I do not really enjoy reality shows, but Iron Chef is one of the few that can maintain my interest. Why is that? Because I don't have to tune in each week to know what is going on and because the concept was so original. Two guys competeting to prepare the greatest meal... it's fun, interesting, instructive, and not designed to simply torture the competetors. Famous chefs get to test their skills on tv as they create amazing dishes. Ingredients that always seemed so limited before suddenly explode with possibilites. And even though the battle between two chefs can be fierce with their reputations on the line, no one leaves completely humiliated but only with a will to defeat their opponent next time.
If you ever just need to kill an hour, watch this show. There is no long term commitment and it can perhaps inspire some of us lazy viewers to be a bit more daring in the kitchen.