American Gladiators courtesy Trae Patton/NBC American Gladiators courtesy Trae Patton/NBC
The when:

American Gladiators premieres Jan. 6, at 9 pm/ET, then moves to Mondays at 8.

Why watch?: This revamped guilty pleasure (originally conceievd in 1989) is guaranteed entertainment. It's no secret that people go crazy for reality TV, and if the success of recent combat-related shows The Ultimate Fighter and Pros vs. Joes is any indication, this former fan favorite will easily find a place in the DVRs of today's audiences, especially with the addition of reality TV darlings Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali. What's what: A new horde of hulking Gladiators, crammed into doll-sized spandex outfits that look painted on their bodies, has arrived to offer 24 amateur athletes the chance to test their mettle in classic events such as Joust, Power Ball, and The Wall, along with a few adrenaline-pumping updates to the old formula. Who's who: Former pro-wrestler Terry "Hulk" Hogan and champion boxer Laila Ali are the hosts of this latest version. The Gladiators are all fresh faces, but their names are just as ridiculous as ever. Just don't tell Militia, Titan, Hellga, or Fury I said that, 'cause this time around the muscles are even bigger than the hair - except in the case of Wolf, who looks like Sabretooth from X-Men, only with more bounce. What's next: The platforms are higher, the events are more intense, and the losers are wetter than ever. You read that right. Defeat in certain challenges results in the loser plummeting from a platform into a tank of water rigged with underwater cameras for your viewing pleasure. The competition is as fierce as ever, and at the end of the season only one man and one woman will remain to collect the well-deserved $100,000 prize. Say what?!: These contestants had better watch out, because these Gladiators are as tough as they come. Gina "Crush" Carano is a trained cage fighter with an undefeated record, Tanoai "Toa" Reed is a professional stuntman whose cousin is none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Mike "Titan" O'Hearn, who was an alternate during the series' last run, has won the title of Mr. Universe four times. What do you say? Will you give Gladiators a look during these lean TV-watching times, if only for its retro vibe? - Thomas Gilmore Use our Online Video Guide to get to know the Gladiators, meet the "mortals," and better acquaint yourself with the truly outrageous tasks ahead. More Strike Survival guidance from " Showtime's The L Word: Why You Should Go that Way " HBO's The Wire: Why You Should Tap into It " What to Watch: Your Guide to January Premieres