Anyway, I just watched the first Unchained Reaction episode which I DVRed overnight, and two out of two times, I've disagreed with the choice Adam and Jamie made for the winner of the competition. Both episodes have involved a scientist team (electronics experts, rocket scientists) with a more physics-oriented machine versus a Hollywood team (set constructors, special effects artists) with a more spectacle-driven machine, and in both cases I was rooting for the science guys but the FX guys won.
I just finished watching the first episode of Unchained Reaction and I agree with your thoughts on it that the show seems to be missing "something" to make it special. It's interesting but it lacks a "spark." I disagree that you think the other team should have won in the first episode though, I think the winning team's machine better showcased the "light v. heavy" concept. I do agree with the final decision they went with and not having themselves actually activate the next link in the chain. The guy at the end was the best incorporation of the idea in that he was "part of the machine" without actually having to activate part of it himself.
It bugged me through the course of the show how they kept calling them "chain reaction machines" instead of the better known term of a "Rube Goldberg Machine."