I have a confession to make: I’m a sucker for reality tv. Literally, put any sort of reality tv show on, and I will be game. And trashy reality tv in particular, is my ultimate guilty pleasure. In fact, back in the day, Jersey Shore was the first show I followed religiously. And I mean religiously! I’d watch each episode twice, often during my school free-periods, and even had a dedicated group of fellow show devotees with whom I’d discuss each episode. That said, I’m also into other, non-trashy reality tv shows (yes, they exist!). And Ultimate Beastmaster, is one of those.
Much like other competitive reality tv shows, Ultimate Beastmaster has competitors competing difficult obstacles in an effort to win a prize. The name of the show, actually comes from the fact that the obstacles are constructed within a gigantic man-made “beast,” so to speak. At the bottom of each obstacle is also a large pool of water, referred to as “beast blood,” in which if a competitor falls, they’re out of the competition. There are 4 levels that contestants must go through, to advance. Each level has its own timed obstacles, all with varied amounts of points that can be earned. Those with the most points, no falls into ‘beast blood,’ and least amount of time advance, and and one winner is declared at the end of level 4. And then during the penultimate episode, the winners of previous episodes compete for a shot at $10 000 USD and the title of “Ultimate Beastmaster.”
As far as competitive reality tv shows go, the format is pretty standard. It actually reminds me a bit of Wipeout and Takeshi’s Castle. However, unlike those shows, where the focus was largely on not only completing the course but also on humiliating challengers, Ultimate Beastmaster focuses solely on the athletic abilities of its contestants. Hence, each contestant for Ultimate Beastmaster is also insanely talented and athletic. Competitors range from crossfit trainers, to military men, to rock-climbers, to parkour fanatics, etc. Fittingly then, the competitors are also ‘beasts’ in their abilities (aka the title of the show).
It’s also worth noting that competitors come from six specific places: America, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea. Each country has two competitors in each episode (except for the final episode which only has the winners of the previous episodes). Each country also has its own set of hosts. For America, its Terry Crews and Charissa Thompson, for Brazil its Rafinha Bastos and Anderson Silva, for Germany its Luke Mockridge and Hans Sarpei, for Japan its Yuji Kondo and Sayaka Akimoto, for Mexico its Luis Ernesto Franco and Ines Sainz, and for South Korea its Seo Kyung Suk and Park Keong Rim. The hosts provide commentary for each of their competitors, and even other competitors, often in their native language. Subtitles are provided for the non-English words (of if you use Netflix, you can have subtitles for all of the hosts!).
Personally, the hosts are actually one of my favourite things about this show. Not only do they add a fun factor to the show with their commentary and reactions, but I also enjoyed the sense of camaraderie they shared with the others. Terry Crews in particular was quite fun to watch as he interacted with others quite often (sometimes even going into their hosting stations LOL). Rafinha Bastos was also absolutely hilarious. In one episode, the Brazilian hosts thought that their competitor beat a German competitor, so they went into the German host’s booth to mock them and dance. But, what they didn’t realize, was that their candidate actually lost and the German advanced (LOL)! It was super funny to watch them stop mid-dancing after the German hosts let them know they lost. Another time that stood out to me, was when a South Korean competitor was advancing and the South Korean hosts decided that it was too sad to see him fail, so they turned their backs to the screen (where he was performing), only for the competitor to succeed (LOL)! Both instances were played light-heartedly and for laughs and I quite enjoyed it!
The athletic aspect of the show is also incredibly awe-inspiring, especially the way some of the competitors competed. There’s just something about watching athletes in (or even out) of their zone, doing various challenging activities. One of my favourite things, was watching Brazilian climber Felipe Camargo climb during an obstacle. He performed with such finesse, it felt like I was watching a climbing documentary! I highly enjoyed the show!
My rating: Watch it to enjoy incredible feats of athleticism by incredibly talented competitors!