TL;DR – This is a breath of fresh air in a crowded market that shines by showing the strength of people and not my trying to tear them down.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
In Australia, it feels like if you want to make any new content you have two choices Sport or Reality TV. Everything has to be designed around “Event TV’ that is television that you have to watch live so that you can be part of the conversation the next day in the office. This has been done in the response of shifting viewing habits of people away from traditional timeslots and TV stations not knowing how to respond. In Australia that has meant that we are inundated with one reality show after another, each jostling to try and be that next event, often by scraping through the bottom of the barrel to see what is underneath. For a viewer, this means that they take a concept and try and stretch as much out of it as possible so it can fill as much of the schedule as possible, and for a consumer, this is a real drag (and I assume it is no joy for the people making it either). However, every now and again something will break through the noise, and today I get the chance to look at just one such show, even though it is a reality TV show on three times a week.
So to set the scene, if you have seen a reality competition show before then you probably know what to expect here. Eight teams enter into a warehouse where they battle in the challenge after challenge where some of them will be eliminated until there is only one team left. The big change this time around is that the arena where they are battling is not food, or singing, or being married, at first sight, no it is building Lego creations. It is a show that celebrates creativity, working under pressure, but also being part of a team, and supporting them at each step of the way.
I have mentioned that Lego Masters stands out in a crowded market, and it is done
through a number of clever changes to a format we have seen before. The first
comes down to the concept. Playing with Lego is one of those almost universal
constants in the world, so a show that revolves around building with Legos is
something that is instantly tangible for an audience. But it is also understandable
that these people are working on a whole different level than what we would
have been given the same Lego bricks. This means that this is a competition
that is focused on creativity from start to finish, and that is just a joy to
watch. Also working with Lego is such a tactile and oftentimes fragile thing,
that it makes fantastic television like maybe I would watch it in real time
fantastic. However, no matter the scale difference, I think everyone watching
had that moment of nostalgia when they opened up the Brick Pit and you just
dreamt what you would do if you had been given access.
While this is an interesting premise, it is the execution of it that elevates Lego Masters into a must watch show. To begin with, it casts off all the common tropes that permeate the genre. Everyone is there to make Lego creations and that is all the tension you need, you don’t need to manufacture it. Watching a show where there is no evil team out to wreck everyone is such a refreshing change of pace and the wholesomeness of the show does not stop there. The judge Ryan ‘Brickman’ McNaught seems to be genially wanting each and every team to do their best offering actual helpful advice as well as reassuring competitors and supporting them at every step of the way. All of the teams, Jimmy and Maddy, David and G, Henry and Cade, Jordan and Miller, Bilsy and Kale, Kaitlyn and Marielle, Matt and Lyn, and Dinushi and Gayan love making Lego creations, you can see them get excited when another team builds something amazing. Also, it shows once again that it is not hard to get diversity on TV and frankly there are no excuses for other shows at this point.
is all elevated by an almost irreverent attitude towards the tropes of reality
TV. The host Hamish Blake has a strong comedic background which he brings to
the proceedings with gusto. While not every moment lands (like pretending to
get the teams mixed up) the way he takes the formula of a reality TV show and
turns it on its head by exposing the seams leads to some wonderfully meta
moments. There was a moment where part of a build collapsed, to which Hamish
announced that “It feels like an ad break”
and the show delivered. Or when I was sitting here wondering, hey you are
finished but you still have 20 minutes left on the show according to the guide,
only to have that instantly referenced in the show. These Meta moments make an
almost surreal experience that perfectly complements the show.
As well as this, from a production point of view, the show is really well constructed. From an editing perspective, I can imagine just how much footage they had editing 10 hours of content from multiple cameras down to an hour run time, but they make it work. Also, the photography of the Lego models is expertly created. Using a probe lens to get these up close macro shots of all the tiny details, so you can get both the small and big picture.
the end, do we recommend Lego Masters AU?
Yes, of course, we do. It is charming, uplifting, and fun of fun. In a world
full of misery and drama, it takes the high road and builds people up rather
than tearing them down. Finally, I ask you to find something tenser than
watching teams move their new creations from where they are working on it to
where they are going to display it.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
Have you seen Lego Masters AU yet ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Lego Masters AU
Based on – Lego Masters
Production/Distribution Companies – Endemol Shine Australia & Nine Network
Featuring – Hamish Blake & Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught