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Back to the Box: A Back and Forth on the Return of ‘Battlebots’

  • Don Hollway

    First of all, I loved the original Battlebots, I love the reboot, and I love that the reboot pays homage to the original. The action was good and I like the new format. In short, nothing to improve in the arena.

    But the show format? 4 fights, 3 minutes each. That’s 12 minutes of robot combat in a 60-minute show. I haven’t timed each segment, but I’m willing to bet the total commercial breaks roughly equalled the total arena time. One or two breaks together took more time than all the fighting in the episode. It was worse than NFL football. And I *like* NFL football! And I like Battlebots!

    I’ve been in advertising over 30 years. Commercial breaks are what’s killing old-school TV viewership. Come on, ABC! Nobody watches little TVs anymore. We’re all big-screen HD, especially this audience. There’s plenty of room on-screen, and we’re all used to online ad banners and onscreen news crawls. Instead of commercial breaks, why not run an ad crawl across the bottom of the screen while the action is playing? Then your audience will be guaranteed to be sitting in front of it, instead of having gotten up to go to the bathroom, or take a nap, or raise kids to adulthood while you run the same commercial twice in the same freaking commercial break, over and over again. Meanwhile you could squeeze in two more bouts, three per half hour. Your audience will like it, your advertisers will like it, and your show will be a hit.

    Short version: we’re looking at 6 episodes here. That’s 6 hours of commercials, background info, and more commercials, in order to watch a total of one hour and 12 minutes of actual robot combat. ‘Nuff said. End of rant.

    • voxullus

      That is why I pulled a torrent from the intarwebs this morning! No commercials at all.

      • Don Hollway

        And all 4 of last night’s fights were on YouTube within hours, commercial-free. (Because everybody clicks through those annoying pre-video commercials, right?) If ABC ran “web banner” commercials, those would have carried over to the YouTube rips and ABC could demand ad payment from advertisers per view, without having spent a dime for extra production. What are these network guys and agency execs thinking???

        Meanwhile I’ll either be watching on the web, or DVRing the episodes from here on out and fast-forwarding through all the commercials. Who’s got time to sit through all that?

  • Bacca

    The show was excellent, I agree with Don… it was 12 min of robot combat a banner at the bottom of the screen for commercials could fix that.

    As far as the rules, Those little sacrificial boats need to go. If you enter the ring with 3 working bots, in order to win you need to finish the fight with 3 working bots.

  • Brent Minder

    Too many commercials. Need comedians for commentators (miss Bil Dwyer). Commentator guys: please include the hot chick in the conversation; she actually seemed interested (or well acted) in the bots and competitors. I’m surprised that there are still vertical spinners (physics dictates that this design is inferior for several reasons). I miss the weight classes. There used to be a domed spinner with spikes in the lightweight class that was killer – don’t remember the name. There was another wedge that was super fast in the same lightweight class. Good to see the 14-year-old chick back and taking it seriously (no beetle). Great to see this coming back. Hope the commercials don’t kill the ratings. Very tough to watch the traditional way – won’t make that mistake again.

    • maththemath

      The domed spinner was multiple-time lightweight champion Ziggo!

      • Brent Minder

        Give that man a cigar.

  • BMurdoch

    I am so happy that this show is back on. My kids and I were rushing from going out for Father’s Day dinner to see it….. I was disappointed by all the knockoff shows (the robot combat league game close but they were slow moving hulking robots…. I like pieces flying, not robots going dead when hydraulic lines burst)…. The flames were ineffective, but fun to watch….. There was that one fight where the bot with the spinning bar caught fire…. It is lucky that ref called the fight because they were both incapacitated at that one point…. Hopefully, the success of this show will compel Hulu to bring back the original series to their straming service…. I’d love to watch the originals again…. HD or no….

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