For anyone who still engages in serious debates over who would win, Thor or the Hulk, here is a series that will send you into paroxysms of nerd joy. The premise here, in the spirit of violent apples and homicidal oranges, is to scientifically (more or less) explore who would win in one-on-one battles between an Apache and a gladiator, a viking and a samurai, a Spartan and a ninja, and so on. We even have the IRA versus the Taliban. Weapons, armor, and tactics are all examined, demonstrated, and fed into a computer. The data is then dramatized at each episode’s climax.
It really is difficult to respond adequately to this specimen. This is one of those ideas that is utterly whacked, but has also been pretty obviously lurking in the male psyche since time immemorial. The presentation is pure cheese, all flashy graphics and clenched-teeth narration, and the actual battles have more than a whiff of Kirk versus the Gorn about them. If you want great fight choreography to go along with your strange pairings, you’re probably better off sticking to playing Soul Caliber IV. All the same, the sheer oddity of the enterprise makes it hard to tear one’s eyes away.
Fairly standard TV fare here. The colors are strong enough, though hardly eye-popping. The image is clear, but a trifle soft. Contrasts, flesh tones and blacks all get the job done, but no more. It’s all a bit bland on the eyes, but is also inoffensive. I guess we’re in damning-with-faint-praise territory, and there is nothing wrong with the transfer – the ordinariness is clearly that of the source material.
Here, too, pretty typical stuff. Nothing wrong, but nothing to make one sit up and take notice, either. The dialogue is all clear, and there are enough music and sound effect cues on the 2.0 track to keep the rear speakers busy, though not obtrusive. In fairness, this is still falling (very) broadly within the documentary genre, and so elaborate sound design would be rather beside the point.
All three categories of extras are episodes of The Aftermath.
Post-Fight Analyses: Each episode comes with its quarter-hour roundtable where everyone chats about their favorite moments, and some behind-the-scenes moments are presented.
Season One Wrap-Up: (34:48) Same kind of thing as above, but taking the big picture view of the season.
Producers’ Roundtables: (25:38) Actually the second part of the Wrap-Up, providing yet more roundtable discussions, and plugging the next season.
If the idea grabs you, then you’ll enjoy this, though the fight choreography is still not exactly earth-shattering.