TV Just ain’t what it used to be!
With a channel line-up full of “seen it before” ghost hunting shows, reruns of Face Off and re-airings of Sharknado, one thing is certain; Syfy (or as we used to call them in my day the Sci Fi Channel) is straying a bit off the path of stimulating, and well thought out Science Fiction. The network has dived deep the dreary depths of “drama driven” reality television. Long gone are the days when Syfy was home to such greats as Farscape, Lexx, and even the not to long since passed, Eureka.
Syfy’s dwindling output of creative and thoughtful content really showed last night with the world premier of Syfy’s original “Docuseries” Heroes of Cosplay. Now Heroes of Cosplay at first sounded interesting to me! Then once I started watching previews and learned that the show wasn’t a competition format (like Project Runway or Face Off) but a Documentary following cosplayers broken down into episodes I immediately became turned off from the idea. However, being an active cosplayer with a bit of my own “cult” following I decided to give the show a chance!
The episode began with with an introduction to all the cosplayers or the “heroes”: Scruffy Rebel, Becky Young, Jessi Lagers, Yaya Han, Holly Conrad, and Jessica Merizan. As well as their goal to compete in Wizard World Portland’s Cosplay Contest. While introducing the cosplayers the show makes it’s statement very, very clear over and over again. The best quote to sum up it up was by Scruffy Rebel.
She said “I don’t really do cosplay for fun”.
Out of all the girls the only cosplayers I could even slightly relate to were Holly and Jessica.
Jessica put it best,
“if it stops being fun I have no problem pulling the plug. I learned that from Mary Poppins”
As we meet all the cosplayers the show makes a point to glorify some form of “cosplay elitism” (which in my opinion is just silly). Yaya han is thrown into the spotlight for this. Rather then shining in it, she just came across as a smug and egocentric.
She pompously explained, “People hold me to higher standards than other cosplayers”. There is no queen of cosplay. If she would like to put herself on a pedestal… power to her, I suppose.
Next the series unnecessarily manufactures it’s own mini dramas. As someone in the cosplay community I really scratched my head at a lot of these.
The drama “heats up” when (an attempt of) a direction for the episode comes clear. During a conversation with all the ladies at a bowling alley someone mentions Yaya will be judging the cosplay contest at Wizard World Portland Comic Con. The girls all acted surprised as if this were an extraordinary circumstance. They all were Repeating that “I had no idea Yaya would be judging, that means I really have to step up my game. I’m screwed” (or something along those lines) They even emphasized it in their interviews on the show. This was really fake to me. Firstly Yaya Han judging a cosplay contest is never a surprise. I would be surprised if she where not the judge at a convention costuming contest! She has judged at every costume convention I have seen or heard of in the past two years. This entire portion on the show was completely fabricated and it showed. Not only due to that knowledge, but these girls certainly did seem awkward saying it. They certainly are not trained actresses and this idea seemed very fed to them. I suppose that is a common trait in any reality show.
Moving on to the race to compete in the contest. As the cosplayers were all struggling to get their costumes together, and the show struggled to create a sense of purpose or suspense: I struggled to keep watching. The only bit I can really say I liked was watching Holly Conrad explain what a Drow was to a lady behind a costume makeup counter. (who stared blankly back at her of course, lol)
The show really failed to make me care about anything or anyone in it. It just wasn’t interesting, and I’m someone who loves cosplay! I can only imagine how someone unfamiliar with cosplay would be. It certainly wouldn’t be something I would want to watch or be interested in becoming involved in. It was missing the elements that make shows like Face Off and Hot Set fun and interesting and really fell flat. To quote my boyfriend, “This is stupid”.
I do not see Heroes of Cosplay as something giving a positive or true look into the nerd community nor do I see it as a series that has the making to be a “hit”. After just the first episode, the series seems very hallow. The show really seems confused as to whether it wants to be a documentary, or a staged reality show. I suppose the only reason for Syfy claiming it is a “docu series) is to get around the copyright nightmare that a series on cosplay costumes would be.
Did you watch the world premier of Heroes of Cosplay? What did you think?