Show Discussion: Ultimate Beastmaster S2

By | December 15, 2017

MORTALL KOMBAAT!

Netflix, from December 15th

New series of Sylvester Stallone and Netflix’s very own large-scale obstacle course show where competitors from six countries, this time the US, Spain, France, Italy, China and India compete to tame the four stages of The Beast, a huge obstacle course built in California.

We enjoyed series one up to a point, decent concept, great use of international commentators (I’ll really miss the Brazillian guys) but an end game that felt almost a bit too difficult and a course that got rather more boring the more you watched – for a delivery service that has built its reputation on binge watching it’s quite a difficult show to binge watch.

My understanding is season two was filmed back to back with season one (which may be a misunderstanding), we’re aware there have been a couple of changes to basic set design, what we’re really hoping for is that they mix up the course a bit more. Fingers crossed!

22 thoughts on “Show Discussion: Ultimate Beastmaster S2

  1. Alex S

    Strangely, they’ve decided not to call them ‘Season 1’ and ‘Season 2’ when you browse Netflix, instead they’re called ‘No Mercy’ and ‘No Surrender’, so you’ve got to pay attention to wok out which season you’re actually watching.

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  2. Nico W.

    I’m a bit baffled that the German version doesn’t say “new season” on Netflix, despite just having announced new commentators for that. So I assume you are right and they filmed this back to back with other nations and a second season with German contestants will be on Netflix sometime next year. It just surprises me as it didn’t strike me as succesful at all and filming two more series already seems odd then…

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  3. Andrew, the Yank

    I managed to enjoy watching the first season despite having some HUGE issues with it (I mentioned a couple in the original thread, but the short version is some of their decisions and editing seriously undermined the strategical aspects they seemed to be going for). I have a busy weekend so I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to watch, but some of my work can take place at my computer with the show in the background, perhaps. I do intend to watch it hopefully soon.

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  4. CeleTheRef

    Tonight Fabrizio Frizzi is back on L’Eredità, and contestants welcomed him back with some great answers:

    Q: In New York, what’s a “Yellow Cab”?
    contestant 1: A baseball team!
    contestant 2: A public toilet!

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  5. David

    Britain’s Brightest Family premieres January 10th- though that info is embargoed on the ITV Press site until December 29th, so don’t tell anyone…

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    1. Brekkie

      Good to see a half hour quiz show back in primetime, and be interesting to see how Anne Hegerty fairs as host. Not the first Chaser I’d have picked to turn host!

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  6. Brig Bother Post author

    Watching episode one now, the scoring’s a bit different, there’s a bit more granularity in the scoring (five pts per successful jump rather than per obstacle) with ten point point boosters available.

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    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Level 2 identical to previous course except with the new 5/10 scoring system.

      They’ve dropped the gamble element from level 3, which given that practically everyone went for it is probably for the best.

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      1. Brig Bother Post author

        Level 4 feels much more interesting than last year, good 3D element. Also basically possible.

        Episodes over an hour which feels a bit long, felt level 2 dragged a little. Not sure Jockbros are an improvement on last year’s commentators, but yeah – it’s alright, although still hope for a bit of variety.

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        1. Andrew, the Yank

          Agreed about level 4, I much prefer it. It’s still perhaps a bit slow for my tastes, for what’s essentially a race I think a faster pace would be more exciting/climactic, as it is you can kinda tell who’s likely to pull ahead. But it’s much better than last year’s.

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  7. Andrew, the Yank

    Watching the first episode, enjoying it and I think they’ve improved the editing of the runs which is making it more enjoyable, but I still hate the Digestive Tract obstacle. Another of my complains in the first season was the ‘mechanical’ obstacles that lowered when an opponent reached it, it didn’t seem fully fair because it seemed impossible to calibrate exactly when they started to drop, or at what speed. The Digestive Tract is even more variable with the amount of water inside the tube.

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    1. Andrew, the Yank

      I also hate the Dreadmills because the best way to pass them is to use the sides, which kinda undermines the entire purpose of the obstacle. Basically I hate that entire section of the course. I even hate the last jump on Stomach Churn because it looks painful/dangerous, too.

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  8. Brig Bother Post author

    Three episodes in this working better for me so far – I’ve even warmed to the commentators. Have just also read that Chris Distefano has degrees in psychology and physical therapy so does actually know what he’s talking about between the colour commentary, and Tiki Barber is fun and has a proper sports background, so fair enough really.

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  9. Nico W.

    I have watched three episodes now and I wonder whether I disliked the first season because I started with the German commentators or if they actzally changed enough. However I’m annoyed of all the advantages tall people have. I see how it’s difficult to find many obstacles with equal chances but putting the Energy Coils and the Crash Boards in the first level (in some episodes) seems rather difficult for smaller people. And it looks so much like they didn’t care about possible injuries (most obstacles look like they were made of really hard materials) which I dislike a lot. I mean, Ninja Warrior looks safe and still spectacular, Don’t see the difficulty in achieving this. However I like it and will watch it when I don’t have to pay too much attention to the telly.

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  10. Andrew, the Yank

    Watched a few more episodes today. Agree with Nico that the course seems unsafe. I thought it seemed unsafe in season 1, and there have been several injuries so far in this season to confirm it.

    I’m enjoying it significantly more than season 1 on the whole though, and I can’t quite pinpoint why. There are things I very definitely like less – such as the commentary – but to the show’s credit, they’ve made some minor tweaks that have overall improved things. I’m still not a huge fan of the scoring system on the whole, but I think the changes have made it better. The editing has gotten better in a lot of ways, although I still have no trust in the order in which they show runs, which is a problem with trying to follow the strategy of the competitors.

    So I was enjoying things well enough until episode 5. Spoilers here…

    A contestant got into the stupid slippery tube, which I’ve already noted is an obstacle I hate, slipped out, and then for all intentions and purposes was able to tread water long enough to keep his arms out of the water and grab back on to the last of the Stomach Churn turntables and hoist himself up. I think the rules about what does and does not constitute elimination are absurd and poorly implemented, and this is the most egregious example. It looks really dumb for someone to have half their body in the water but holding on to something and still technically be alive, ESPECIALLY when there are other obstacles where if you barely touch a safety mat you’re out. But even more damningly, when he slipped out of the Intestinal Tract, the tube actually rose back up so that he got a second chance, which seems to me patently ludicrous. What’s the point of having a timed obstacle (setting aside my other complaints with the timed obstacles) if you get to completely retry it?

    This has really soured me on the integrity of the competition, which is ultimately why I became more frustrated than pleased with the first season.

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    1. Nico W.

      I agree! Watched it yesterday and was shocked. I think the order of the runs is seemingly random, which I hate as well, but that tube-incident was terrible. I already disliked it when the Chinese guy in on of the first two episodes was able to hold on to it, but the incident in this episode was a no-go. By the way this is one of the few obstacles where smaller people have advantages.
      And I really dislike level three after that sliding beginning. It just seems too difficult and all the obstacles need upper-body/arm-strength, which seems not thought through.

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  11. Brig Bother Post author

    Good grand final.

    I think level 3 feels a bit weird because it feels like a lot of travel to get not many points compared to the first two rounds – although oddly a lot of it is fairly automatic – the ejector and prism strike don’t really involve very much but they’re the most visually striking bits.

    Also reckon it’s a bit uneven having five points for each rock on Full Tilt and Skyhook in Level 4, but only five points for making it halfway up Motherboard and The Ventilator which feel like a lot more effort.

    Still, though.

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  12. Andrew, the Yank

    Episode 7 introduced a rule I don’t recall ever being mentioned, namely that you have to go through the circles on the Coil Crawl to get the 5 points, which seems weirdly artbirary, especially considering some of the other things people are allowed to do to clear obstacles? The inconsistency and lack of clarity about the rules really undermines a lot of this show.

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    1. Andrew, the Yank

      Also the announcers talking about a competitor dabbing and saying, “That’s so 2016!” made me laugh, considering, y’know, it was filmed in 2016. Don’t get me started about how obviously rerecorded a lot of the commentary is.

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  13. Andrew, the Yank

    And episode 8 just had the most egregiously stupid rule affecting the competition yet:

    Two competitors had a tied score for second place at the end of level 3, and they went to time for a tiebreak as has been established, but they only used the time for level 3. This is problematic for a few reasons – why not just use cumulative time, like you do cumulative points? – but is especially idiotic because the person who advanced did so because he failed the level earlier and thus had a “quicker” time.

    I wonder if they just didn’t bother giving the full story in the edit, and either that was their comparitive times reaching the obstacle he failed on, OR they actually did use the cumulative time and just for simplicity’s sake in the edit. But even if one of my guesses is right, that’s still another example of the edit getting in the way of showing the accuracy of the competition.

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  14. Andrew, the Yank

    Thoughts on the finale:

    Although I liked that there were separate paths for level one on different episodes, it seems horribly unfair that in the finale, one of those paths is being used rather than a new one. It seems to give an advantage to people who competed on an episode that used the deadbolts and mag wall. I hope they gave the contestants who hadn’t a chance to practice on them.

    Otherwise, the finale was very good. Slightly sad that my pick the win the whole competition came in second. As soon as I heard his name on his original episode, I picked him to win. (I’ve seen him climb in international competition, so I already knew of him.) But the competition level was very good in the finale, and seeing actual urgency on the final stage made it more exciting. I still would prefer something a bit faster-paced I think, but this season’s final stage was definitely much better than the first one.

    Overall, although I certainly had some serious gripes, I do still enjoy the show. There’s a lot of good things to say about it. I just really hope that they tweak things for the sake of creating a more fair competition, and are more clear in some of their editing choices about it.

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