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Touted as the first international competition show of its kind, "Ultimate Beastmaster" will feature six country-specific versions, with local languages, competitors and hosts from each country: the U.S., Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Germany and Japan. All 10 episodes will launch at the same time worldwide on Netflix. The series will feature 108 competitors, 18 from each country, with each hourlong episode featuring 12 contestants - two from each locale. The athletes will run a demanding new obstacle course known as "The Beast," and each episode will crown a "Beastmaster," with the nine individual winners competing against each other in the final episode of the season for the chance to become the Ultimate Beastmaster.
Great potential, decently entertaining, but some growing pains.
After watching all 3 seasons I figured I'd write a review. On a whole, this show was pretty fun to watch. There were some ups and downs which I'll go into more in depth but it was a fun ride and pretty entertaining to cheer for all the different athletes watching them overcome these extremely brutal courses. I'd recommend it if you're not looking for something too serious or maybe you're in between sport seasons and are looking for something to fill the void a little. Anyhow, onto the details.
Season 1 was pretty decent. They had a ton of competitors, some really great commentators (Brazil and South Korea were particularly great) and the course was pretty decent to watch the runners. There were some amazing athletes and it was really awesome to watch some that were just leaps and bounds better than their competitors. The HUGE flaw of this season is they tried to make things harder randomly mid season by changing a few obstacles that actually caused physical harm to competitors which was frankly unacceptable. This put a huge damper on the season for me as I don't want to watch people get hurt for the sake of something being "more difficult."
Season 2 was IMHO the best season thus far. The course got both more difficult but also safer for the athletes. It again featured some amazing athletes and the Chinese commentators were amazing (notably the woman). Some excellent athletes once again. My only gripe with this season was that there was a change in the point system which sometimes created insurmountable gaps in points. Although this wasn't bad because it basically meant the most consistently good athlete typically went on, it meant there wasn't much upset potential. I didn't mind it too much as there were just so many good athletes in this season that the finals were really superb regardless.
Season 3 was pretty tame in comparison to Season 2 and I attribute a lot of that to a change in the course to make it more luck based, which I believe is stupid, rather than skill based. This introduced some obstacles that were random timing based or that frankly seemed unbeatable. It seemed like this season they tried to have a ton more variety, which is appreciated, but having entire episodes where no one completes a level is rather boring... which brings me to my next point. The athletes in this season were halved, witch each country having half the competitors. While this was alright, the competitors on a whole felt a ton lower quality than the first and second seasons and it left me feeling as if it were a lot less fun to watch. I will admit once the finals came around the remaining athletes were once again superb but no one had the explosiveness or the raw ability that was seen in both the first and second seasons. On a whole it was still good, but fell flat for me. It was also odd to see the change in obstacles so frequently which left some preexisting ones a lot easier than they were previously (like the bar between the circling pistons and the climbing wall all of the sudden being shorter from one episode to the next).
I would really like to see future seasons of this show make the obstacle course a nice balance between S2 and S3. Safer obstacles similar to Season 3, but less random timing things (like the swinging gear, trampoline), but the fun and explosive course that Season 2 was very close to being. Variety is fun but only when people can actually seem to complete it if they have the ability, not the entire field of athletes failing.
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