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ABC Season 1 was the first reboot season of BattleBots to air since the show was axed by Comedy Central. It ended a hiatus of over 12 years since the final televised episodes of the classic era, and saw several veteran competitors return with the show.

Much like the original show, BattleBots on ABC had two main hosts who also served as commentators. The network picked up sports broadcaster Chris Rose and former MMA fighter Kenny Florian to present the show and commentate battles. Sportscaster Molly McGrath, then working for FOX Sports at the time, also served as a third presenter, becoming the main personality for introductory, intermission and closing segments alongside Rose and Florian. American actress Alison Haislip filled the role of pit reporter for the season, and the role of ring announcer was filled by Philadelphia-born Faruq Tauheed.

The reboot was announced in February 2015, with co-founders Greg Munson and Trey Roski still at the helm.[1] ABC uploaded a season trailer on June 16 2015, over two minutes in length, by far the longest season trailer to date.

It begins with Faruq narrating over shots of teams welding and preparing for the competition ahead, before several are introduced through their professions. Notably, Andrea Gellatly (then Suarez) of Witch Doctor, Ray Billings of Tombstone and Matt Maxham of Stinger, showcasing the variety of people competing. Faruq's narration continues as international teams are teased, though only Team Warhead are revealed, returning from the Comedy Central era. Throughout the second half, clips of multiple fights, team celebrations and BattleBox entrances are shown until the trailer cuts to the season premiere date and time.

The main competition was a single-elimination tournament, meaning a straight knock-out bracket. Unlike in the classic era, the show exclusively featured heavyweight robots weighing up to 250lbs. Some competitors had an additional minibot to serve as a distraction, however the weight of the minibot could not take the overall entry above the 250lb weight limit. ABC Season 1 featured a total of 24 competing robots which were selected from applications, with an additional four selected as reserves in case of drop-outs.

The 24 were split to fight in twelve 1v1 battles, and the 12 winners were joined by four wildcard options - losing robots which the selection committee handed a second chance. This resulted in a total of sixteen competitors after the initial qualifiers, dubbed the "Sweet 16" by the show. From then, the remaining bots fought in further 1v1s to advance in the competition until a winner was found, and would take home the Giant Nut trophy.

Champion Runner-Up Semi-Finalists Quarter-Finalists
Bite Force Tombstone Bronco

Ghost Raptor

Witch Doctor

Stinger: The Killer Bee
Overhaul
IceWave

Tombstone won the Most Destructive Robot award at the end of the season, and the Best Design award was won by Warhead.

Qualifying Rounds[]

Episode 1: The Battle Begins: Qualifying Round Part 1[]

Alternatively titled Series Premiere: Qualifiers.[2]

Icewave vs. Razorback
Plan X vs. Wrecks
Bite Force vs. Warhead*
Warrior Clan vs. Nightmare
*Selected to advance as a wildcard.

Episode 2: The Battle Begins: Qualifying Round Part 2[]

Alternatively titled Crunch Time: Qualifiers Part 2.[2]

Lock-Jaw vs. Overhaul*
Bronco vs. Witch Doctor*
Tombstone vs. Counter Revolution
Stinger vs. Captain Shrederator (highlights only)
OverDrive vs. Chomp* (highlights only)
Radioactive vs. Sweet Revenge (highlights only)
HyperShock vs. Mohawk (highlights only)
Ghost Raptor vs. Complete Control
*Selected to advance as a wildcard.

Top 16[]

Episode 3: Full Metal Bracket: Round of 16, Part 1[]

(2) Icewave vs. Chomp (15)
(5) Stinger vs. Warhead (12)
(10) Ghost Raptor vs. Warrior Clan (7)
(4) Bronco vs. Plan X (13)

Episode 4: Last Chance to Advance: Round of 16, Part 2[]

(9) Witch Doctor vs. OverDrive (8)
(11) Overhaul vs. Lock-Jaw (6)
(1) Tombstone vs. Radioactive (16)
(3) Bite Force vs. HyperShock (14)

Top 8[]

Episode 5: The Great 8: Quarter-Finals[]

(4) Bronco vs. Stinger (5)
(1) Tombstone vs. Witch Doctor (9)
(3) Bite Force vs. Overhaul (11)
(10) Ghost Raptor vs. Icewave (2)

Top 4[]

Episode 6: The Finale[]

Alternatively titled One Bot Rules Them All: The Championship.[2]

Semi-Finals
(1) Tombstone vs. Bronco (4)
(3) Bite Force vs. Ghost Raptor (10)
Exhibition Rumble
Nightmare vs. Overhaul vs. Witch Doctor
Final

(3) Bite Force vs. Tombstone (1)

ABC Season 1 has been repeated on multiple channels and streaming sites in North America since its initial airing, including Disney XD.[3]

International Broadcasts[]

The season aired on Canadian channel Z, owned by Bell Media[4] as well as Game TV.[5] Discovery Latin America aired the 2015 competion in Mexico and much of South and Central America, as a sister channel of the Discovery Network.

In August 2016, it was announced that a deal had been struck to air both ABC seasons of BattleBots in the UK on Channel 5's Spike.[6] Various trailers of twenty, thirty and forty seconds in length were uploaded to Channel 5's YouTube channel on August 26, 2016. An exact air date is unknown, as all three trailers said it was "coming soon" to Spike. The longest trailer starts with blueprints of a range of locomotive vehicles that have been invented over the course of history, before transitioning into snippets of 2015 season fights. This introductory piece is absent from the two shorter trailers. The trailers noticeably hone in Ray Billings' Tombstone as it is shown shattering a lamp as well as dealing numerous hits from its win over Counter Revolution. Other fights are also shown, noticeably one containing Warhead from the builders of Robot Wars icon Razer, perhaps to appease a British audience. All three trailers are very similar, with the shorter ones simply being more condensed. BattleBots ultimately aired on Spike soon after, and ABC Season 2 followed in 2017. Alongside the second season, ABC Season 1 was made available to UK Netflix in 2021, partially uncensored, remaining on the service until 16 August, 2022.

Season 1 of BattleBots aired in much of Europe too, courtesy of Discovery's respective international channels. BLAZE was responsible for airing the season in Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar, whereas in 2019, Gulli initially aired the season in France[7] before it became available on Netflix. Interestingly, the Gulli broadcast of BattleBots omitted Chris Rose and Kenny Florian in favor of French-speaking presenters: actor Issa Doumbia and comedian Nicolas Ciattoni, otherwise known as "Cartman".[8] The show was titled BattleBots: Le Choc des Robots, translating to "BattleBots: Clash of Robots". A&E Networks Italia also covered countries such as Italy, Switzerland and San Marino.

Nine Network's 9Go showed the season in Australia, whereas the country's offshoot of Discovery covered much of the Oceanian region. Persian channel Manoto 1 showed the 2015 season in Iran, with the Middle East otherwise covered by their respective sister channel to Discovery. According to the BattleBots website, ABC Season 1 was also shown in-flight with Emirates Airlines in the United Arab Emirates.[9]

African countries were again covered by Discovery Africa, with BLAZE also showing the season in countries including but not limited to Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau.

Critical Reception[]

Trivia[]

  • ABC Season 1 was the only season to feature Molly McGrath, who went on to pursue work with ESPN in 2016.
  • This season saw the first heavyweight BattleBots champion to use tracks for locomotion - Bite Force.
  • As of the most recent season of BattleBots, ABC Season 1 has aired in over 150 countries in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia.
  • This season saw the only set of semi-finals comprised of three of the four top seeded bots. The only omission was No.2 seed Icewave after their surprise loss to Ghost Raptor.
  • Strangely, whereas the longest and shortest of the three trailer variations for Spike uses Daft Punk's "Robot Rock" in the background, the 30-second trailer uses more generic electronic music. This was later reused for the trailer for ABC Season 2 on the same UK network.
  • While preparing the BattleBox ahead of the new season, a bird's nest was discovered underneath the floor.

References[]

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