ABC's "Wipeout" uses an obstacle course as a vehicle for comedy. "Ninja Warrior"
(an edited version of a Japanese show called "Sasuke") takes the concept more seriously -- and it's fascinating to watch the competitors, who range from everyday people to Olympic-level athletes, try to traverse a devilishly tough, four-stage obstacle course. There's the mildly sadistic pleasure of seeing competitors eat it, sure, but also genuine admiration when the few who make it through each round complete the course.
-- Rick Porter, Zap2it