X Factor: The Trump Card
Suffering from an unfair disadvantage early on, I would be an amorphous blob of putty in my bar-duel buddy’s sweaty and shaky-from-stage-anticipation hands. The onset of weak knees, a knotted stomach and perspiring forehead would severely diminish my chances of winning this brawl long before the bottle of Castle Rock or Greene King, or some other predictably regional British brew (a nod to X Factor’s British origins) was shattered over my head. The reason? Let’s just say that if Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Enrique Iglesias had a baby, then that baby had a baby with Antonio Banderas and Patrick Dempsey, you’d get the completely dreamy, yet seemingly misplaced, model-turned host of X Factor Steve Jones, against whose charms, dimples and Southern Welsh accent I could not and would not stand a chance. (“Can I pick up those pieces of shattered beer glass for you, Steve? Wouldn’t want you to stub a toe!”) Not to mention the other trump card this show shamelessly touts in a bar fight: where it lacks in talent or coordination, it makes up for in tenacity and sheer force of will: the deadliest weapons in any brawl.
The Walking Dead: The Deadly Combo
Who can really compete with the horse-like stamina of an exceedingly formulaic-yet-enthralling plotline that succeeds to do in an entire TV season what most rip ‘n’ roar zombie movies fail to do in two hours: beat the crap out of the same characters again and again without killing them? Now that’s stamina. Not to mention the fact that it revisits seemingly trite plotlines with a newer, darker edge of test-of-will humanity (SPOILER ALERT: like teasing the idea of blowing up 15 civilians against their will at the CDC during last season’s finale). Stamina paired with an unswerving will to tackle redundant man vs. man vs. the dead story-arches. Now that’s a deadly combo of post-apocalyptic zombie-dom served straight up with a twist! Did I mention the fact that I hate blood? Well, not while it’s still running in people’s veins. That’s totally cool. This series would tear me a part in a bar fight, and would affectionately leave the guts and gore behind for stragglers (or hipsters).
Terra Nova: The Sucker Punch
First of all, the wind-up-toy drill-sergeant from Avatar is in this series (“if you wind him up enough times, you’ll hear every banal cliché and hackneyed drill-sergeant brash-but-motivating one-liner ever written”). This kind of annihilates any fair playing ground from the get-go. Secondly, any series that is willing and able to synthesize the plotlines of Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Mad Max, An Inconvenient Truth, 12 Monkeys, Jurassic Park, Back to The Future, The Time Machine, Logan’s Run, Stargate, Swiss Family Robinson, and National Lampoon’s Vacation, and actually come out the other side in a strained-yet-cohesive whole that appeals to pretty much any and all fans (ranging from Sci-Fi to Family to Action-Adventure) is a sucker punch in any bar battle in my book. This guy is fearless, fragmented, multi-layered and antagonistically complex in a family-friendly fashion. And then there are the dinos to compete with. I mean, really? I’d sooner expect Nicholas Cage to fly in, Deus ex Machina, blowing bubbles while knitting T-shirts that say “Time Travel Sci-Fi Shows Are for Mullet-Lovers” than to beat this bad boy in a drunken altercation. I rest my case.