At first glance, the new Netflix series “Ultimate Beastmaster” looks a lot like NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior,” but if you look deeper, it’s breaking new ground in the reality competition genre.
Created by Dave Broome (“The Biggest Loser”) and executive produced by Broome and action movie icon Sylvester Stallone, the show has a unique global element, with six different versions catering to each competing country: Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Germany, Japan and the United States. Each will include a different set of hosts speaking the native language of each country.
Over the course of 10 episodes, 108 competitors will attempt to complete “The Beast,” a 600-foot-long obstacle course dreamed up by Broome:
“I was thinking [of building something] like a transformer. That was the first image that got into my head — something that had that mechanical, monsterlike look. I talked to my graphics team and I said, ‘I want this thing to be like the size of two soccer fields,’ and they’re like, ‘This guy is freakin’ nuts. We’re not going to pull it off.’ So it started like that.”
But in this brave new world, it’s all about going big or going home and in the end, The Beast was built and now lives out in Santa Clarita, California.
“Drew Barrymore ripped us off,” Broome jokes, referring to the actress’ new Netflix show, “The Santa Clarita Diet.”
And how did Stallone get involved with “Ultimate Beastmaster”? Broome explains that he came onboard early in the process, even contributing behind the scenes:
“We had a good relationship and he really loved the concept of the show. He helped with some of the design, some of the positioning of [The Beast]. He was like, “Let’s make the shoulder blades higher than the neck. Put the head down so it looks like it’s going to attack.” He’s got a really brilliant eye for that stuff.”
But don’t expect to see Stallone running through the course, Rocky-style.
“Sylvester wanted to do it, but I wouldn’t let him. The insurance wouldn’t pay for that,” Broome admits.
In true Netflix fashion, the entire first season of “Ultimate Beastmaster” will be made available on its release date, but is this something to binge-watch or slowly savor?
“With the storyline, you don’t have to worry about missing an episode. It’s all there,” Broome notes. “As a producer, I want people to watch it the way they want to watch it.”
“Ultimate Beastmaster” will be available for streaming on Netflix on Friday, Feb. 24.
You can watch the trailer below.