When the news hit that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan was being postponed until July 2021, I was disappointed. At the same time, I completely understood the need for safety was more important. Still, I mourned for the lack of gymnastics gracing my screen, no diving, beach volleyball. To my surprise delight, I stumbled upon Netflix’s Ultimate Beastmaster.
On a whim, I hit play. It immediately filled a hole I didn’t realize was there. Within seconds, I blurted to my partner, “This feels like the Olympics.”
If you’re missing the Olympics, looking for something fun, and if you love athletic displays, then you need to be watching Ultimate Beastmaster on Netflix.
What is Ultimate Beastmaster?
There are 3 seasons, and season 3 of Ultimate Beastmaster is definitely the best one. Start there, then work your way back.
Season 3 features the United States, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, South Korea, France, Italy, United Kingdom and Australia competing in a tournament-style bracket. Only one can be crowned Ultimate Beastmaster. Competitors take part in an obstacle course shaped to resemble a mighty beast. One athlete from each team/country runs the course per episode. All 9 episodes are good fun, but the finale is a stunner. No spoilers!
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International competitors and cohosts
The major draw that sets this apart from other obstacle course competitions is the international aspect. Getting to cheer on other countries that one has a personal connection to is so much fun. However, the hosts for each country really elevate the show. I love watching just for them.
The cohosts cheer each other on, root against each other, and crack jokes at the others’ expense all the time. Mexico and Brazil team up to frantically cheer on Latin America, Italy and France cast hexes on each other in an age-old rivalry, and everyone can agree that the Americans–clad in their flags and Lady Libby headgear–are ostentatious. The British cohosts have a bulldog plushie, and the German crew have a pretzel floatie. Sometimes, the French cohosts use a baguette as a microphone. Their energy is frenetic and adorable. We laugh at their jokes, delight at their mad-cheering for their competitor, and even their hyperbolic sadness when their athlete falls, is funny too. Threatening to jump out of their boxes in agony is a common occurance.
The international camaraderie is also felt in the sports-commentating when you hear the Korean cohost, or the German cohost say something, as an American runs the course and you read the captions for the translation. It makes you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. It feels warm and cheery, and like you’re not alone. Something as simple as language and sports stretches beyond our differences to remind us all of our commonalty.
How often can someone say the sports commentary is even better than the actual game?
The good-natured ribbing on each other and shenanigans of the cohosts is the main reason I love Ultimate Beastmaster (cringey name aside), and why it reminded me of the Olympics. It just makes me more excited for a new season and for next year.
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Strong people doing strong things
The Olympics are thrilling. Ultimate Beastmaster might not be the same thing, and it doesn’t have as much diversity in terms of sports, but it is still astonishing to see these men and women do absurd things with their bodies.
Some of the wildest obstacles on the show are a rock climbing wall where the hand holds and foot rests fall off based on time, circus-style rings the athletes climb through over water, and somehow run on a treadmill going the opposite way and jump onto another. The athletes are all incredibly strong and impressive competitors.
Motivating and inspiring
The start of a new year is famous for people buying gym memberships, full of motivation to exercise and change their bodies, or just build more muscle. The Olympics does the same thing—people are more likely to work-out, or want to work-out, after seeing people pushing themselves to the ultimate limits.
Ultimate Beastmaster inspired me to keep-up with my quarantine work-out regimen. I know I’m not going to have abs or impressive arms overnight, but I want to be able to pull myself across a wall, or hold myself up, mostly just to feel strong and cool.
If you’re looking for something to help motivate you, then switch on Netflix and let it do the work of the Olympics for you. You can even use the show as a reward. Finish a thirty minute home work-out, get to watch the show.
Watch with family and friends across the globe
For those of us with family and friends who live in different countries, it can be hard to watch the same media. Movies and TV shows don’t always release everywhere, but the Olympics breaks all those boundaries. Netflix has Ultimate Beastmaster available in multiple territories, including Mexico and the UK, and (hopefully) in the other countries that compete on the show.
You’re hooked; now what?
Luckily, we know the Olympics will be back next summer, pending the state of the world being healthy. But what about season 4 of Ultimate Beastmaster? The odds don’t look that great since season 3 came out in 2018. Before that, seasons 1 and 2 were roughly 6 months apart, so we may have seen the last of this beast. But if enough of us watch and enjoy and cheer about it, maybe Netflix will bless us with season 4. It does seem like the show is finding a new audience as quarantine stretches on. Jump on the bandwagon (2 years late) with me and let’s resurrect this beast just in time for the Olympics.
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