Iron Chef USA, Two Culinary Clashes
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Due to the rising popularity of the show from cable subscribers, the UPN TV network decided to broadcast an American version of the show in 2001 that was produced by the Larry Thompson Organization and Lions Gate Television of Canada. Unfortunately, these two companies failed to effectively reproduce the elements of the Japanese show that had made it so popular. Instead, they created a poorly written & directed substitute that was akin to watching a WWF wrestling match, not a challenge between two professional chefs.
The first mistake that the Larry Thompson Organization and Lions Gate Television made was in their selection of the new chairman for "Iron Chef USA". Though I very much enjoy William Shatner in his roles as Captain Kirk in the original "Star Trek" TV series, T.J. Hooker in the show of the same name and his more recent role as an attorney in "Boston Legal", his attempt at being chairman of "Iron Chef USA" was far too farcical and clownish to be taken seriously in trying to replicate Takeshi Kaga's flamboyance from the original Japanese TV series. Their next mistake was in the commentaries.Read more ›
The original's translation from Japanese to English while maintaining its original form is fine enough. Even "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" was done more justice when brought into America from Japan's "Go Rangers." And the stars of that series were very easy to handle, no problem. I stopped watching them after the "Lightspeed Rescue" came into play. But since I'm talking culinary programs like IC, I love EVERYTHING about the original: the Kitchen Stadium, the cinematography, the seven talented Japanese cooks themselves, Chairman Takeshi Kaga...you name it. To me the true IC looks and feels like NOTHING on the Nielsen ratings - then, now, or probably ever. That's proof of my love for it. Emeril would have done a better take on it than Chris Kattan, Horatio Sans, and Charlie Sheen.
I didn't think Shatner would be the host of these limited edition "Iron Chef USA" specials. Unfair to the original, because I don't like this IC's scenery and the audience. The Kitchen Arena (based in Las Vegas!Read more ›
I watched the first episode of this show on cable and did not like it at all. But I rented this DVD the other night regardless. Since I had not seen the second episode of this series, I rented it just in case the television folks had "tweaked" some things after the first episode aired. Now it is pretty clear to me that these episodes were shot back to back--both were equally poor.
Now I loved the original Iron Chef series--it was different, educational, gave insights into the Japanese culture, etc. The American version just checked all goodness at the door. Instead of content, the series is filled with over the top hype (a crowd reminiscent of a Jerry Springer audience, a motorcycle onstage, goofy announcers complete with yellow jackets which reminded me of Monday Night Football circa 1979.) The cooking process and quality of the food are almost treated as secondary items. Even the description of the dishes during the tastings are poor; I half-expected someone to say, "Uh, this is some pretty good grub."
And William Shatner is almost a comic foil here--for the DVD I was at least hoping for some strange "extras" that would spotlight this (for example, how about William Shatner watching footage of Chairman Kaga, or practicing his chairman pose, or even humorous outtakes?) But there was nothing like this.
I guess that I can summarize all of this by stating that I would not tell Iron Chef fans to go out of their way to even watch these episodes on television, for free! Paying for the DVD makes no sense at all. This both a waste of time and money.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Shatner. Shatner, overacting about gourmet food, surrounded by commentators that know next-to-nothing but chefs that are excellent.
It's fun and ridiculous. Read more
The original Iron Chef was a great thing to behold, both because of the competition and the intertwining of Japanese culture. Read morePublished on December 7, 2006 by calvinnme
But IRON CHEF USA isn't all that bad. I'm a big fan of the Japanese Iron Chef program and was, heeding reviews of the Iron Chef USA television series when it first came out, a... Read morePublished on March 29, 2005 by Steven Hellerstedt
Do not confuse this with the Real thing. i found teh VHS of this for $1 at a store near me. I was interested so i got it. Read morePublished on December 11, 2004 by Bigb5399
Ok, first of all I have to say that I love the original Japanese Iron Chef. I don't tape all the episodes to keep, but I certainly make an effor to tape them if I have to be out... Read morePublished on July 21, 2004 by C. S. Stockwell
I just would like to thank the person from Seattle, WA who discovered that this DVD is NOT the one that airs on the Food Network, which is what my husband and I LOVE. Read morePublished on December 17, 2003
I'm not criticizing the VHS/DVD; I haven't yet seen it. What bugs me is the fact that I was ready to order an Iron Chef video, but not until Checkout did Amazon. Read morePublished on December 7, 2003