If any show could make American Ninja Warrior look like child’s play, Netflix’s new racing show, Hyperdrive, is it. The series takes the same basic premise, but ups the risk factor, featuring some of the world’s best amateur stunt drivers navigating a treacherous obstacle course. Not all of the drivers are pros, but it’s not a competition for the faint of heart — which is exactly why executive producer Chris Cowan told Entertainment Weekly that when it came to bringing the show to life, "the biggest problem was danger."
The Hyperdrive crew wanted all of the drivers to be able to drive their own cars, but allowing them to do so and still ensure a safe course was challenging. "Most of the time in TV, you try and mitigate your liability in trying to make the playing field fair," Cowan told EW. "You’d maybe give them the cars and kind of control it, but we wanted them to bring their own machines to the course and try and dominate it however they possibly could. Modify your car, bring the fastest thing you can." The effort was seemingly worth it, though, as Cowan managed to pay homage to one of his "all-time favorite competition series" by creating a show that’s equal parts American Ninja Warrior and Fast & The Furious.
And he’s right: Hyperdrive’s obstacle course may be the most obvious connection between it and American Ninja Warrior, but their shared DNA actually runs much deeper than that.
They Both Pit Expert Athletes Against Everyday People
While there are a few professional drivers involved in Hyperdrive, many of the competitors aren’t: the contestants include everyone from a truck driver to a millionaire. This is the same approach as American Ninja Warrior, which pits Olympic athletes against gym enthusiasts.
The Structures Are Similar
Both shows start with a large pool of applicants, who are then slowly whittled down to the best of the best. But American Ninja Warrior contestants are eliminated as soon as they fail the course, Hyperdrive competitors stay in the game as long as someone did worse than the; only the person with the worst time is eliminated, and they keep going in rounds until only one person is left standing.
The Obstacles Themselves Are Elaborate
The Warped Wall. The Jumping Spider. The Ultimate Cliffhanger. These obstacles have become part of American Ninja Warrior‘s iconography. Hyperdrive similarly includes a number of specific and difficult challenges made just for the show, but one in particular stands out: the Leveler, a six-story contraption modeled after a See-Saw that forces drivers to use their car’s weight in order to bring the bridge to a level 180 degrees for 10 seconds. Only then can they go forward.
So whether you’re an American Ninja Warrior enthusiast who’s been craving something a little more dangerous or a Fast and the Furious fan looking for some IRL action, Hyperdrive should be right up your alley. Or, you know, if you just want to watch a bunch of people attempt some truly ridiculous things.
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