Design Star All-Stars: weird

Immediately after concluding the latest season of Design Star, HGTV debuted a new season of the show. Design Star: All Stars, which concluded last night after just four episodes. It was, however, bizarre, and it magnifies everything that’s wrong with its sibling show.

First, if these six people were the most memorable, best designers from the past seven seasons, that’s tragic. It also indicates a major problem with this series: it has produced no stars and has cast members who are not memorable. Sure, I remembered them once I saw them: Oh, that’s right, Dan, who’s annoying! Oh, that’s right, Leslie, who’s annoying! Oh, that’s right, Sparkle Josh, who’s annoying! Oh, that’s right, Tom, who’s annoying!

Those annoying people played for $25,000 and an appearance on an HGTV show. In other words, the network doesn’t have enough confidence in its all-stars to give one of them a series. Sadface.

Second, having a four-episode, six-cast-member season is weird. It’s like tuning in to the last few episodes of a full season. However, I think there’s a good chance I’m wrong about this and my reaction is because this is something I’m not used to. Maybe it’s brilliant to not start with 12 or 15 or 18 people on a competition show, which keeps us from getting to know people well until several are eliminated.

Ultimately, the only notable part of the series is the design, and the designers’ work and the challenges were often interesting, such as their makeovers of The Facts of Life’s set. Perhaps that’s all HGTV and its viewers care about. As a reality TV viewer who rarely watches HGTV’s how-to shows, however, I wish this series had a lot more.

Design Star has shown improvements, especially since its terrible fifth season), although after an improved sixth season, it had a kind of flat season seven. It needs to be Next Food Network Star with design, but it’s not–at least not yet.

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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.