These specialty series are nothing new: the “Forged in Fire” storytelling contest has been running for eight seasons. SyFy’s “Face Off” with prosthetic makeup artists and Paramount Network’s “Ink Master” with tattoo artists lasted 13 seasons (the latter is relaunched for Paramount +).
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But more and more, these shows resemble “The Great British Baking Show” rather than “Top Chef” in that they invite amateurs to practice their hobbies instead of bringing in experts to boost their career. “These competitors aren’t necessarily trying to make a profit; they usually do it because they really love it, ”O’Connell said.
“It shows that no matter what your profession, you can always find something that allows you to express yourself and brings you joy. You can be passionate about an art form or skill and compete at a very high level. There is a really ambitious element in seeing real, everyday people succeed week after week. “
It’s fitting that these hobby-centric shows take a relatively relaxed approach compared to the more fierce tournaments on TV. “This kind of show doesn’t have to be mean to be entertaining,” said Anthony Dominici, “Lego Masters” showrunner.
“Yes, they’re technically against each other, but really, these people – who are all so different and from completely different backgrounds – help each other and learn from each other along the way because they see each other as being part of the same niche community.