Why Robot Wars Failed #3: Extreme I

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There a number of reasons why Robot Wars stopped airing new episodes after 2004 and this series of articles explain that there are more reasons than people realize. This article will focus on the Extreme series of Robot Wars which, was a spin-off to the original and traditional UK competition. There are reasons why the Extreme series was part of the cause for the destruction of the spin-off and the main show.



Over Exposure

Flame RazerA lot of robots to appear on the first series on Extreme had moderate to big success in the four previous main UK series and with a majority having success in later series. This meant that it became very repetitive to see the same robots winning over and over again. Admittedly, there were a lot of upsets and new robots did appear throughout the series but, seeing the same old names again and again and again became a bit stale.

For example, Tornado appeared in 10 out of 17 episodes with two episodes having two fights of Tornado and 7 out of 9 of the final episodes of the series featured the Challenge belt holders. Tornado is probably the pinnacle of overexposure but, robots like Razer, Stinger, and Behemoth all enjoyed long runs in this series causing staleness and overexposure

New Competitions offers New Entertainment

The main UK championship was about finding the best robot in the country through a brutal knock-out tournament. Extreme offered something pretty different with different tournaments helping robots with different qualities (for example, Tag Team Terror offered robots with good teamwork the option to win a tournament). It would also freshen the show-up and showed that there was a lot more to robotic combat than the same knockout competition.

Therefore when new competitions were shown and introduced, and people enjoyed the show so, much and then to go back to the original competition wasn’t going to offer the same product as the viewers had just enjoyed. It would be like offering Eastenders every week and then turning it into Emmerdale, and then back to Eastenders. People who preferred the original format may turn off from the new format and fans of the new format may turn off when going back to the old show. Either way, it doesn’t work for the best.



Beyond Repair

A smaller issue that arose towards the end of the series was, robots began breaking down beyond repair and caused many changes to be made to tournaments and to the show overall. It led to robots being replaced and devaluing the tournaments themselves. For example, Pussycat replaced Mega Morg in the tag team terror tournament despite, Mega Morg and Diotoir winning a first round fight. A big example was the second Annihilator where Atomic II and Bulldog Breed 3 qualified but, didn’t enter the actual fight due to damage from other competitions leading to Spirit of Nightmare and Fighting Torque to take their places with Fighting Torque entering a brand new robot. However, there were only three rounds in this Annihilator as Napalm and Panic Attack withdrew from the tournament despite not being eliminated due to damage. Only having three rounds was really ruining the point of the competition that had become the fans 2nd favorite after the main UK tournament.

A big example was the second Annihilator where Atomic II and Bulldog Breed 3 qualified but, didn’t enter the actual fight due to damage from other competitions leading to Spirit of Nightmare and Fighting Torque to take their places with Fighting Torque entering a brand new robot. However, there were only three rounds in this Annihilator as, Napalm and Panic Attack withdrew from the tournament despite not being eliminated due to damage. Only having three rounds was really ruining the point of the competition that had become the fans 2nd favorite after the main UK tournament.

Only having three rounds was really ruining the point of the competition that had become the fans 2nd favorite after the main UK tournament.

Bad Writing

Classic Sir K

Another issue that happened in the series was there were story lines introduced especially in the vengeance battles which, were mainly filler matches or friendlies for teams. The best fights were Razer vs Pussycat and Panic Attack vs X-Terminator as, there was history between the fighting teams but, rivalries created for the sake of the show such as Diotoir vs Firestorm that presented the lovable Irish team as the bad guys. It didn’t work for the tone of the show and was seen to be in very bad taste. However, this tone would still be present in later series causing small issues over the rest of the series.

The Extreme series freshened the show up a lot but, if it needed it, is a whole other question.

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