So 'Heroes of Cosplay' is a thing...|
Posted Aug 15, 2013 - 9:29:03
Last night I finally sat down and watched the first episode of "Heroes of Cosplay," a new reality show airing on Syfy. While I haven't actively done my own costuming stuff for almost a decade, as a person who has been hosting a coplay contest for quite some time (and is a former cosplay judge) I have a lot of opinions on this piece of "unscripted" programming.
To start off, I put unscripted in quotes because... well... this has to be the least natural reality show I've ever seen. Maybe it's because participants were selected for their costuming abilities and not their ability to perform for the cameras (which is the usual method for "follow people around" reality shows), but yeah... it had a whiff of narm about it.
In fact, much of the program feels exceptionally staged. Maybe it's because (unlike most reality shows) this is a world I live in. We've hit my personal uncanny valley, and I know when I'm not looking at real life. Any moment where the participants are being "social" with each other feels... well... it just isn't real.
Well, that and Yaya Han is so unnatural on camera it kind of hurts.
And before I complain any further, I do want to say, the cosplayers themselves? From what I've seen, they're pretty damned good. I have no criticism of their actual abilities to create costumes. I wasn't familiar with most of them before this show, but the one thing Syfy did right was highlighting some excellent cosplayers.
But even with good cosplayers, I don't think this show in any way gets close
to showing much of the real cosplay scene. For one, there's a huge emphasis on "cash prizes" in the opening. While cash prizes do exist at larger shows, the vast majority of cosplay contests held around the country... well... don't have them.
Cosplay is done, for the most part, by people doing this for fun
. Do most people find it fun to hunt down just the right fabric, accidentally stab themselves whilst sewing, and then search frantically for the pattern they swear they saw just five minutes ago? No. Well... most cosplayers don't find that bit fun either -- but still! This is a hobby done for the joy of it, not for cash.
Also, where the hell was the pre-judging? For those unfamiliar with cosplay contests, any cosplay contest worth its spit doesn't have the judges first seeing a costume when the cosplayer walks across the stage. Prior to the contest, the cosplayer will sign up for a time slot where their costume can be looked at by the judges. This gives the judges the opportunity to see the costume close up and ask construction questions. This is where accuracy and craftsmanship scores really come from, while performance scores come from the actual contest event.
The way "Heroes of Cosplay" presented the event though, I'm fairly certain none of this happened... and based on other things I've read, I'm not surprised
Honestly, all things considered, the show is a terrible representation of the cosplay scene and
awkward as all get out to watch. It's only going to be a six episodes season, so let's hope that the show just quietly dies after they air.
...better yet, let's hope they don't all air.