Currently streaming on: Netflix (exclusive series)
Episodes Available: 10 episodes, 1 season
Best for: Fans of American Ninja Warrior, live sports
This series builds upon the formula established by the likes of Ninja Warrior and Wipeout by adding a more complex obstacle course, and international teams from six countries (The U.S., Germany, South Korea, Mexico, Japan, and Brazil). The obstacle course itself that the athletes traverse through feels more like a live-action video game with spinning platforms to jump onto, moving conveyer belts to run over, and a design that resembles the inside of a giant “beast” complete with water that’s been dyed red to resemble the “blood of the beast.”
Fans of the Olympics will find the international competition a welcome change over Ninja Warrior, and it’s fun to see the hosts from the different countries banter with each other. Netflix opted for a unique approach to the localization of this series as all six versions of the show are filmed concurrently with two hosts from each nation speaking in their own language in side-by-side booths. Some of the obstacles seem slightly more risky than Ninja Warrior (one episode featured multiple male contestants falling crotch-first on a platform), so that does raise the stakes a bit.
A drawback to the series is something that ironically benefits many other shows on streaming services- all of the episodes were released at the same time. While it may be enticing to the diehard fans of the show to watch every minute of each episode I’d imagine most viewers would find themselves skipping ahead since most of the episodes feature the same stages. Releasing a series like this one episode at a time gives shows like Ninja Warrior an edge over Beastmaster, in that you perhaps have slightly more motivation to watch every episode when the competition comes to you in one small piece each week.
I found myself watching this show when I needed something to turn my mind off for a bit or was multitasking when working on my laptop. It has all of the thrills (perhaps even more) of Ninja Warrior, but seems a bit less exciting when I know I can skip ahead to a later stage of the competition with a few clicks of my Roku remote. For that reason it may have worked better as a 5 to 8 episode series rather than a 10 episode one.
I give it: 2.75 out of 5 stars*
*that’s right Netflix, I’m still using stars!