With news of FOX’s new LEGO building series, I thought that there would be more buzz about the show – at least in my home. My kids (granted they are not little any more) are just “so-so” about the new show, but personally, I couldn’t wait.
Based on the British reality competition series of the same name, LEGO MASTERS is a show that every child wants to be a contestant on…when they’re older. That’s right. There’s not kids on this show. No longer are LEGO bricks the scourge of naked adult feet and no longer are adults seen as childish for playing with them. Instead, they are “master builders,” which in Hebrew means “adults who play with toys” I think.
Hosted and produced by Will Arnett (who also produced TV’s revival of The Gong Show, just saying), LEGO MASTERS “brings imagination, design and creativity to life” when teams of adult children – sorry, “LEGO enthusiasts” – go head-to-head, with infinite possibilities and an unlimited supply of LEGO bricks. (A dream come true.) Teams of two will compete against each other in ambitious brick-building challenges to be crowned the country’s most talented amateur LEGO builders.
LEGO MASTERS is different from many other reality competition shows. Starting with the pair of contestants, the competitors come from all walks of life. There is a father and son duo, a newlywed couple, two guys with major beards from Oregon and one team who have never worked with LEGOs together before the show. (It doesn’t look good for them.) These are unique and artsy people, but the first episode really on introduces us to about three of them and unlike other shows, this one is really all about the bricks, not the people.
Another difference in this show is that the first task is amazingly difficult, which makes sense since they are all “masters.” From the get go, the contestants are tasked with making their own theme park with at least one ride that moves. They have 15 hours to do so!
Also unlike other shows, the expert judges (Amy Corbett and Jamie Berard) challenge and encourage the pairs. They are nice and friendly, but they take LEGOS seriously. They expect that the contestants take what they have to say as important.
Amy Corbett is considered a LEGO Expert with the more official-sounding title of Senior Design Manager at The LEGO Company. In her role, she helps drive the development of brand-new product lines. She has worked as a part of the concept team for The Lego Movie 2 and was a Creative Lead on the Disney product line.
Jamie Berard is the other LEGO expert who specializes in technically challenging and detailed areas of Creator Expert and Architecture, where real-world objects and places are brought to life in exquisite detail. He has been an employee of The LEGO Company for more than 13 years and currently works on LEGO products for adults and teens. Even cooler though, before joining LEGO, Berard was part of New England LEGO Users where he worked on several larger-than-life projects, including a 100,000-piece LEGO mosaic of the Boston skyline and in 2004, he was a finalist to become the next Master Model Builder for LEGOLAND California.
The teams who impress the judges the most will progress to the next round, until the finale, during which the top teams will face off for a cash prize, the ultimate LEGO trophy and the grand title of LEGO MASTERS.
The closest show I can think of to compare LEGO MASTERS with is NBC’s Making It. In fact, Arnett pokes fun at competition TV shows in general, just like Amy Poehler (his former wife) does on Making It. They both approach their shows the same way. Their way. And I like it.
The show also features some nifty LEGO animation of the finished products, which is pretty cool and had to be expensive to produce.
I will say that I find it odd that the show airs at 9 p.m. since from what I saw from the first episode, it appears to be very family-friendly. Am I mean, it should, right? Maybe that will change in later episodes?
LEGO MASTERS airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on FOX.
Main Image: Jamie Beard, Amy Corbett and contestants Nestor and Manny, (FOX)
I write about arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.