The last thing you want a competition series called "Robot Combat League" is to dwell on the personalities of its human contestants like "Top Chef," "Survivor" and a million other such shows do.
You just want to see giant robots beating the circuitry out of each other.
In its premiere, "Robot Combat League" (9 p.m. CT Feb. 26, Syfy; 2.5 stars) takes too long to introduce viewers to the 24 players that make up 12 teams battling for a $100,000 prize and setting things up for the audience.
WWE wrestler Chris Jericho is more than capable as host of the show, pumping up the studio crowd and explaining to the teams that one member will be the robojockey who shadowboxes a la Hugh Jackman in "Real Steel," while the other team member, the robotech, uses a joystick to maneuver the ';bot around the ring.
The contestants include MMA fighter Amanda Lucas, daughter of "Star Wars" guru George, as well as an Olympic hurdler, a robot engineer from NASA, a race car driver, servicemen, an overexcited toy designer and father-daughter software engineers. Keisha Howard, CEO of Sugar Gamers in Chicago, is paired with gamer and robotics engineer Annika O'Brien.
But like I said, who really cares about the human component in this equation? I could have skipped over much of this hour, which includes each team fighting in the Powerup Challenge against a sparring robot controlled by Mark Setrakian, the man who created all the fighting robots with names like Brimstone, Thunder Skull and Robo Hammer. (Howard and O'Brien are paired with a hulking mechanical beast called Game Over.)
After all the setup, however, Jericho and Co. finally have their first matchup between the highest ranking 'bot, Steel Cyclone, and the lowest, Crash.
Sparks fly, parts break off, hydraulic fluid sprays. At least the episode ends with 10 minutes of awesome.
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