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Face Off: "Life and Death" Episode 701 Glenn Hetrick, Neville Page (Isabella Vosmikova/Syfy)

Image Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/Syfy

7 reasons 'Face Off' is the best competition show you're not watching

When I talk about Face Off, most people immediately think I’m referring to the old Nicolas Cage movie about face transplants. But I’m actually talking about the crazy-cool special-effects makeup show on Syfy that is starting its seventh season Tuesday, July 22, at 9 p.m.

It’s the best competition show you’re not watching. Here are the seven reasons why you should totally catch the new season of Face Off and thank me later.

1. The contestants are nice—no, really. We all know the reality/competition show mantra: “I’m not here to make friends.” Well on Face Off, the contestants are totally open to winning and friendship. People on Face Off help each other, despite being busy with their own projects. Back in season 5, one contestant’s 300-pound mold fell onto his hand. He had to leave the studio for three hours to get stitches. Several remaining contestants left their own projects so they could clean out the guy’s mold and start running it, so he didn’t lose the time that he was at the hospital. That’s not the only example. When someone has a heavy mold, other contestants help carry it. If a mold gets stuck, people rush over to help open it. (Clearly molds cause much of the drama on this show.) Kindness isn’t an exception on Face Off; it’s a rule.

2. It’s like going behind the scenes. Before I started watching Face Off, I rarely thought about the time and work that went into special-effects makeup. It was just a thing that was there. You didn’t question how that character transformed into a werewolf or a zombie, or how they gave that actress such a realistic-looking scar or burn. But watching how those things happen is incredible, and it gives me an entirely new appreciation for makeup artists and the work that they do. Plus, I’ve learned a lot of the lingo.

Face Off: Judges3. The judges are awesome. There are three regular judges on Face Off, and their resumes are insane. Glenn Hetrick has worked on The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Prestige. Plus, he designs a lot of Lady Gaga’s costumes. Ve Neill has done makeup for Beetlejuice, Mrs. Doubtfire and the Pirates of the Caribbean and Hunger Games franchises. Neville Page was involved with Avatar as well as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Planet of the Apes. And then, of course, you have Michael Westmore, who serves as a mentor (and father of host McKenzie Westmore) and who has been nominated for 42 Emmys (winning nine) and four Oscars (winning one). This is a panel of extremely talented people who definitely know what they’re talking about.

4. The creatures are crazy. No matter what the challenge is—scary, funny, gory, creepy, abstract—these people are going to make some amazing creatures. Sometimes someone misses the mark and you come away scratching your head—what were they going for here?—but most of the time, I sit there in awe. What’s even better about this is seeing the transition from model to creature. During the big reveals to the judges, we get to see a super-cool morph of the model’s face from before makeup to after makeup. Face Off is worth tuning in for the 10 minutes of reveals alone. It’s one thing to watch the makeup created and applied, but it’s another thing entirely to watch everything come together in under five seconds.

5. Speaking of the models … Obviously the makeups these contestants are creating would not be nearly as effective without the models underneath it all. As mentioned above, it’s so neat to watch a beautiful woman or a huge, muscle-y guy transform into a regal elf queen or a half-robot/half-human steampunk police officer. But the models are key to these transformations. They are so patient and cooperative, but they’re also really excited to become these creatures. And the makeup can look great as a concept, but it really takes the life and personality that the models infuse into their characters to make them come to life.

6. With every character comes a backstory. The concept for each creature on Face Off is just as important to the overall character as the makeup that the designer creates. Sure, your elf queen looks great, but how did she rise to power? Whom does she rule over? Do her subjects like her, or is she more of a Machiavellian ruler? And what about your steampunk cop—how did he get his robot bits? What motivates him? What kind of world is he living in? The designers are coming up with entire worlds and backgrounds for their creations, not just a model with some prosthetics.

7. There’s nothing like it on TV. For all of these reasons and more, Face Off is one of the most creative shows on TV right now. It takes the stakes and drama of a competition show and adds elements of fantasy and horror and sci-fi. It’s art and makeup and serial killers and aliens. One week they could be creating Seussical characters or half-animal creatures, and the next week could be scary movie villains or murderous aliens. There are really no limits on this show, and I hope people realize how cool it is. I’d love for you to join me as I recap this season, and find out for yourself how great Face Off is.

Face Off airs Tuesdays at 9/8C on Syfy.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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