do it [the project] was stymied by the technology.”
The league consists of 12 teams, consisting of a fighter and a robotics technician. And, of course, each battledroid has a clever name like “Steampunk” or “Sgt. Smash.” Word on the street is that other networks have similar programs in the pipeline, so fans of robot battles will have plenty of entertainment in the future – the near future.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli