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By Gene Capar

Okay, so, in general I carry little more than disdain for reality TV.  I hate the drama between contestants.  I hate pretend build up for some terrible thing that doesn’t happen.  I hate watching how really annoying people live.  So, when a show of this genre can grab my attention as thoroughly as this one has, I feel the need to spout off about it.

While over the course of the last few years I have watched a few episodes here and there it wasn’t until season 6 that I really started paying attention.  Somehow, my Fiance and I completely missed season 7, and we are now about half way through season 8.  But waiting week by week to watch new episodes was not enough, luckily the old episodes can be… found (if you live in the United States they are available from the Syfy website).  Now we are going back and checking out older episodes, and they are great.  So without further explanation:

I really feel that Face Off is the best reality TV show ever, and here are my reasons:

1. The Concept Caught me off Guard

Maybe with cosplay becoming such a big deal the fact that this show exists shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it does.  But, I was kinda shocked that something that is really an industry insider idea has had enough legs to carry a mainstream audience for 8 seasons.

Basically, to explain it quickly, there are a number of contestants (usually 14) that start the season.  Each episode they’re given 3 days to conceptualize and create a movie quality make up based on a theme or idea.  For example; one week the contestants has to design a character based on a blindly chosen poker deck face card, another week based on a fake movie poster.  They then apply their character on a model and are judged by people that do effects and creatures for the movie industry.

Those in the middle are “safe” and the others are given praise or criticism as appropriate.  Out of the “top looks” one winner is chosen (the winner each week usually doesn’t receive a specific prize) and out of the “bottom looks” one contestant is sent home.

And so carries on the process of elimination each week until the season finale where the over all winner is chosen.  The winner receives a pretty massive prize (the current season is an international trip to a make-up school, a car and $100, 000).

I will go into more detail bout specifics below, but just the idea is great, especially since…

2.  It’s Sooooo Nerdy!

First of all it’s a show about making monsters, aliens, fantasy characters, and horror villains.  One episode was about designing Orcs from a clan logo, another about making a new GI Joe character based on a selected real life snake.

Second, industry people show up (for the rest of us they give a quick run down the work the guest has done) and the contestants geek out!  They know they guy’s name that did the alien work for movie X and turn into fanboys and fangirls when show up.

And not just the contestants, the judges are just as into what they are looking at.  The mentor worked on pretty much every modern Star Trek series and even their super-model looking hostess has done some Sci-Fi.

3. Very Little Drama

The jam-packed nature of the episodes move fast (almost too fast sometimes) and that leaves little time to hear how much the contestants might have problems with each other.  If you do hear drama it’s usually between team mates during a team challenge.

More often then not, the contestants help each other.  One episode there was a team that had brutal problems getting a mold to release.  So almost every other contestant came over and they all worked to get it open.

Now, some participants are more apt to breed drama than others, for example, Sasha (aka The Kiss of Death) in season 7.  She would refuse to give input during team-challenge concepts because she’s non-confrontational.  But due to having no challenge to the ideas, and her given a lack luster effort because it wasn’t her idea, they would suck, and she would watch as her team mate got sent home.

So, unlike most reality TV which is totally reliant on drama to sell the show, Face Off has something else…

4. The Talent

With a minimal idea the artists are released to design, sculpt, mold, paint, wardrobe and style their own creations.  On top of the generally amazing make ups they also have to fabricate any special pieces, body suits, or props a character might need.  While I am sure some manner of TV magic is used in the back ground (for example; the stations are clean every morning) the crazy amount of talent needed to pull off these looks just astounds me.

If I am going to watch a reality show, at least it had better be about some skill set that is impressive enough to be entertainment worthy.  Many shows of this genre do feature such skills, like singing, dancing, playing hockey, or MMA.  This one just happens to be the one that fits best into my wheel house.

So, if you have not checked this amazing show out, I really recommend it.  It has become a temporary obsession for me and my fiance, and we just can’t get enough.  Plus, at least once a show you get to see an amazing character, many of whom stick with you, or make you wish you could watch them in a movie right away.  Face Off airs weekly on Syfy in the US and on Space in Canada, check your listings for exactly when.

Thanks for reading,

Gene

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