TV Binge: Sugar Rush:Extra Sweet (Season 3, 2020) & Sugar High (2020)

Sugar Rush: Extra Sweet (Season 3, 2020)

sugar rush extra sweet

Host: Hunter March
Judges: Candace Nelson & Adriano Zumbo
Guest Judges: Fortune Feimster, Naya Rivera, Justin Willman, Tyler Posey, Garcelle Beauvais, Ron Ben-Israel

A baking competition with 4 teams, 3 rounds, 2 cakes and 1 winner of $10,000. – IMDB

Season 3 of Sugar Rush is pretty much the same as the previous seasons. They run in the general same structure of having 4 teams and 3 rounds which leads to two rounds of elimination and 2 final teams battling it out in the final round and saving up time for their final rounds. Season 3 is titled Extra Sweet. This adds in the new element of ingredients requirement matching with the theme of the episode. For each rounds, there is a different shelf of certain items that have a minimum required of items to incorporate into the dessert to elevate the theme that that round whether its cupcake, confection or cake.

Its nice to see that Sugar Rush is changing up its formula a little. Sugar Rush has a decent concept and it runs at only six episodes a season, which makes it fairly binge-able as long as you are into this type of baking reality competition series. Its a serious and professional baking competition so its good in smaller doses (I usually watch an episode or two and stop). They find some fairly good guest judges. In this case, they had a few judges that was previously on Nailed It!, I believe and then also adds (sadly) the last reality show appearance for Naya Rivera. They all are rather fun and give some decent feedback for the most part about the desserts. The “Extra Sweet” addition to this season does add a little challenge and it usually can see how daring the teams are and their creativity.

Sugar Rush is at its third season. If baking reality competition series are your thing, this one is pretty good. I don’t think its quite as bingeable because its a lot more of a serious baking competition but I do enjoy the interaction of the judges, Candace Nelson and Adriano Zumbo as well as most of the guest judges here. They had some nice fancy baked creations that was quite fun to watch. The time element feels like the tension from the first few seasons has worn itself down where that’s no longer something that feels like its not doable. All the competitors just make it work 100% of the time and things that happen is more technical issues that they run out of time to fix. Its still fairly entertaining to watch overall.

Sugar High (2020)

sugar high 2020

Host: Hunter March
Judges: Jackie Sorkin, Rebecca DeAngelis, Stéphane Tréand

Contestants compete in two rounds of sugar sculpting challenges for a prize of $10,000. – IMDB

Sugar High is a one episode spin-off of Sugar Rush except with a focus on sugar sculptures and sugar confections. With that said, other than the host Hunter March remaining the same, the judges have all changed who are knowledgeable about this area of expertise.

Sugar High is separated into two rounds. The first round is about making confections to fit the criteria set out. Its meant to be a feast for the mouth and the eyes in many ways. The second round is about making these beautiful sculptures that also fit another set of criteria. In this case, it was the height, which is a challenge for desserts as we know from Sugar Rush challenges but with sugar sculptures, its even more fragile.

Its only one episode. I’m not sure whether this is just testing the waters to see how many people will be interested and the feedback or just a one off deal to add some variety to show off sugar work. I honestly think its like watching an art work come to life which is a nice change in pace. Sugar work is something that doesn’t seem to have that much emphasis but from this one episode, it seems like there’s quite a bit to discover and learn. Different way to work with sugar and the challenges that comes with working with something that sensitive to heat and craftsmanship. One episode isn’t enough to say much but I’d be down to at least watch a few more episodes of this.

TV Binge: Twogether (Season 1, 2020)

Twogether (Season 1, 2020)

twogether

Cast: Jasper Liu, Seung-gi Lee

Paired together for an unforgettable trip across Asia, stars Lee Seung Gi and Jasper Liu become buddies as they connect with fans and local cultures. – IMDB

For fans of Jasper Liu and Seung-Gi Lee, both stars now having their own Netflix Original series, this pair-up for the travel reality show with a little bit of challenges and games added in is a fairly fun adventure. Essentially, the concept is that these two go to different Asian countries, they land at night and choose which location to go that their fan from that country has recommended. At each location, if they beat their challenge, they get a clue which narrows down the location of where the fan lives. As they move through one location to the next, its a strategy to see where to go to maximize their time since before a certain time if they don’t find their fan, they need to catch the plane to the next location. Most of the fans don’t know that they are going to find them so its a surprise and the other surprise is that, they don’t know whose fan it is.

In the current world of when this is released, we can only find travel on Netflix. Yet again, a show that releases at a good time. To be fair, the travel element is there as a unique backdrop for the reality game show element. There is some education on the different places they visit and the landmarks in those countries from a local. However, the game show element is where the show has the most fun as the show’s structure: challenges, travel allowance budget and language barriers between the two at the beginning, plus any Asian game show viewers knows that the director/crew always has it out for the people involved to make things harder.

To be fair, I’m not a Jasper Liu or Seung-gi Lee fan mostly because I haven’t watched anything of theirs (but Jasper Liu’s Triad Princess is on my to-watch list). Call this Netflix’s big scheme to give their show some extra promotion, which it probably is but it worked for me since I definitely did bump up my priority to watch their works. Its mostly entertaining in a very Korean variety show style with the comments made in post-editing to the scene (at least from my memory since its been more than a decade that I haven’t watched Korean shows). These two get together well and they both are fairly chill people who have a lot of fun with each of their challenges. At the same time, this is a good concept to have and more places should implement it (when this whole pandemic hopefully/eventually ends) to give fans an opportunity to meet their idols. There are some moments that it is rather touching to watch. Especially with the global presence of Netflix, its great to see that shows like this has an outlet to combine these stars from different countries together and in reality, its really cross-promotion but still achieves its entertainment element while promoting some of these beautiful locations in Asia.

TV Binge: Crazy Delicious (Season 1, 2020)

Crazy Delicious (Season 1, 2020)

crazy delicious s1

Host: Jayde Adams

Judge: Heston Blumenthal, Carla Hall, Niklas Ekstedt

Carla Hall, Niklas Ekstedt and Heston Blumenthal will judge as three cooks will battle it out to create the best feast.The set will be entirely edible and will contain edible blossom, chocolate soil, and a drinkable babbling brook. – IMDB

Joining the Netflix competition series in June was Crazy Delicious, a British cooking competition hosted by Jayde Adams and judged by three “gods”, Carla Hall, Heston Blumenthal and Niklas Ekstedt. The structure of the competition works with 3 new contestants every episode. Each episode is separated into 3 challenges. The first challenge is called The Magic Ingredient where each contestant has to make that ingredient (mostly everyday things) into some hopefully crazy and delicious and highlights its flavors. The winner of the first challenge wins 10 minutes head start in the second challenge. The second challenge is The Reinvention where the contestants need to reinvent a popular food like burgers and pizza for example. The one of comes up last in after the first two challenges will be eliminated. The next two battle it out in the third challenge called The Final Feast where its themed like brunch. Being the final challenge, whoever wins this one (evaluating overall performance usually) will win for that episode/round.

The structure itself is pretty solid. Its a good set of parameters and usually the everyday things that we encounter are good because its so familiar and yet, its hard for most to think out of the box. Of course, the show proves that tons of people do think out of the box. The reinvention is probably the best part of episode as it still maintains the three contestants and usually has some rather wild meals prepared. The structure does work and keeps it very fun. Different from other cooking competition, this one is a new batch of contestants (just like the expert cooking version of the amateur baking show Nailed it, right?). The food and cooking is much more sophisticated and its about being creative and different so its rather interesting to see all these concepts and ideas come to life (or at least partially in some cases).

As much as we can talk about the rather charming host Jayde Adams, the judges are pretty good. They are well-rounded as the different places they are from form their different areas of expertise. They are fairly entertaining although I’m not quite sure why they had to call them “gods” and then do some lame lightning and thunder when they descended to give the final winner. Its a bit odd on both of those choices but I guess its for the entertainment value. However, aside from those elements, the truly enchanting part of this competition might be the edible garden that its set up in where the contestants can walk around the forage whatever they need. Its a unique way to approach looking for ingredients.

Overall, Crazy Delicious has a lot of elements that work in the realm of whats it trying to achieve. It has a common structure that works for its cooking competition format. The judges themselves are fairly good and have some rather dynamic moments. Jayde Adams is pretty fun to watch especially the silly segments in the opening when she introduces the show and takes a bite into the different props, setting the show up for a quirky adventure. Its definitely quirky from its variety of contestants and the different angles they take. But there’s this element of this Crazy Delicious that feels like its missing a spark somewhere, maybe its all a very common route to take and doesn’t have that unique twist that makes it stand out more than an edible garden that lowers the rewatchability of the show and even the bingeworthiness of the show (although its only 6 episodes, so its easy to get through).

TV Binge: Queer Eye (Season 5, 2020)

Queer Eye (Season 5, 2020)

Queer Eye Season 5

Cast: Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness

A new Fab Five set out to Atlanta Philadelphia to help some of the city’s people refine their wardrobes, grooming, diet, cultural pursuits, and home décor. – IMDB

Season 5 of Queer Eye couldn’t have been released at a better time. With the world being hit by many things including pandemic. Its not been a great 2020 and yet, Queer Eye’s message from the first season always feels like we’re not defined by our differences but our similarities and that’s why every season, we see them moving to different place in the United States as well as picking different people with varying gender, backgrounds, etc. With the latest season changing base to Philadelphia, its yet another batch of “heroes” to discover all with their own touching stories.

At the fifth season of Queer Eye, its still full steam ahead. There are some very small changes to their structure. Its not really needed since they had a pretty good balance. With each person and what they need to makeover, its more about finding that more emotional change to clear out some of that emotional baggage and burden and then balancing it with the other external elements of style, home design/organization, food, grooming. In that sense, while Karamo’s role of culture is a big one, it meshes in with some of the other Fab Five’s task.

What really does stand out in Season 5 is that this season, they picked a lot of people who on different levels related more to one of the Fab Five group and gives them their time to guide each of these people with their own personal experiences. It feels like sometimes the show does help the people they choose but at the same time, it also helps the Fab Five grow as well as there is an obvious change (in a good way) of how they are as people. One of the best parts of watching shows like this is not only seeing the nice makeovers and the shock and often gratitude of the moment but also seeing these more personal stories being told that are very well relatable on different levels. Its the positive vibes that flow in every moment and the value of being able to embrace change that gives so much life to the show itself.

At the fifth season of Queer Eye, you pretty know what to expect from the show. Its a makeover show but somehow, it brings a lot more to the table than just that. Its about everyday people and their difficulties and how to get their life back on track. I’m sure that the show works on many levels because its relatable. Sure, we’re not going to go and do some intense makeover but its a way to look at the people around us as well as even our own lives and issues in a different light and with it, whatever positive message applies to the viewer. Bingeworthy, emotional and sending out positive vibes as always.

Hopefully, we’ll be seeing the sixth season of Queer Eye sooner rather than later.

TV Binge: Floor is Lava (Season 1, 2020)

Floor is Lava (Season 1, 2020)

floor is lava

Host: Rutledge Wood

Teams compete to navigate rooms flooded with lava by leaping from chairs, hanging from curtains and swinging from chandeliers. – IMDB

Anyone hanging around this blog knows that I’m a big fan of binging these reality competition shows from Netflix so in when Floor is Lava was announced, I was really excited to see how it was going to be. In concept, Floor is Lava is a great idea as its a bit of the amateur version of Ultimate Beastmaster where its just every day people teamed together to make it to navigate the room and make it to the exit.

Its definitely a fun idea and for the most part, its pretty entertaining and a lot of it is thanks to a great hosting effort from Rutledge Wood, who has moved from his car-related shows to this type of game show (although I’d really like to know whether a second season of Hyperdrive is going to happen at some point). Still, he pulls off some great background voice with some good jokes and narrating over the whole happenings of the course.

floor is lava

The rooms themselves are quite interesting to watch but as a lot of teams do work in similar fashion, some of those episodes are a little more repetitive. Luckily, these episodes run at around 30 minutes each so it keeps things pretty quick. It has that unknown factor of how many will make it to the end but at the same time, it doesn’t have that many surprises but then, this is a reality show and you can’t really control how things turn out. Lets face it, a lot of these shows work because of watching how these contestants fail or overcome those more challenging obstacles.

If there was something to comment on which makes this show a little inconsistent and feels like they are still using Season 1 to experiment on structure over the 10 episodes.  Here’s the general idea of the structure over the 10 episodes and the changes that occur so that its gives a better view of what I’m about to discuss. The show is structured in first 5 episodes are five different rooms titled Level 1 and the last 5 episodes is Level 2 of the same rooms except with some little changes like booby traps and such. However, not only do the level changes but the second half also fluctuates between some episodes having 2 teams battling it out and then 2 people teams instead of the normal 3 people team and these little changes in the norm happens for one episode here and there. Its a good and bad thing. On one hand, its good because you can see it as variety. However, on the other hand,  it felt more like an inconsistency and not sure why they chose to do it this way. Maybe it meant to feel refreshing. Its not exactly a criticism but something that I’m not sure how I actually feel about it as it didn’t feel like it added to the show as I had enjoyed the original structure of three teams going through each room per episode.

Overall, Floor is Lava is a fun concept. Its something of a silly entertainment as its not exactly serious especially the over the top sinking into the lava portions for the contestants. There are some little things I’m not quite sure about with the structure they chose throughout the season however, Rutledge Wood’s hosting is one of the standout points and some of the room designs are pretty fun and vary in difficulty level. The show has some  space for improvement and hopefully if it does get a second season, it will decide on a more solid structure. Still, its fun enough that I would watch another season.

What’s Up 2020: Week 23

Another week has gone by as we step into June! Weather is warming up and we’re starting to find the reason to get back to the great outdoors and hike some more to escape a little and get back into shape a little more. We will leave that for the next Weekly Adventures and upcoming posts.

READING

No Signal

  • No Signal by Jem Tugwell (Review)
  • Reaper: A Horror Novella by Jonathan Pongratz

Currently reading: Call Numbers: The Not So Quiet Life of Librarians

Fantastic progress with reading this week. I’ve been reading outside by the pool or in the sun a little during lunch time or weekend mornings. Its a lovely feeling and very efficient in terms of just catching up to the book commitments that I have to try to wrap up before the end of June. I’m definitely getting back on track! Both of the books that I read are really pretty good but I’d have to say that No Signal is impressive as both a sequel and the premise it takes and especially the world building. You can check out the review linked above.

PLAYING

hidden folks

Currently playing: Hidden Folks: On Tour

Hidden Folks, in general, brings me immense joy and then they always deliver new levels for free and that makes me also very appreciative. There’s just so much to love about Hidden Folks from its sound effects made by humans to its cute little things you need to find in the level and the quirky descriptions they use as clues. Its really a lot to love and their latest free DLC level is On Tour is just great. I’m still playing through the 2nd of 6 levels or something so still a long way to go.

WATCHING

the garden of words

  • Harith Iskander: I Told You So (2018)
  • Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (2018)
  • The Foreigner (2017, Review)
  • Gwen (2018)
  • The Garden of Words (2013)

A little bit of stand-up comedy shows and a few more movies this week. Its really quite the improvement from the last 2 weeks at least. About time too, since I was running out of movies to review for the double feature if I didn’t start picking up some more movie watching time. Some solid movies here which were very different. One was slow-burn, one was nice and the other was action so it had a nice balance. The Garden of Words is my highlight of this week, although the two stand-up comedy shows were pretty decent also. This anime is only 45 minutes and is directed and written by the creator of Your Name and still has some great storytelling abilities as well as visuals.

BINGING

welcome back to sound

  • The Big Flower Fight (Season 1, 2020) Review
  • Welcome Back To Sound (Season 1, 2020)

Currently binging: Produce Camp 2020, Me To Us, Woof Meow Story, Go Fridge 6, Yes I Do 2, We Are Blazing, Queer Eye S6

While I had a lot of fun with The Big Flower Fight, I do have to say I’ve been really loving Mango TV’s latest variety reality show, Welcome Back To Sound which is pretty much bringing back the concept of radio shows where people call in with their stories and they listen and give their advice or discuss and try to suggest or guide them. The goal of the show is to pull people away from the screen life and bring back human contact of being on the phone or writing letters, etc. Some of the stories are incredibly touching and some are fairly bizarre and quirky and then each show, they have a listener goal and a different mission/challenge as their own showcase or structure. Its too bad that Mango TV doesn’t have English subtitles as its one of those shows that would be definitely worth a watch especially since the three hosts and their guests are all very fun to watch. At least Season 2 is confirmed so looking forward to that hopefully before next year.

That’s it for this Week 23’s recap!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

TV Binge: The Big Flower Fight (Season 1, 2020)

The Big Flower Fight (Season 1, 2020)

The Big Flower Fight

Hosts & Resident Judge: Natasia Demetriou, Vic Reeves, Kristen Griffith-Vanderyacht

Ten pairs of florists, sculptors and garden designers face off in a friendly floral fight to see who can build the biggest, boldest garden sculptures. – IMDB

Netflix comes up with a lot of reality competition shows and a lot of times, they do work for the most part and then sometimes, we have shows that make us wonder whether there is an actual market and who else is watching it? The Big Flower Fight is one of those shows where I did enjoy watching it because I’m a big fan of flowers, plants and gardening in general but then I’m wondering how many of us have that ambition to go and make some relatable garden sculptures like these 20 people are doing over 15 hours. However, what makes its fun is that competition element and the whole different themed weeks which bring in different types of flowers and plants that give it that educational element.

the big flower fight

If we take a look at the hosts Natasia Demetriou and Vic Reeves, they do have a nice humorous charm in their hosting style. There’s a lot to love about how they approach each stage. Sometimes, its a big over the top but it does feel like its in the context of giving this tense competition process some kind of relief. I think other than the hosts themselves, the judges themselves deserve some discussion. I’m not an expert at these renowned event florists and landscapers and horticulturist so none of these people mean anything to me and they could be saying anything in terms of their vision and what is being done to judge it, but if anything, it goes back to expanding our knowledge in this field. At the same time, they also share a lot of knowledge on the different plants available in the nursery that fit the theme on hand. The resident judge, Kristen Griffith-Vanderyacht is also quite a fun addition because he has some charisma and character that it brightens the show and his views are rather interesting as he looks at each of these sculptures.

the big flower fight

Just like baking shows and whatnot, while this feels definitely more of a niche market, it gives a platform to a different group of people around the world who has a passion for different types of planting from urban indoor gardens to event florists to artists as their outlet and a chance to show the world their skills. For that, The Big Flower Fight does a really good job. Life’s about learning new things. Just like a fraction of anyone is going to join into Hyperdrive or Ultimate Beastmaster, the same goes for The Big Flower Fight where its mostly a learning process. In the end, garden sculptures is something of an art/exhibition piece. Everyone’s interpretation and execution as the show goes along sheds some light on how they use their plants and the whole process of giving them alive. I’m not going to go and plant a garden sculpture anytime soon (or ever) and while I question how popular this show actually is and how many people are turning this on, its a unique angle to focus on and one that I’ve had a rather fun time watching as its not only about plants but also about the engineering behind each of these structures and sculptures and the balance that it achieves. There’s quite a bit of finesse, knowledge and skills needed to do all this.

Have you seen The Big Flower Fight or at have an intention to watch it?

TV Binge: Too Hot to Handle (Season 1, 2020)

Too Hot To Handle (Season 1, 2020)

too hot to handle

On the shores of paradise, gorgeous singles meet and mingle. But there’s a twist. To win a $100,000 grand prize, they’ll have to give up sex. – IMDB

Netflix has been working on overtime at creating their own exclusive series to cover all forms of reality dating series and social distancing like The Circle and Love is Blind. Its all fairly guilty pleasure watches. What makes Too Hot To Handle from the two mentioned above is that those two have some social experiment elements to it, whereas this one is strictly guilty pleasure and right from the get-go in the first episode when the contestants are announced, its already positive that these people involved are all fairly shallow and full of themselves (there’s a difference between self-confidence and being full of themselves).

too hot to handle

When you pick a series that focuses on watching a bunch of contestants in their bathing suits half naked 90% of the time living together who have to give up sex and any rule breaking is results in different amounts of reducing their total jackpot of $100,000, its hard to think that it is going to have a lot of substance. On top of that, the show has a unnamed narrator which made some pretty funny sarcastic comments, which I did enjoy, and all the contestants were observed by an cone-shaped air freshener-looking AI called Lana that would notify them of rule-breaking, how much money was left as well as liaison between organizing dates and other announcements. I’m not going to lie that I hesitated to start this one up but in the state of the world that this show is arriving at, I was down for some mindless entertainment that didn’t require a ton of my attention.

too hot to handle

Let’s break it down. Too Hot To Handle is full of contestants that honestly aren’t very likable. I mean, in their introductions, they pretty much all share the same values of thinking they are total bombshells and studs. I say, “thinking” because well, beauty is to the eye of the beholder and I’m no longer in the phase of life where looks can cover up some very annoying traits (which some of these contestants do have). But, when you start up a show like Too Hot To Handle, you have to expect a few things and know exactly what to expect and be okay with that. One of those things is cringe-y moments and rather stupid commentaries and boy, are those plentiful in here especially in the first few episodes as we get to know these contestants a little more and they are in their first interactions.

too hot to handle

That’s not to say that the show doesn’t aim to reform these contestants a little by giving them little workshops. They are punished for not embracing the rules and engaging in personal development. All these things results in monetary punishment most of the time with some exceptions. The workshops focus on sorting out their issues whether its in ladies-only or men-only workshop to embrace their own issues and empowerment while also having workshops together on relationship like trust and communication, etc. Its fairly generic stuff that happens as it introduces some exercises with fancy names. Its part of the show that tries to add some substance and give these contestants a little more depth and growth than when they first started. Aside from that, like many of these types of show, they throw in some plot twists to give it some exciting elements and adds in rewards instead of only punishments.

Overall, Too Hot to Handle is exactly what it advertises to be. You already know whether you will enjoy this one or not before you start this up. If you hate reality shows like this, then stay far away. If you like the pure guilty pleasure of this type of show and you might even call this trashy (but I don’t want to be mean), then you will like it for exactly what you expect to get.  For myself, it fit the time and I kind of didn’t mind it too much once I got past the first few episodes and got used to the contestants a little more. As for my anticipation of a second season, I’m don’t really have a preference whether there is one but I’d probably watch it anyways if it happens. Once in a while, guilty pleasure can be good, right?

TV Binge: Restaurants on the Edge (Season 1, 2020)

Restaurants on the Edge (Season 1, 2020)

Restaurants on the Edge

Creator: Courtney Hazlett

Host: Karin Bohn, Nick Liberato, Dennis Prescott

Three food and design experts travel the world to revive failing restaurants by connecting them to the local culture beyond their gorgeous views. – IMDB

Restaurants on the Edge is a new reality makeover series that uses the concept of choosing restaurants on the edge of a city with a gorgeous view but on the edge of failing and leaving their own savings in jeopardy. Its the basis of how each of these restaurants of chosen on an international scale. The three hosts go in as specialists to not only fix the restaurant by introducing better menu options and interior design elements that bring it together with the area they are in to unify the concept but also at times, to help the owners clear up some of their own mindset and mentality on this restaurant. While it does a lot of the makeover elements, what makes Restaurant on the Edge stand out is that its much more of a food, travel and culture show than a makeover reality show. Sure, it explores the owners and their own leadership and business values, giving each of these locations and restaurants their own life and purpose and exposing the world of the different beautiful views that these places have to offer but it also spends most of its time in each of these places visiting the artists and cultural elements and exploring the food and local produces and resources.

restaurants on the edge

While I’ve never heard of any of the hosts before, they each have their strengths and manage to create a nice balance in what they do. The places they go to whether its food, culture and design all brings a good element as they implement it into the end product of the makeover in the final reveal. Dennis Prescott takes on the food and local produces side of things which leads him in some locations to discover some interesting experiences. At the same time, Karin Bohn is responsible of the design and she focuses a lot on use of space and art and bringing culture together. Whereas, Nick Liberato is more of the culture and brings in the entrepreneurship know-how as he usually has the sit down with the owners about their bad online reviews and how to improve it and brings the owners back on track with finding the right mentality of running those businesses. Each of them are good in their own domains.

restos on the edge.png

Restaurants on the Edge is definitely a fun reality show. Its great on the makeover level but I love for its focus on bringing restaurants to embrace their local produce and showing off some of the culture in the area whether its with food, design or whatever else. It chooses some interesting locations to visit and really picks some restaurants that probably would have been hidden if it wasn’t for the show. Of course, for myself, I always love it when the show focuses a lot in Canadian cities as well as even making a stop in Hong Kong where I can truly relate. I’d be down for this to have a second season for sure!

TV Binge: Next in Fashion (Season 1, 2020)

Next in Fashion (Season 1, 2020)

Next in Fashion

Hosts & Judges: Tan France & Alexa Chung

Guest Judges: Elizabeth Stewart, Jason Bolden, Monique Lhuillier, Prabal Gurung, Phillip Lim, Kerby Jean-Raymond, Adriana Lima, Christopher Kane, Josefine Aberg, Maxwell Osborne, Dao-Yi Chow, Tommy Hilfiger, Eva Chen, Elizabeth von der Goltz

18 budding fashion designers compete for a $250,000 prize and the opportunity to launch a clothing line with Net-a-Porter. – IMDB

Next in Fashion is the the latest global competition that takes on finding the best upcoming fashion designers around the world with a huge prize to help their fashion business grow while giving them a chance to also launch their line online. Its a pretty big deal and one of the best parts of these shows is seeing that there is an international participation with the fashion designers coming from different countries and with different backgrounds. Just like any competition, each week’s task is a different type of clothing to challenge them and to help them break out of their comfort zone.

To be honest, most Netflix competitions (as with most competitions) are structured very similarly. What makes it exciting is the race against the clock to make something that embodies the designers vision. At the same time, the show starts off with pairing the designers into twos and it varies between some duos who have worked together before and some who are completely strangers and need to find their balance in the work up until a certain point where the teams are separated and they compete as individuals up to the finals. This is pretty much the most similar to the Netflix global cooking competition, The Final Table (review). This structure works well for this style of show as you see the idea of cooperation and the new ideas that push through each other’s comfort zones so when they break apart, it also helps give them that individual ideas and direction. I think it happens a little late in the show and I wonder whether it has to do with one of the episodes that result in a dilemma that ends up with no team being eliminated. We will come back to talk about this issue later.

If we look at the hosts, participants and judges, its a pretty nice group. I’m not into the fashion world so I know very little of where these judges come from other than Tommy Hilfiger because his clothing is pretty much a household name and widely available and like Adidas or other big name brands. The hosts are Tan France and Alexa Chung and they are a fun pairing. I’m a big fan of Tan France, even on Queer Eye so its great to see him do this show because he does have a more grounded fashion sense and one that can be elevated. Pairing with Alexa Chung, they both balance each other out pretty well. As for the participants, its nice to see that they are from many different countries: South Korea, UK, China, Mexico, North America, etc. It gives a different vibe as you can see each stylist and their different vision that they bring to the table especially as each challenge always is at least one of their fortes while others will find it challenging. Its a good way to give them a more well-rounded way to attack different challenges and break through the comfort zone. I think those challenges and the teams that can get through it really are the most fun to watch.

Overall, Next in Fashion is a pretty good competition. I’d say that its one entirely bingeworthy. I think I watched it over 2 to 3 days. Its nice to see different fashion and ideas in different types of interpretations. If there was anything to criticize based on that one incident they had (which bothered me a little) is that there isn’t a strong enough system of elimination. Its a competition and sometimes tough choices need to be made. While I can understand that fashion is subjective, there has to be some way where even when its not unanimous to be able to keep with the system of elimination whether giving the guest judge who has the expertise the tie breaker or get some odd number of judges or whatnot. I’m not a competition expert but it just seemed a little unprofessional how the whole thing went down when the editing showed a favor of who was supposed to leave. Either way, its just a thought. I still think its very entertaining as a competition and I’d be down for another season.