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Cool show, very bad idea

February 24, 2010 - Keith Frederick
Ok, I realize I missed the boat here, in terms of timeliness, but I'm going to go right ahead and assume I'm not the only person who didn't see this show on the first run, which was last April through August.
Last night, while flipping through channels and waiting for the debut of the WWE's new show NXT - very good product, finally bringing one of the world's best pro wrestlers, Bryan Danielson, to the world's biggest wrestling company - I stumbled across a Spike series that I had never seen before. 
"Deadliest Warrior" uses scientific analysis to determine which of two legendary warriors would be the best - the "deadliest." They do this with input from weapons and combat experts, as well as power, precision and skill analysis. Once the data is collected through weapon and skill demonstrations from the experts, a biomedical scientist and medical expert give the numbers to a programmer whose combat simulation program hypothesizes a battle between the two 1,000 times over. The combatant who wins the most simulated battles is the "deadliest warrior."
Confused? Basically, the show features history and weaponry experts geeking out about the coolest warriors from the past - samurai, gladiators, Apache, ninja, etc. When they're done playing with weapons, they have make believe fights to see which legend is most awesome.
The episode I watched last night pitted Vikings against Samurai. After a bit of background, they compared four kinds of weapons - short-range, mid-range, long-range and special weapons. The weapons experts did demonstrations with the weapons, attacking things like gel-molded skeletons, animal carcasses and stationary targets to determine the affect the weapons would have on a real human.
After seeing a katana slice clean through two pig carcasses stacked on top of one another, a Viking great axe slicing the dummy's head clean off and the Samurai expert shooting the eyes out of a dummy from 25 feet away, I was hooked. This show was the pinnacle of freakin' sweet, as Peter Griffin would say. The simulation determined the Samurai the more deadly warrior, then a pair of experts acted out the hypothetical fight for the Spike cameras.
Awesome.  I was hooked. I was already looking forward to the new season's start in April.
But then a second episode came on. The deadly warriors this episode profiled? The Provisional Irish Republican Army (The IRA) and the Taliban. I'll repeat that...
The IRA and the Taliban.
Two of the most horrible terrorist groups in the world, responsible for countless thousands of deaths. Though Spike repeatedly ran disclaimers about not condoning the politics of either group, the show still called them "warriors." These people are not warriors. Terrorists are not warriors. They are cowards. I can only hope that someone got fired for this episode, because the fact that it even exists is disgusting.
Considering season 2 is supposed to pit actual historical warriors against each other more often (Attila the Hun vs Alexander the Great is supposed to be the premiere), I might give it a try, but these people should be ashamed of themselves.

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