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David Versus Goliath / Live-Action TV

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  • Most ancient matches of Deadliest Warrior have a fast, lighter warrior fighting a larger, stronger warrior.
  • Happens all the time in Doctor Who, with the Doctor (a lone Martial Pacifist who Doesn't Like Guns, with almost no powers beyond Super Intelligence and Resurrective Immortality) against armies and empires. Result? Almost every time, the Doctor wins.
    Dalek 1: But you have no weapons! No defenses! No plan!
    The Doctor: Yeah! And doesn't that scare you to death?
  • Season 3 of The Expanse has the former MCRN light frigate Pinus Contorta (formerly the Rocinante) engage an unnamed UNN Leonidas-class battleship. While MCRN ships are typically better than their UNN counterparts, it's still a fight between a frigate and a battleship — completely different weight classes. Through some ingenious maneuvering and novel use of torpedoes, the Contorta is able to outmaneuver and disable the larger warship.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Pretty much every fight the Mountain gets in is one of these (the actor is a multiple-time World's Strongest Man, the book version is medically speaking a giant at eight feet tall). While he does messily destroy Oberyn Martell (a Fragile Speedster), it was a Mutual Kill that ended in his returning as an even stronger Technically Living Zombie, and ruling out anyone relying on Trial by Combat to overturn Cersei's decisions. As of the final season he gets into another such fight with his brother Sandor, who ends up dropping the both of them hundreds of feet into a burning city.
    • Lampshaded and averted when Littlefinger gives his backstory, in which he fought a duel for the hand of the woman he loved. Unfortunately, Littlefinger lost out to the betrothed of the woman he loved, and he realises he's got to play things his way.
    "So I challenged him to a duel. I mean why not — I'd read all the stories. The little hero always beats the big villain in all the stories. In the end, she wouldn't even let him kill me. [snip] Do you know what I learnt, losing that duel? I learnt that I'll never win. Not that way. That's their game, their rules. I'm not going to fight them, I'm going to fuck them. That's what I know, that's what I am. And only by admitting what we are can we get what we want."
  • House of the Dragon: A tiny and teenaged Lord Blackwood challenging a huge, confident young adult Bracken knight to a fight sounds like a humiliating stomp when suitors are gathered for Princess Rhaenyra in "King of the Narrow Sea", but it's the larger man that ends up mortally wounded. The David seems surprised by his own success and unsure what to do now.
  • A common theme of Kamen Rider is heroes taking an evil force much bigger than themselves, usually with powers tied to said evil in some way.
  • Knight Rider: Garthe Knight drives a Big Badass Rig he named Goliath, which is made of the same nearly indestructible alloy KITT is made of. In their first battle, Goliath wrecked KITT, but Michael and KITT were able to win both rematches.
  • The series Kings is a modern-day retelling of the David story. In the pilot, plucky young soldier David Shepherd goes behind enemy lines to rescue some hostages — one of whom turns out to be the crown prince — and single-handedly goes up against a "Goliath" tank.
  • In MasterChef, Season 9 contestant Shanika refers to the story after being picked to go head-to-head in Episode 14 in a black forest cake challenge where the odds were against her (her opponent Emily is a strong cook who also specializes in baking, she was chosen by Emily specifically to be knocked out, and was allergic to the main ingredient (chocolate) so she couldn't taste her dish to be sure it was presentable)...and winning.
    Shanika: David has beat Goliath.
  • Villainous example, inverted: In the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, normal-size Tommy has a typical Curb-Stomp Battle with four Rangers (Jason being captured), and they summon the Megazord, which quickly overpowers him. When he is later grown to giant size by Rita, he returns the favor.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus "Scott of the Antarctic" sketch. Scott does this while facing the 20-foot high Electric Penguin, even the extent of taking off his jock strap and using it as a sling.
  • Prince James vs. The Brute in Once Upon a Time. Like Oberyn vs. Gregor, this doesn't end well for either man.
  • In Robot Wars the House Robots were producer-created enforcer robots that weren't built with any regard for the restrictions placed on competitors and used as rolling hazards and executioners of competitors that had been counted out. Occasionally the contestants would have a go at the House Robots themselves and sometimes even beat them, particularly the lighter ones like Shunt and Matilda, but the big boys Sir Killalot and Mr. Psycho were normally too much for even the most foolhardy roboteers to take on. However, during the Commonwealth Carnage event in the Extreme 2 series, the 99kg Firestorm IV tried to get under Mr. Psycho (who weighed 750kg) as he was disposing of Firestorm's beaten opponent, Panic Attack, and, well... it's the page video for a reason.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In the episode "Valiant", the titular Defiant-class ship goes up against a Dominion super-battleship in every way their superior, confident that they (a literal cadet crew, caught behind enemy lines when the war started and the senior officers killed) can exploit a design weakness to destroy it. However, it doesn't work, and the ship is appropriately stomped. That's what happens when your crew is called Red Squad.
    • In another episode, Sisko takes a parallel-universe Defiant and defeats a much larger, much heavier armed battleship. The Defiant's smaller profile and maneuverability win out over the larger ship, flying so close to the thing they couldn't get a lock on it. The main difference is that Sisko is the one in command, and his skill and experience (and some backup from the Mirror Bashir and Dax) allow him to pull off what Red Squad would later fail at.
  • Star Trek: Picard:
    • In "Absolute Candor", La Sirena versus Kar Kantar's Bird-of-Prey, with a surprise assist from Seven of Nine; the heroes in their small vessels manage to disable the warlord's larger ship.
    • In "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1", the Coppelian Orchids are dwarfed by the Borg Cube, but three of them are able to neutralize the Artifact and drag it down to the planet surface.
  • Survivor did David vs. Goliath as a theme for their 37th season of Survivor, pitting a group of underdog people with hard lives against people who live successful and rich lives. Much like the biblical story, a David ultimately managed to win.
  • In That '70s Show Kelso attempts to beat up a guy who Jackie kissed (totally ignoring the fact that he's done far worse with other girls at the drop of a hat), but he and his friends are quite shocked to find he's just picked on a black belt.
  • In the Ultra Series, more often than not the main Ultra will be pitted against the Monster of the Week which is at least a head taller than the Ultra. And sometimes, they will be fighting against Dai-kaiju, monsters which absolutely towers over the various Ultramen.
    • From Return of Ultraman, there is Ultraman Jack defeating Vacummon, a planet-devouring monster the size of galaxies, by flying into the monster's mouth and destroying its guts from the inside.
      • In the same series, later on Jack fights against Paragon, an Illusion Master kaiju which, although not the size of a mountain as it initially appears, is at least 4 times larger than Jack and towers massively over the Ultra. Jack defeats Paragon nonetheless.
    • In Ultraman Story, which is the compilation film of Ultraman Taro, Taro single-handedly defeats the hulking and nigh-unstoppable behemoth of a kaiju called Grand King by absorbing the powers from all his brothers.
    • The final arc of Ultraman Tiga have Ultraman Tiga unlocking his Golden Super Mode, which allows him to completely obliterate Ghanathor, an ancient evil that existed before time and absolutely dwarves the Ultra.
    • From Ultraman Gaia comes Zogu, the Big Bad and Fundamental Destruction Angel, whose true form is a bipedal, dragon-like monstrosity capable of stomping Ultramen like ants. Ultraman Gaia and Ultraman Agul eventually defeats her despite the sheer differences in size.
    • The final kaiju of Ultraman Max is Berserkes, an ancient juggernaut of a machine created by the Delos civilization, and can be described as a city-sized mechanical dai-kaiju. Max defeats it after an insane amount of effort in the end.
  • The first episode of World on Fire features the Real Life example of the Defense of the Polish Post Office in Danzig (now Gdansk). This trope is also name dropped when Nancy Campbell comments on the inequality between the German Army and the Polish Army:
    Nancy: You know what the Poles have got? Bicycles. You know what the Germans have got? Tanks! Panzers. I reported on David versus Goliath in Spain, it didn't turn out like it did in the Bible.
  • Young Sheldon: Invoked by Sheldon in "David, Goliath, and A Yoo-Hoo from the Back" when he confronts a bully (Jason). He even improvises a slingshot out of a pair of safety goggles. It fails to knock out Jason, who then proceeds to stuff Sheldon in his locker and leave him there overnight.