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In the upcoming wave of programming starting this week from SyFy you can take your pick of fighting robots, stranded paranormal investigators and paranormal interventions.

Robot Combat League

WWE wrestler Chris Jericho hosts what is essentially Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots for grown up kids. The competition style reality show Robot Combat League pairs up athletes/gamers/active types with engineers/programmers/nerd types and together they pilot and fight with large robots. We're still a ways away from action like Real Steal as these robots are tethered and anchored from behind but the teams indeed control every movement and motion on the floor. It really looks like a lot of fun to do. From the first episode it would appear that the more athletic types will operate the arms and upper torso. The engineers and scientific types operate the legs and also chip in if their robot sustains damage during the bouts.

Jericho and company really go all out to sell RCL. The carnage in the fighting ring is flashy and when actuators are broken hydraulic gushes out like a sliced arterial vein. And for all their enthusiasm they try to make it as exciting as possible. I imagine as the show goes on the dynamics of reality television will take over. Personalities will clash. Stakes will be raised. George Lucas shows up to cheer on his daughter, one of the contestants. I'll stick around for a couple more episodes but I do not know if I share the contestants enthusiasm.

Robot Combat League premieres on Tuesday, February 26th, at 10/9c. Or you can watch the first episode online.


The concept of show is that amateur paranormal investigators are left on their own at a suggested haunted location for five days. The grounds and locations are rigged up with cameras to help capture what the investigators own cameras do not. It was a concept to making a paranormal show that I first came across last year with another SyFy series, Haunted Highway, starring Jack Osbourne. It is a cheaper and more efficient means to get your thrills, I guess. Someone has to go back to these locations and take down all of the monitoring cameras afterwards, right?

Mileage on paranormal investigation varies by how much you want to believe in the paranormal. Aside from a couple of jump scares and really messed up use of dolls (see episode 1) the effectiveness of these shows depends all on the viewer's willingness to indulge the strange occurrences. Things go bump, investigators freak out, but nothing really goes pear shaped in the episodes. But then I could blame Hollywood for amping up supernatural films to unrealistic expectations. So if nothing spectacular happens in any of these paranormal investigation shows then I am not convinced that anything is really happening.

Stranded begins on Wednesday, February 27th, at 10/9c.

Haunted Collector

Troubled souls call in John Zaffis and his team when they have supernatural events at their homes or places of business. The team will poke around the haunted properties for items which may be bound by negative spiritual energy. They find these objects and remove them from the property and the owners report having no more incidents in their homes. In the season three premiere John and his team visit a horse ranch where the owner has lost five horses to mysterious circumstances and she believes the previous owner of the home is haunting her. Then they go to Niagara Falls, NY, and investigate the haunting of the Echo Club, a prominent social club for Polish residents in the region until it was sold and opened to the public.

This reminds me of a recent episode of Modern Family when Alex gets dragged to Gloria's psychic. Alex cries foul but then she sees how good Gloria feels after and she gets it. She gets why Gloria goes to this psychic. She goes there to feel better; not because the psychic is any good. I get that same sort of feeling about this show. Once the owners of the properties are told the bad items have been removed then they feel better and they never suspect anything is going wrong in their homes. This is the sceptic in me talking of course. But you know what, if John and his team are making people feel better and safer in their homes then what harm are they doing?

Season three of Haunter Collector begins on Wednesday, March 6th, at 9/8c.

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GuestFebruary 26, 2013 6:29 AM

The problem is this is real life, and when people have these kinds of irrational beliefs in real life, we get things like bills that state creationism has to get equal textbook space with evolution science.

Btw, I'm really pissed that these shows are on and Alphas isn't. But I understand it's about the money and these "reality" shows don't cost anything.

D HassFebruary 26, 2013 5:41 PM

If anything, I would suspect that the reality drama aspect of Robot Combat League would decrease. As the teams learn to work together with each other and their robot I expect the fights to take up more time as they will be more exciting. Plus as the bots get beaten down, they need to be repaired from week to week. I'm really looking forward to the way RCL progresses and evolves.

If we're lucky there will be many seasons to come, and eventually we can lose that T-Bar in the back, and this thing can become a true sport. Then my boyhood dreams can finally be realized.