Home  >>  Write  >>  Entertainment  >>  TV  >>  Reality TV  >>  Survival Reality TV  >>  PBS - Warrior Challenge


PBS: Warrior Challenge

Finally, history’s greatest question will be answered: Who would win in a fight between a gladiator and a Viking?

By Professor Tomas Illnyvik

In all of my time as a history professor at the Institute of Higher Learning in New Haven, I have been able to provide clear answers to historical questions that my students have had.  I have performed extensive research on a number of time periods including Middle Age Britain, 18th century colonial Latin America, and modern day Africa.  I have managed to examine the social affects of land reform and have an abundance of theories of the best way to create a viable political state for a recently independent nation.  However, there has been one historical question that has always bothered me: who would win in a fight between a gladiator and a Viking?

Although history has produced a number of excellent military groups that have distinct fighting styles such as the Japanese samurai, the British knights, and the Canadian Mounties, I have always felt strongly that there’s nobody as tough as a gladiator or a Viking.

For those of you who know little about a gladiator, you should watch the Russell Crowe movie The Gladiator.  Although it isn’t the most historically accurate movie, it has amazing fighting scenes.  The Vikings?  Easily the most underrated terrorizing army throughout history.

But I digress because finally I have been able to gain some answer to this historical question of mine from an unlikely source.  Although I am not the biggest fan of reality television (reality TV to the common folk), I am a huge fan of public television (for some reason, nobody refers to this as public TV).  Well, one day I was flipping through PBS and discovered the greatest reality TV show ever!  PBS: Warrior Challenge is a hard-hitting show that pits four legendary groups of warriors throughout history against each other.

I’m sure your asking yourself, does PBS have access to a time machine, and if you were my student, I’d tell you to stop being such a smartass.  The beauty of PBS: Warrior Challenge is that it takes modern day servicemen with similar jobs as their historical predecessors and gives them the task of fighting as knights, Vikings, Roman soldiers, and gladiators.

Putting its contestants through a boot camp similar to what life would have been like for these warrior clans, PBS: Warrior Challenge is both entertaining and educational.  While some may enjoy the show for watching the knights attempt to storm a Roman fort guarded by Roman soldiers, historical lovers like myself would be delighted to learn what traveling life was like for the Vikings.  This four-part reality TV series is another example of the forward thinking of PBS and hopefully it will expand to another series.  Perhaps in the next PBS: Warrior Challenge, there will be room for cowboys and janissaries.

About the author:
Professor Tomas Illnyvik is a history professor at the Institute of Higher Learning in New Haven where he teaches a popular class on Ancient Roman ceramics.  A big fan of warriors throughout history, Professor Illnyvik has attempted to bring the premise of PBS: Warrior Challenge back to New Haven by trying to convince historical recreationist groups to New Haven and battle one another.  So far, all groups have declined.