Face Off, the Syfy Channel's latest foray into reality television, has artists competing in a series of challenges -- and getting eliminated -- on the way to the grand prize. The formula is very typical of these shows, but the process of creation is interesting; and it keeps the wretched "Syfy original movie!" and wrestling at bay for a little while.

The show began with twelve contestants, living together in an apartment building and talking with or about each other. Every week the contestants, either individually or in teams of two, get a makeup challenge: create an alien, do a gender swap on an engaged couple, etc. These challenges sometimes have a twist -- when designing a zombie, for example, in addition to creativity and technical quality the makeup had to be able to being worn during a dance routine. We see the contestants working, from initial sketches and making molds, to final touches on their models. Also, of course, there are voice-overs and comments from the contestants.

Naturally, there's judging. A trio of industry professionals are there each week (plus the occasional celebrity guest judge), and they look at the results from a distance and up close, as well as speak with each contestant about their creation. Whoever the judges think did the best job gets to recommend which person gets booted off; the judges then speak to the worst performers for that week's challenge, before announcing who is gone. And that week's loser gets to pack up their makeup kit and exit.
Face Off is a show I'd describe as "seen it quite often, but..." All the usual reality show tricks are there, from people talking about each other behind their backs to dramatic music and quick cuts before a commercial break to build tension. On the plus side, watching the creations develop from a sketch to the final product is interesting (and they also show the model morph from their usual selves to what they look like with the makeup). This week is the finale, as we jump from the final three contestants to the winner. Unlike other reality shows, this is about the talent rather than the personality (American Idol, anyone?), which reduces personal favorites but keeps the focus on the work. I'm sure the winner of Face Off won't be a household name, nor am I waiting with bated breath to see who wins -- but I look forward to seeing the final creations of the competitors.

Overall grade: C+
Reviewed by James Lynch

1 comment:

Trashmaster46 said...

That actually sounds like fun to watch. And by "watch", I mean record it on DVR and skip through to see what the challenge is and what the final products for each challenge are, and skip the blathering.