The wooden coaster category looks like the class of the "Coaster Wars" series, with all four rides ranking in the top 10 of the annual Amusement Business Golden Ticket coaster poll.
The Voyage at Holiday World in Indiana, a Gravity Group-designed hybrid ride with a steel frame, is the reigning No. 1 wooden coaster in the Golden Ticket awards. Former No. 1 Thunderhead at Dollywood in Tennessee is a twister-style ride built by Great Coasters International.
The other two coasters in the category are no slouches either: the air time-heavy El Toro at New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure and The Beast at Ohio's Kings Island, the longest wooden coaster in the world.
"This is the one category people will be fighting over on the Internet," Alvey said. "It's a very interesting mix with lots of different coaster styles and manufacturers."
Alvey's pick: El Toro.
"Wrong Way Up" (July 22)
The coasters with the most upside-down inversions all reside overseas, leaving the U.S.-centric "Coaster Wars" with a strange cast of contenders in this category.
Dorney Park's Hydra the Revenge has an unusual slow-motion inversion right out of the station and Kings Island's Vortex was the first coaster with six inversions way back into 1987, but neither coaster is on any enthusiast's must-ride list.
And Wild Eagle feels like the producers wedged the Dollywood ride into this episode when they couldn't find any other place for the brand new wing coaster in the series. In fact, Medusa, Montu, Afterburn and Alpengeist would have been better contenders in this category.
That leaves Kraken at SeaWorld Orlando. The B&M floorless coaster with a trio of subterranean dives and seven inversions looks like the best of the bunch by default.
Alvey's pick: Kraken.
"Extreme Heights" (July 29)
The tallest coaster category probably includes the most impressive collection of steel coasters of any "Coaster Wars" episode.
The episode features a pair of B&M Mega coasters (Carowinds' 232-foot-tall Intimidator and Kings Island's 230-foot-tall Diamondback) as well as an Intamin Giga (Cedar Point's 310-foot-tall Millennium Force) that are all known for extreme heights and speeds.
But when it comes to pure numbers, nothing compares to the 456-foot-tall Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure, the world's tallest roller coaster.
Since all the coasters soar to the relatively rare air of 200-plus feet, Alvey decided to go with his favorite of the world-class group: Millennium Force.
"Millennium Force was built to break height and speed records," Alvey said. "When Millennium Force opened in 2000, it blew people away. Here we are 12 or 13 years later and it's still doing the things it set out to do."
"Speed" (Aug. 5)
Much like the height category, the speed episode comes down to a choice between raw statistics and personal preferences.
The final themed show includes a pair of Intamin Accelerator coasters (Knott's Berry Farm's 82 mph Xcelerator and Cedar Point's 120 mph Top Thrill Dragster) featuring nearly identical straight-up-and-down "top hat" elements.