As the new season of Face Off is set to start in less than a month on SyFy, I felt it an appropriate time to share my views on the show, as I am super excited to see how this season pans out. Let me preface this by saying, there is very little that appeals to me about reality television. Forced drama, childish bickering, useless anger; I can get all of these things in my very real, very unavoidable life. But when I first heard SyFy was launching a competition show about Special Effects Make-up, I had to check it out.
Now, Face Off has been on the air for four seasons now. This is designed for those who haven’t watched or aren’t sure they would like it. First, if you don’t have a passion for the art, or if you are looking for the dram you can find on shows like The Real Housewives, this show is not for you. While there is always drama in reality television, the producers, directors, and editors of this show have done a very good job of keeping the show about the projects and not about the bickering.
The judge panel is a force to be reckoned with, in and of itself, and sometimes they are only reason to watch. Ve Neill, one of the most well known female makeup artists in the industry, has always been my favorite. Her critiques and criticisms are concise and to the point, without ripping holes in creator’s artistic soul. Glenn Hetrick, who runs his own effects makeup studio, is the most critical of the group, with an eye for the unusual and completely different. He doesn’t always like the new and cutting edge designs, but he will make a point of discussing the creativity involved in innovative ideas. Neville Page is a newer addition to the panel, and being a designer, he lends credence to concept and execution styles. They also have guest judges on the show, people like Sam Huntington (Being Human – U.S.), Tom Savini, Kevin Smith, and Gale Anne Hurd. Naturally, their opinions come from a background working in or around the field.
Personally, I love to watch the creation process of nearly all art, from concept to final piece, but living art, like makeup for film and theater, is one of the most fascinating things to watch. And the challenges grow throughout each season, putting creativity, teamwork ability, time management skills, and ingenuity to the test. The finale is always a spectical, usually with some sort of performance element.
Season 3 was set up as an “American Idol” voting style finale, and so many fans were upset by it. I felt like it debased the concept of the show by allowing untrained eyes to vote based on who they liked, not who did the best. Season 4 moved back to the original style, where merit was given based on expert opinion, something I believe was driven by the fans.
This year is shaping to be another over the top competition, full of talented artists, ready to make their mark in an under-appreciated industry.
- Syfy’s ‘Face Off’: Season 5 scoop! (popstyle.ew.com)