A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Robot Combat League features large humanoid robots fighting in intense tournaments on behalf of their human operating teams. While lots of attention is paid to machine combat, the series highlights the latest robotic technology, as well as the kind of fun you can have with it. Robots are made to punch, push, and engage in other destructive maneuvers. Mildly competitive behavior is featured, and words like "ass," "crap," and "screwed" are audible. X-Box and Roku are sponsors of the show.
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What's the story?
ROBOT COMBAT LEAGUE is a competition series featuring human-controlled, state-of-the-art robots engaging in arena combat. Hosted by WWF wrestling star Chris Jericho, the series features 12 teams of two people with backgrounds in areas like engineering, software development, elite athletics, and even race car driving, who are assigned a specific 8-foot-tall humanoid robot created by robot expert Mark Setrakian. While one team member acts as the "robo-jockey" (a human fighter controlling the robot with a high-tech exo-suit), the other serves as the engineer or "robo-tech." The contestants must learn to communicate with each other in order to take control of their robots and guide them to win rounds of fight tournaments in order to stay in the game. The team who successfully guides their robot to a final victory wins the $100,000 cash prize.
Is it any good?
While robot fighting competitions aren't new to TV, RCL offers a fun way of learning a little bit more about how large humanoid robots -- including those used in film productions -- actually work by throwing them into a fighting ring. The Gladiator-like competitions get exciting, too, thanks to lots of screaming spectators and observations offered by play-by-play commentator Dave Farra.
There are definitely things to be learned here, including how developing and working with this technology is often done in teams, and the importance of creativity and strong communication skills. Some folks may find the notion of fighting machines a little off-putting, but science and technology buffs will definitely find it entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about robotics. What kinds of skills do you need to build a robot? Did you know that there are robot leagues and other organizations dedicated to teaching about science and technology by helping kids build robots? What other ways can people make learning fun?
Is promoting activities like fighting a good way of making something entertaining? Why or why not? Should fighting and/or other scenes featuring aggressive behavior in the media be considered less violent if it doesn't incorporate humans and/or it doesn't show blood?
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