Iron Chef America
You guys may or may not have heard of Iron Chef America. It's basically the American fork of the Iron Chef. I really like Iron Chef (IC), and I'd heard good things about Iron Chef America (ICA), so I thought I'd [legally obtain] some episodes. I was expecting good things, if only because I was hoping they'd use some ingredients I actually knew about and create dishes I could understand.
The good news is, ICA is as crazy as IC, but in a more American Way. The chairman is still Japanese, and he's even a martial arts guy to boot, but he still doesn't have the presence of the Chairman Kaga. However, he still seems to be a complementary "character" to Kaga, and the show itself seems to be rather "hand-in-hand" with the original IC. For example, the show I watched had two American Iron Chefs versus two Japanese Iron Chefs (Iron Chef French Sakai and Iron Chef Japanese Morimoto). There's a twist but I won't give it away. Incidentally, Morimoto becomes the new Iron Chef Japanese after Michiba, and he even does battle against one of the American Iron Chefs, possibly before ICA was launched. I think we still haven't seen huge chunks of IC in Australia.
The format of the show is somewhat different. They don't spend as long talking about the theme ingredient (in the 2vs2 show I saw there was actually 3 theme ingredients, but that could've been because it was 2vs2). They also don't spend nearly as long introducing the Iron Chefs and the Chairman. I think both the American Iron Chefs and the Chairman lose a lot of their "presence" because of this, but as a result the rest of the show can be made longer. The other real advantage is that you don't have to repeatedly watch the same footage over and over.
The commentary system seems entirely different. Instead of the usual 'doc who guesses what they're trying to make, and others who play along, there seems to be just the one commentator. The floor commentator also seems to take his time and basically is less useful than in the japanese version. Still, maybe it was just that one episode. Pretty much total chaos is hard to put commentary on.
Anyway, it seems like it actually is a great show, and I can't wait for it to hit our shores (if ever).