SyFy’s great SFX competition series Face Off renewed for a second season

SyFy’s competition series Face Off, which is basically Top Chef for special effects makeup artists, concludes its first season tonight, having just been renewed by the network for a second season.

What I’ve seen of the show is pretty great: Talented people demonstrating their craft in creative challenges, such as creating a horror film villain or disguising themselves from their own family members. There are minor twists to the familiar formula, too, like having the challenge winner be able to consult with the judges on who goes home, though this usually was so brief it seemed perfunctory rather than consequential.

But the judges tell us what works and what doesn’t (surprisingly refreshing) and, of course, makeup is very visual, so it’s fun to watch the process. It reminds me of Work of Art in many ways, and I adore that show.

My biggest complaint is that the show, which airs in the popular 10 p.m. Wednesday timeslot (dumb scheduling) hasn’t been easy to find. I DVRed it but the competition meant I kept missing episodes, so I’ve only seen a few. And only the first episode is online. There’s a marathon going on right now, but it would have been great to give more people the opportunity to see it.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.