If you've never seen the original Iron Chef, this version will keep you happy. But, having seen the original, one and only Chairman Kaga and his Invincible Iron Chefs, I can't quite grasp the idea of William Shatner as Chairman. He just doesn't have the class and dignity Kaga does. Mr. Shatner is a bit too hammy. Plus, Kaga has the flair to carry off the wonderful costumes, where Shatner just looks stuffed into his.
As to the show itself, part of the charm of the original show is the campy voiceovers. Then there's Ota, Fukui-san, and Dr. Hattori, plus the panel of tasters, some new, some regulars. Watching them taste the dishes offered and hearing their comments is always amusing. And, of course, the chefs and competitors. We learned the quirks of the chefs and watched the competitors try to keep up.
Finally, there is the marvelous theme music. There is just something about a Japanese gong orchestra that sends chills up the spine.
All in all, the US version is not bad, but it will never quite measure up to the original. Chairman Kaga and his Iron Chefs will always reign supreme.
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