Robot Combat League (TV Series 2013– ) Poster

(2013– )

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Such a disappointment
JediColt7 March 2013
There are so many things right with the premise of this show, and so many things wrong with the execution that its hard to know where to begin.

First the contestants don't build their own robots. They are randomly assigned in the first episode. I say "random" and yet the military man who can't finish a sentence without mentioning that he flew attack helicopters and wears an Army t-shirt somehow got the green military robot. All of the robots are built by one guy, who also is the one that comes in and does the mid-round repairs, which doesn't make a lot of sense since he is one person and there are 2 robots in each fight. How do they decide which robot he goes in to repair? Second, the robots themselves don't appear to be all that different. They all have exposed mid-sections, herky jerky arms that don't seem to be capable of landing solid punches and hydraulic lines in the arms that come off on their own. We've already seen in 2 episodes that some of the worst damage done to these robots is done by their own operators when they swing the arms too fast.

Third, Chris Jericho is a funny, charismatic presence that is being totally wasted on this show. He is only used to explain the rules to the contestants while another guy does the actual commentating during the robot fights. Really anyone could be doing Jericho's role and it wouldn't be any different.

Fourth, the actual presentation of the show is just more of the same reality show garbage that we've all seen before. 90% of the show is interview vignettes with the "contestants" who are obviously meant to be B-list celebrities, except for the fact that they aren't celebrities at all. We have George Lucas' daughter, a 2 time Olympian from Jamaica, a guy that flew attack helicopters and a couple of unattractive girls who wear hot-pants and midriff baring tops to the robot fights.

So instead of watching robots fight, or even Chris Jericho try to make this show entertaining, we get to listen to these people that we don't care about tell us their opinion of everything happening around them. I think the whole hour long show had about 5 minutes of actual robots fighting, not counting all of the times they replay the exact same clip from a fight. I predict within a month Jericho will go back to the WWE, the contestants will go back to their boring lives and the robots will end up on the scrap heap.
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Stay Away
DSlayd7 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
First and foremost, I have to ask, how exactly do you ruin fighting Robots? Thanks again Syfy, this is no Robot Wars!

The premise of this show is interesting enough. Two life size humanoid robots beating each other. Sounds like a win right? Wrong. Syfy fails miserably on the execution. As I like to do, I'll put the problems I have with this show in bullet points:

  • Probably due to the lack of most TV views attention spans (or the perception of such), the editing in this show is manic. Fast cuts, heavy metal music, flash lighting. It is insane and there is no intelligence allowed.

  • Advances in technology? You mean hydraulics is new? If these robots performed with electric motors without a tether, then we would be talking about some advanced technology...of course, we would also be watching million dollar Cylons destroy each other, and I doubt Syfy can afford that. Lay off the "advanced tech" is not needed for viewership.

  • The participants are beyond annoying. There is no honesty and nothing feels natural (see original Robot Wars). They all behave exactly as you would expect on a show more about hype then the actual robots and their fighting. Constant insincere commentary from various teams during fight intermissions is bad enough to make you brains drip out of your ears.

  • The robot "fights" are horrible and boring. It is painfully obvious that a pyro-technician is on set to trigger flashy sparks as deemed required. The only thing that stops these hydraulic creations is one single busted line, and (spoiler) from the three fights I managed to stomach, it is always the one in the arm. I'm pretty sure that either this is a design featured weak spot (easy to get knocked out and also easy to fix), or even worse, triggered by show staff to fail.

  • 2 minutes of actually fighting, 8 minutes of fight related stuff (build-up\intermission), 17 minutes of commercials and the rest is filler just listening to the inane chatter of the "contestants". Awesome.

In the end, if you are like me, and love to see robots rip each-other apart, track down the old Robot Wars show. This show had real people, who were honestly interested in robotics, using knowledge and skill to create robotic weapons that would decimate each other using. It had speed, and a real sense of danger.

If this show makes it to season 2, here's some advice to the producers:

  • Ditch the hype. Make this show honest and intelligent. - Assemble robotic teams, give them x amount of money and a base frame to build off-of. - No fake pyrotechnics - Ditch the spastic camera angles and quick shots, allow the views to see what they came to see, the robots fighting.

Or failing that, Just give us Robot Wars in 1080p.

...if they do this, we will come ;-)
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Not good at all..
satanclaw6 March 2013
I can see this being of value for younger viewers, but personally I found it way to "bad imitation" boxing, with "robots" that had jerky movements, that almost seem mechanical even though they use hydraulics. I wonder why they didn't put the hydraulic lines inside the metal shell of those robots, also, why there are no over pressure release valves, so the damned hoses won't burst all the time.

The hoses bursting almost seemed remote controlled to me.

I think these unnatural movements, kinda jerky, almost as if someone where pulling strings to control them, and a "as if" they where made out of cardboard, effect, comes out of a "weak" "flexing" frame inside their metal shells, making the arms movements seem "cheap" and jerky.

Some of the team members seem to have little or no understanding of both the concept, the mechanics of the robots, limitations of the robots, the controls, and the physics.

Sometimes it feels like it's scripted. Like when one team is mastering the controls, and beating the crap out of the other team, while the other team is struggling to control\understand the controls of their robot, next round, the situation is completely flipped, as if the first team suddenly forgot how to control the robots, while the second team have suddenly become experts in controlling theirs....

No, this is like Rockem Sockem, only slightly scripted and with sparks for no apparent reason, probably good for the younger audience, but utter crap to me.
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I think people were expecting "Real Steel"
Sean Metzinger12 March 2013
Right away 5 stars are taken away because of the contestants. Another 1 star gone because of the cheesy pyro-technics.

The Robot Combat League itself is a good concept. I added 3 back because of the future potential of the series.

First thing you need to know is the robots are standardized. They are all the same frame and hydraulics. They are all built to take 'some' punishment not too much or fights would last forever. The difference is in their armors and weapons. I think the standard sub frame is a good idea but they should let the contestants design the armor and weapons.

I get the cheesy pyro, the annoying contestants, and the camera angles- they are there to keep the audience interested. You can't compare it to Robot Wars because Robot Wars got really one sided with all the robots being low to the floor machines with a high-powered drum spinning in the front. Why do think it got canceled because the robots were boring boxes; all the creative designs were tossed out for what works.

When you boil Robot Combat League down you do get rock-em sock-em robots but that was a fun game for us... then we grew up and moved to Mech- warrior and the internet. Then we grew up again and either built our own bots or went into programming. Robot Combat League needs to grow up a little and given the right rules and people it can.
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Relaxing mindless drivel
mike-ryan45528 March 2013
Have you ever been in a mood to watch mindless violence but without the blood and guts? Do you want to see fights that have no motivation whatsoever? Did you think "Scrapheap Wars" was one of the greatest TV series ever? If you do, Robot Combat League is right up your alley. Otherwise, not so much.

The robots are hydraulically driven and from the show appear to be loaded with design flaws. Two have literally fallen in half. The teams don't get to build or modify the robots - just attempt to fix them after each round. There's no intelligence on the robots. They are just driven by a team of two operators.

The show lacks action. There's too much badly hyped talk and far too little whoop ass.

Could the show make it? It would need to change its format. Get in deep, allowing the teams to customize them from more bare units and show their design trade-offs and decision making. Have victories allow each bot to add something, maybe an upgrade.
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I Gotta' say: I *LIVE* for Tuesdays
topsfrombottom17 April 2013
OK; listen-up, all you haters: first off, you need to stop whining and whimpering about how this ain't 'Real Steel' (NO KIDDING - WE AIN'T THERE YET, HELLLLO..). But, if you'd just quit crying long enough to wipe away and see through those impatient-little-boy tears, you'd see that you ARE witnessing its birth in this wicked-cool and (for the most part) well-thought-out series. Those who still want to sniffle need to just step-off and go watch something lame and adolescent-boy-targeted like reruns of the little, remote-controlled, bumper-car-action of 'Robot Wars' or some such. Because, honestly, RCL is AWEZOM. The robots are BOXERS - simple as that. So, take this unique and incredibly-cool series for what it is: Rockem-Sockem' for grownups... and the DAWN of the eventual reality of 'Real Steel' robot combat. BE PATIENT AND ENJOY WATCHING THE EVOLUTION - for, surely, this series will be remembered as its BIRTH.

The attraction (for me) is in picking my favorite team and rooting them onward through each, subsequent battle. Being a born-again, Gaea-worshiping, Female-adoring, radical Eco-Feminist means that I cannot help myself but to cheer for those teams being rightfully led by the Gals.

In fact, I wouldn't doubt that MOST of the reason all these waa-waa-boys are *REALLY* sniffling is because it's totally possible (and perhaps even probable, hehe) for a five-foot-tall, ninety-five-pound Woman to use Her superior intellect and intuition to whoop-ass on some big, beasty MMA/Olympic boys. And sadly, most boys cry when Girls beat them. But I *like* that, muhahaha ;) As for the contestants, they're OK - although it IS kinda difficult for me to identify TOO closely with Intel employees and NASA scientists (i.e., I'd like to see more 'regular' people - like myself - as contestants; peeps who could otherwise likely never HOPE to see $100k in their miserable lives, lol). Heh; I'm pretty sure that designer-guy of the Mars CURIOSITY rover never struggles to choose which two to pay among his rent/food/car bills the way we normal, recession-pounded people often must.

Aside from that, (and a tidbit of annoyance with the show's current 'bit-more-talking-than-punching' format), I hereby wish this outstanding series (and it's progeny) at least twenty more seasons of TRUE, robot-battle carnage - different robots and jocks/techs but the same, basic format. Change little other than new and identifiable contestants and new/improved robots and I'll watch those twenty seasons, I promise.

SYFY scored a KO with this one. Among the best things on TV these days... imho.

Oh; and I've never been 'into' any sport, really - until THIS.
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Good entertainment value
davebrecht17 April 2013
This show is likely much less scripted than any other reality crap on TV. As an engineer I enjoy seeing the robots operate and the carnage incurred during the fights. This is the FIRST SHOW OF ITS KIND so take it easy on "herky jerky" and "they move weird". These robots cost an insane amount of money to build, no amateurs are going to be able to start this kind of show without a network funding it. I eagerly wait each week to watch it and give it an 8/10. They could do without the staged fireworks, but they are probably just based on an accelerometer on the robot most likely to indicate to the viewers when a hit was delivered so they do have some meaningful use.
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Nothing like what I thought it would be.
uvwaves10 April 2013
Many viewers have said what I wanted to say. Bad camera work. fake enthusiasm by audience. lame robots. nothing advanced about it. Leaves you feeling empty inside if your a robot geek like me. Bottom line is this is hardly robot combat. Much more like rock-em sock-em robots on a big scale and the production is lame and insulting. I got 3 shows in and could not stomach any more. I will not be watching this show any longer. Robot Wars was a million times better and was 'real'. The producers need to learn from that show and take that format to the next level. I would be excited to see robot teams that have a set amount of money to work with and a base frame to work from that are not tethered. Hell, just bring back robot wars!
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Absolutely Amazing
Dave B3 January 2014
I was very skeptical when I first saw this advertised on Hulu Japan but decided to watch it with an open mind and since I'm a subscriber I was able to watch the entire season in a few sittings.

It's never been done before and though, yes, it could have been executed better I was glad to see a production house gutsy enough to present what could possibly become a new form of professional entertainment or sport. Of the negative reviews I read I noticed that many of of those people were expecting to see boxing Pacific Rim bots complete with professional Jaeger pilots and to them I say, "Please quit whining and go rent Transformers again while the rest of us watch real robots made with today's real technology beating each other into spare parts."

Despite it being peppered with the typical reality-series crap that passes for entertainment in the US I actually really enjoyed watching this. I hope that Smart Dog Media learned from the mistakes that were made and stay on the ball and keeping running with this series.

The lessons learned that RCL needs to address:

1) Final round should **always** go until one robot can no longer fight or is destroyed. The fight footage can be edited as necessary to meet TV airtime constraints.

2) Hire another robotics expert so Mr. Mark Setrakian isn't required to "time share" between the two teams during the 20 minute repair recesses.

3) Invest a bit more funding into the creation of the robots so they are more sturdy and have stronger skeletal infrastructure, particularly in the arms.

4) Take out the spark throwers and just show us the fight in all its bent steel ugliness AND streamline & clarify the rules so we the audience can understand how the judges are making decisions so no one can complain of a match being "rigged."

5) If they keep the same teams then the teams should be rotated between different robots. This will really highlight which teams are *skilled* and which are *lucky* enough to be assigned to the really well-designed robots.

Though these bots aren't of the caliber I'm used to seeing here in Japan RCL is highly entertaining and exciting and I'd pay to go to see these tournaments in person.

My final thoughts on this show are...

AWESOME!! Finally a new sport to Entertain the Masses! If I was back in California during season one I'd *definitely* have gone to see as many of these at the arena as I could.

*********** LET'S SEE RCL SEASON TWO!!! ***********
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Great Show & Entertaining
trupinoy127 March 2013
First of all, some of these negative comments are a bit too critical. Understand that this show has more entertainment value rather than the technical expertise put into these bots. Unlike Battlebots which seemed like different varieties of shoe boxes always close to the ground with damaging weapons and little design creativity, this show takes it to the next level with different upright bot characters and strengths and weaknesses, giving it an entertaining value. Mind you this show has just premiered and the first of its kind which itself is impressive, regardless of it's choppy movement and limited mobilities. If the show survives several seasons then hopefully the creators of the show will seek out improvements and advancements to make this bots more fluid and agile. As far as the hydraulic fluids and the robotic sparks, understand that those may not be due to actual damage but is there for climax and entertainment value, making the show more enticing. Overall look at the show for it's entertainment value as well as it's infancy into a new arena of combat entertainment. Don't expect it to mimic the movie Real Steel or compare it to boxing and wrestling as the show isn't at the level yet but give it enough chance and support and who knows that the show may be just around the corner.
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geekgirl10114 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This show is awful! We were promised fighting robots, and what got is a life story padded around pre-built flimsy, fiddly robots that look like the ones from the game Rock'Em Sock'Em, being held upright by a frame and weights. They're remote controlled by a person wearing a suit to control the arms only and they easily fall apart and break down. They're very dreadfully designed in that hydraulics pipes and tubes are exposed and can very easily pop out of place and spread hydraulics fluid all over the floor.

Most of the show is talking about the lives of the random B-class celebs who are taking part in the show, with loads of build-up music, shouting, repeating the same thing over in case we just tuned in or forgot what they said they were gonna do 15 mins ago, and over-hype about the robots. A lot of the logos and CGI are stolen from Robot Wars.

At the end of it (which is where the action really begins) there's barely more than a few mins of the robots fighting and then it's over. The fighting ground is a small circular boxing area where they box each other until one breaks down. The spark effects are all fake, sometimes going off when there hasn't been any contact.

Terrible show, don't waste your time watching it.
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Rock 'em Suck 'em Robots
barrywilliams99319 March 2013
This is a completely lame piece of crap! I only made it through about 20 minutes of the first episode before I erased it and canceled the series from recording.

The "robots" are a glorified Rock 'em Sock 'em game that has been scaled up and gussied up with lights and costumes. I was expecting the heads to pop up . . . seriously!

And the contestants . . . who the hell are these people anyway. I mean, Amanda Lucas? I had never heard of her and I don't care about her. It's terrible of me I know but I just don't care. So what if her adoptive father is famous.

Look, just bring back a "Battle Bots" format. I think it would work better than this waste of money and time. Unfortunately, SyFy doesn't need a winner so much as it needs filler. The really horrible "movies" like "Battle of Los Angeles" prove that. Shameful!

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yaffleridesagain14 April 2013
The problem with robot shows is that you have two choices, either you let amateurs build their robots and end up with boring looking functional machines that win by immobilizing each other in generally unexciting fashion or you let the pro's build machines and get someone else to play with them. The latter option is what they've gone for here, so the interest of seeing amateur teams and their creations is right out of the window. Instead there are people who I just can't bring myself to describe as celebrities, they aren't even z-listers. Would you get into a club or get an invite to a function on the basis of being the ferocious daughter of George Lucas? No you wouldn't I suspect. People are either there on the basis that they are a genius, and therefore without exception not good in front of a camera, or something ridiculous like a "pro gamer" (sounds better than unemployed I suppose) or cocky athletes who take it a bit too seriously. Many of them will annoy you.

When George Lucas arrives on set they show the same footage no less than ten times. There's no excuse for that, that's just filler. Surprisingly also nobody there shouts "Hey George, you ruined my childhood with those crappy sequels. Or prequels or whatever." Another missed opportunity for the show.

The fights initially look good but after a very short while you'll begin to notice that the sparks are just effects fired off when a hit connects. It's fair enough, they are doing their best with the technology on offer but really, it's not hugely exciting to watch. There are some bits where the robots just fall to pieces which is quite funny but as far as combat goes it's a bit lacking.

A brave attempt, and it's always nice to see a show about robots trying to beat each to pieces but at the end of the day this is a lot less entertaining to me than something like Robot Wars where two buckets with axes stuck to them try to shove each other into a flame pit. Whether you're expecting to see something like Robot Wars or hoping the network has somehow funded 600 ton mech's with point defense lasers and the like (as some reviewers were clearly hoping) you are going to be let down by this show but I still think it's worth a watch if you like this kind of thing.
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