December 31st, 2007


New Discovery channel shows - so far so good (so what).

For a big sword nerd like me, the show Weapon Master has started off with a really great episode. The hosts travel to Japan to see how katana are made traditionally, and they also came back to the USA and visited Howard Clark to make a blade, which they took home. And then they got James Williams to swing their swords at some tatami mats and some actual samurai armor on a dummy. They did a "slice the bullet" test with both swords too. (Pity they didn't do a "bullet on the flat" test, but I suspect that both swords would have shattered anyway.) It's hard to tell if the host is intentionally copping a Jamie Hyneman walrus mustache or not.

Also saw the first ep of Smash Lab as well, about a week ago. Interesting stuff - using a sprayed-on polyurethane layer to help bomb-proof a building. For me personally it wasn't quite as much fun as the Weapon Master episode, but still interesting. I think I saw someone at the Disco MB boards say that they thought the younger people on the show were being coached and fed lines. That seems possible for some of the crew, but the girl Deanne Bell rings genuine to me. There were a couple of times where she said something spontaneously that to me betrayed an engineer-like thought process. (Looking up her bio it appears she has a mech-e degree. Also looking at Chuck Messer's bio, he looks like a big brain too.)

We'll see how things go as the episodes pile up. We may just be seeing the best of the best here and nothing else will live up to them. So I'll be checking these shows out again.

I have not seen the preview episode of Fight Quest yet. I think this show is an obvious copy of the History Channel's show Human Weapon. HW is a good show, and I enjoy it, so I think the Disco guys made a smart move to copy it. Again, we'll have to see how that turns out in the long run.