Face Off

March 17, 2011

Confession:  I caught most of “Face Off,” Sci Fi Channel’s competition for make-up effects artists.  I’ve actually been fascinated with all of Sci Fi’s attempts at competitive reality TV.  Because science fiction reality TV?  Bwa?  (Anyone else remember their first go, “Mad Mad Mad Mad House?”  Very disappointing, mostly because I wanted it to be like “Real World: Alternative Lifestyles,” but they had to make it a competition.  Sucked.)

I have to give them credit, because I think “Face Off” turned out well.  The four finalists were very good, and the atmosphere of the final competition was very professional, leaving the interpersonal angst that seems to be a staple of these things out of it.

Next up, Sci Fi is doing a cooking show.  A COOKING SHOW.  A science-fiction cooking show!  Bwa?!

(Ooh, you know what I’d love to see?  An astronaut training show.  A real honest-to-God astronaut training competition and the winner gets to actually be an astronaut.)

13 Responses to “Face Off”

  1. Sean Eric Fagan Says:

    All throughout the finale, I kept complaining, “FROGS DON’T HAVE SCALES YOU WANKER!”

    Unfortunately for my fiancée, she’s in China, and thus couldn’t grab the remote control and turn it off.

  2. carriev Says:

    The Lizard Prince? That working bladder throat was awesome, though…

  3. Sean Eric Fagan Says:

    It was. If it had had smooth, wet-looking skin instead of scales, it would have really impressed me.

    But he had scales on the *hand* as well. Grr!

  4. LupLun Says:

    I think there was just two “Mads” in “Mad Mad House”. You may be conflating it with that car race movie. I saw only the last three episodes, but from what I saw you’re quite right: it worked much better when it was just a bunch of people hanging out and learning tolerance. The challenges were pretty obviously thought up by someone other than the “alts”, because they were often gritting their teeth through explanations and such.

    Still, I shant soon forget Dom the Vampire learning that bowling is actually kinda fun. ^_^

    Why am I all of a sudden reminded of Kitty 7?


  5. There was, supposedly, an astronaut-training reality show which would send two winners into space. It was called Starwalker and it collapsed before filming a single episode. Some people say it was a scam all along; others say that one should never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence. I applied and was accepted (but so did just about everyone else who applied), and I’m sad it didn’t come together.

    http://ozsoapbox.com/rest-of-australia/starwalker-goes-offline-jonathan-nolans-scam-ends/

  6. Woad Hayes Says:

    Wow, I never watch that channel (largely because their attempts at reality turn what I practice (occultism and fringe beliefs) and turns it into something that even hollywood wouldn’t touch), but that sounds like an awsome show. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at creature-feature and makeup. However, for all their attempts at reality, I miss the old SciFi channel, when they would run black-and-white supernatural thrillers, horrors, and other classics. Vincent Price, anyone? Also, whatever happened to Mystery Science Theater 3000?

  7. carriev Says:

    Wow, David. VERY interesting…

    Back when the Sci Fi Channel first started I remember petitioning the local cable company to pick it up. And they started out showing lots and lots and lots of old reruns — Incredible Hulk, Twilight Zone, etc. They still occasionally knock it out of the park — the all-day marathon of the old Green Hornet TV show when the movie came out, for example. They still run Twilight Zone marathons on holidays.

    Their attempts at original programming have been…marginal to say the least. Things like the Battlestar Galactica reboot and their Dune miniseries keep giving me hope. Then they air pro wrestling and I weep.

  8. carriev Says:

    Oh, yeah, Woad Hayes, back to Face Off: I know what you mean about most Sci Fi offerings. I was impressed here because the judges were known, award winning artists themselves, and they really emphasized the skills the participants would need to actually make it in the industry. My favorite challenge was probably the one where the participants had to disguise THEMSELVES, and fool their closest relatives.

    They also tended to reward over-the-top creativity rather than technical skill, probably with the idea that skill can be taught but creativity must be nurtured.

  9. LupLun Says:

    The problem with Syfy’s series’, now and forever, is that their cancellation button is on a hair trigger. To an extent, this is the nature of the beast — Sci-Fi shows require a large budget to film and attracts a niche following that’s always eager for the next great thing. But the Syfy execs are so draconian that things almost always end with them pissing off the fans and losing viewers. When Caprica got sacked, I wasn’t surprised at all. Crestfallen, yes, but not surprised. It was hugely expensive, and a hard sell even to devoted Galactica fans.

    That’s not the first time, either. Every time they cancel a show it’s the same thing. Their forum servers nearly melted after Farscape got booted on a cliffhanger, Dresden Files got them sent drumsticks in the mail, and pretty much every incarnation of Stargate has been screwjobbed to the ire of fans everywhere. As I recall, only Lexx and Galactica left on their own terms.

  10. carriev Says:

    They even stopped airing Doctor Who, didn’t they? Is that because BBC America picked it up?

    And I wished they had aired the BBC Being Human rather than make their own… I wonder how it’s doing…

    Reality TV is cheap, which is why we keep getting the paranormal shows and wrestling.

  11. LupLun Says:

    Yeah, Doctor Who got poached from them by BBC America. Ironically, it was one of the few shows almost guaranteed not to run afoul of the red ink, since SyFy wasn’t covering the production costs. It’s too bad, too. They paired it with Battlestar Galactica. Which sounds ludicrous on the surface, but the two shows worked very well as a block. Each relieved the mental stresses the other put on the viewer.

    Anyway, I haven’t been keeping up with the news very much, but the rumor I heard is that SyFy technically still has rights to air Doctor Who, so long as BBC America gets first broadcast. They just haven’t because with the recent hiatus, they haven’t had enough material.

  12. Bradford Says:

    Anyone need a stillsuite worn by Paul Atreides? Or a dress worn by a Reverend mother from Dune? One day when I was looking for costume ideas for a Con, I discovered this site which purports to offer for sale original costumes from the SyFy Dune miniseries. (By the way, I can’t vouch for the site, but it sure looks interesting. If only I had a ton of money that needed spending!) http://www.arrakis.co.uk/colpage14.html

  13. John Fiala Says:

    My wife and I really enjoyed Face Off, although I think one of the other two should have won. But really – it’s sometimes rare that you get to the end of a reality show, and you’re willing to see any one of the finalists win.

    Apparently they’re already starting up another season.


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