#watched STEAMPUNK'D (S1E4)
"Inspired by 19th century industrial steam-powered machinery, “Steampunk” is a retro-futuristic design movement seen in everything from fashion, to technology, to pop culture. In STEAMPUNK’D, the contestants (also known as “Makers”) work in teams and compete in a series of pressure-filled challenges designed to test their unique abilities to transform ordinary objects and fashion into creative masterpieces. Each week, one of the 10 Makers will be eliminated and the last one standing will take home the $100,000 grand prize." (steampunkd.gsntv.com)
With a genre I personally adore, utilized as a main theme in a reality competition-styled show where folks build and sew creations based on said theme? How could I NOT watch this?
Having said that, I had only caught a single ep of the series so far (Ep#4), with snapshots taken off my laptop screen and instagrammed, and thus far fancily I am vaguely impressed, and will try to catch the series when I am able to, although not making any definitive attempt to.
To say "steampunk" is a highly restrictive design might be too harsh of a statement, but I personally think it certainly helps focus on what the result could be, compared to a mass encapsulatory design seen on similar build/make-shows like "Ellen's Design Challenge" et al.
The joy of "steampunk", is it's imagery conveyed by going "backwards" in style/age evolution, and moving forward to a re-imagined "future", with the utter joy of seeing creations blossom out of it, IMHO.
In this respect, STEAMPUNK'D - on the surface - is able to accomplish that. Although the severe saturated colors and high contrast of the series visuals is highly distracting, likened to the promo trailer posted up top.
This is not MasterChef USA where the images are treated to make the food look "delicious", innit? Like the CHROME filter I personally constant use to make my IG shots look colorful too LOL
I like that each challenge is meant for a specific room which ultimately fills up an entire "manor", that also serves as part of the backdrop, and that is so much fun!
And the notion of a junkyard ("Spunkyard") for the contests to recycle and reuse is a swell notion!
Much like the "Inventive Test" in MasterChef LOL
Contestants are made to work in groups, and they have three days to dress up the room, including providing costumes for humans (nobody literally wears them though, not yet anyways), and having the set have moving parts pushes it to a billed level beyond pure "set decoration".
Like I said; "FUN" :)
THEN the groups and individual members are judged (by a fixed panel and invited guests) and two winning makers get to be team captains for the next episode's challenge, while one maker will be chosen by the judges to be eliminated and leave the show.
This is after all, a "competition show".
There are ten episodes to the first series.
Inventiveness and visuals aside, the prerequisite "drama" attached to games shows such as this, is a large component of this program, which reminds me loads of similarly themed build-stuff shows like the aforementioned "Ellen's Design Challenge" (I was clued into this by my sister), and other genres of it's ilk, like "Styled to Rock", "Project Runway" et al. Not necessarily my taste of happenstance, but that's the deal for the show, I guess.
So really, the steampunk element here is purely for thematic purposes, and not necessarily for the advancement of the genre, as often claimed, IMHO. It's not a "celebration of", it is primarily a "competition theme", innit? … but of course I'd only watched a single episode.
Visually, this is fun and eye-candy thru steampunked-googles, in all it's touristy flavor, given the timeline for completion of weekly projects, of course. I am somewhat grateful not EVERYTHING is painted copper, even tho the element of having multiple studs/rivets is de-rigueur.
On first watch, I was somewhat taken off course with Jeannie Mai as the show host (her work in "How Do I Look?" is ingrained too much within me, I suppose … hey, that's the only other show we see her in here in Asia, okay? :p), but gradually throughout that one episode, I could see her good heart and positive, supportive nature, while interacting with the contestants and judges, and much kudos to her, IMHO.
One of my (current) fav reality game shows, is MasterChef - preference being MasterChef Australia, where the notion of support and encouragement is prevalent, as opposed to the more drama-gripped MasterChef USA, where trash-talking and encouraged self-bravado detracts from the food ... but that's just me.
Steampunk'd falls somewhere in the middle, unsure of what direction is is supposed to be going toward. Being "judgmental" but not "supportive" is just one of the hallmarks of reality TV I suppose, especially US-based shows, and that to me is a slight pity.
The thing about MasterChef, is the mix of individual challenges and group challenges, while seems working as a group only serves to bring makers down to a level of "mediocrity"? I hope not, though… but like I oft mentioned before, this is a television reality competition show, after all.
It personally would be extremely interested to see participants of other countries be involved, as I'd really like to not think that steampunk is strictly a US-genre?
If ever they do a "International Steampunk'd" segment, where non-US-based makers' projects were chosen and showcased, it would make for a more enriching aspect to the show, methinks
I want to LIKE this. I want to rave about this! But alas, I need to be convinced more if this is actually with my time to invest in watching it, as opposed to seeing the splendid works of Doktor A - the works of whom I incessantly feature on TOYSREVIL LOL