I know that there are some purists out there who poo poo anything that is not exactly like the original, however sometimes spin-offs can stand on their own merits. I like the new Iron Chef because it is similar enough to the Japanese version but at the same time caters to American spirit. I love Alton Brown as commentator, because he explains things with flair. The Iron Chefs themselves are very interesting. I know the originals were probably the best chefs on the planet at the time, but Bobby Flay is the only American Iron Chef to beat them. Mario Batali seems to have the most fun when cooking, making comments and being flashy while creating. I have watched the series and find all the players work together well. The judges are not always the best choices, however. There are a few exceptions, like the lawyer turned foodie, but most of the judges are questionable in being able to handle what is served. I enjoy watching the chefs hustle and the challengers are surprising. The food at the end always looks amazing and sometimes it inspires me in the kitchen. Perhaps that is all anyone can ask, to want to really eat what is served. The only thing I would really change about the series is to ask folks on the show to lighten up a little. Sometimes the mood becomes a bit too tense, and that isn't always fun to watch when you are expecting more amusement. I liked the version with William Shatner (Iron Chef USA) because it was so over-the-top like the original, but I can tell it was a pretty expensive proposition. I wish he had stayed with this version and been the host - between Bill Shatner and Alton Brown, that would have me grinning for an hour. As long as you don't expect the original Japanese version and can accept this series on its own merits, you may find it to be an enjoyable hour.
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