Television Review: Physical 100

Okay, I’ll admit it. Back in the day, I was a big fan of American Gladiator. Sure, some of it was that I liked seeing people dodge tennis balls, but I also just liked seeing people go one on one in different, unusual competitions. So perhaps it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that when Physical 100 came across my Netflix suggestion queue, I was at least intrigued. It’s a South Korean show that looks kind of like a non-lethal version of Squid Game. They assembled 100 super strong/athletic people from across the country, and then they pit them against each other in a series of five different challenges.

I had to at least watch the first few minutes. It’s in my contract, somewhere.

For the first while, it seemed like it wasn’t really going to go anywhere. They spent a good amount of time introducing the competitors, and I knew none of them. They all knew each other, though. Watching their responses when another competitor came into the game was entertaining, and all the contestants were super enthusiastic and respectful to each other, which kept me hanging around. I had to at least watch the first competition to see how it played out.

And here we are now, with me firmly hooked on the show. Is it complex or life altering? Nope. But it’s surprising just how much drama and suspense can arise from simple premises. Establish the rules of the game, and then see how people match up to the rules. (This is also seen in many of the games on Survivor. Even simple ones like “stand on this log for as long as you can” turn into games that I really enjoy watching.) It’s also fun to be surprised along with the contestants as you find out what each new challenge will be.

I haven’t finished it yet, and usually I wait until I’m done with a show to review it, but in this case, I don’t see the point. It’s got a formula down, and that formula works wonderfully. My bet is most of you out there wouldn’t think about giving the show a second glance. If that’s the case, I think you should reconsider. So far all the bouts have been surprisingly respectful, with some of them even bordering on heartwarming, if you can believe it. It’s good clean fun from start to finish, and it’s pretty incredible what some of the contestants are able to pull off. (True, when it starts off, it focuses on each contestant’s body more than it needs to, but I suppose it’s just trying to prove to you how fit these people really are. It helps that there’s such a variety. There are men and women. Baseball players, gymnasts, strong men, dancers, and more. With some of them, you wonder how in the world they’ll ever make it past the first round. And then you’re shocked when they do.)

If you’re looking for some very watchable, easy on the brain television, look no farther. 8/10.


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