Tag Archives: Sky One

Gladiators Ready

If you’ve got Sky, you cannot fail to have noticed all the hype surrounding the return of Gladiators, which in it’s previous incarnation was a staple of the ITV Saturday evening schedules throughout the nineties. The re-launch follows the successful return of American Gladiators, the series on which the UK programme was based.

As it was on after Lost last night, we took a look to see what it was like.

Interestingly in the run up to the launch of the new show, Sky showed a number of programmes with celebrity fans of the old series commenting on aspects they remembered. Ironic really that a number of the aspects mentioned on those shows by the fans as being essential were missing from the new programme.

First off, the music has entirely changed. Gone is the slightly cheesy rock/pop title song, and now there is a not overly memorable title song, also missing are the Queen songs that were such a staple of the previous show, and which all the audience would sing along with. Indeed that brings us on to another change, in that whilst the old series was filmed in the National Indoor Arena with a seating capacity of thirteen thousand, the new show is on a much smaller scale with a relatively small audience, and with very limited space due to much of the equipment for each game being permanently set-up rather than the way it was cleared in and out on the the old series. This reduced scale also impacts on the final eliminator where the eliminator course actually crosses over itself with the crash mat at the end of the zip line also being the crash mat for the finish – surely a health and safety issue. Certainly the scale of the arena is such that I suspect we’re not going to be seeing games like Pendulum or Skytrak.

The one final aspect was the characters of the Gladiators themselves. By the end of the old series most of them had pretty clear personalities, and after one show with the new team, we haven’t seen much aside from a rather cringe making attempt at the villain role that Wolf used to fill from Oblivion – hopefully those aspects will come with time.

In terms of the ratings, it is reported that the programme pulled in 1.5 million viewers, a big total for Sky on a hot summer early evening – however the real test will be whether it maintains the same level, as the reviews have been rather mixed to say the least. Of course it was never really high-brow entertainment in the first place, so what the reviewers think will probably have little effect. Perhaps the main competition though will come from the old series itself which still airs over on Challenge – certainly any perceived flaws in the revival will be magnified by the ease with which people can compare old with new.

24 Series Four Concludes

We’ve just finished watching the Sky One back-to-back showing of hours 23 and 24 of series four of 24.

The last two hours started with Tony held captive by Mandy, the profesional terrorist who has been in the background through all four series, right from the early episodes of series one currently reshowing on BBC, and including her assasination attempt on President Palmer at the end of series 2. Needless to say, it was slightly predictable Tony getting caught as in the previous episode he and Michelle had just got back together, however the writers were nice, and although at one point you thought Tony was dead, ultimately the two of them got together.

Jack was not so lucky. As with previous series, the main series plotline was tied up within a few minutes of the start of episode 24, when CTU managed to locate the missile and it was shot down. This left Jack to come back to base to be dumped by his girlfriend, and then to discover that the Chinese wanted him arrested for the slightly botched raid on their consulate earlier in the series. The current presidential security adviser decided that Jack was too much of a risk to fall into Chinese hands, and arranged for him to be arrested and then killed. However, Jack got a warning from ex-President Palmer, and with the help of Tony, Michelle and Chloe, made his escape, after faking his own death. Of course as Tony and Michelle dropped him off, they left him with a handy secure mobile phone, ready for series five next year.

To some extent, what was promised with series four, with it being a different show without the regular cast didn’t materialise, by the middle of the series, about the only regular who hadn’t appeared was Kim, and then by the end we even had ex-President Palmer coming along too, in many cases almost replacing new characters that had appeared at the beginning of the series. There have also been criticisms that much of series four was a rehash of series two, and also concerns about the focus on arab terrorists. Another area of concern was the more extensive use of torture, with some commentators speculating whether the show was attempting to legitimise torture in the War on Terror.

Series five may well have to be different, with Jack having to go on the run. However it seems apparent that the writers have decided that they need a group of familiar characters, hence why many of the regulars were brought back in during this run. One positive note is that, following the demise of Enterprise, 24 has gained the services of Manny Coto, widely credited with having produced some of the best episodes of Enterprise during it’s final year. Since 24 has already been given a sixth season, hopefully he’ll have a better run at this show than he got with Enterprise!