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Heroes of Cosplay Returns
Posted June 4, 2014 - 11:24:44

Heroes of Cosplay Returns

So the Syfy original reality series Heroes of Cosplay returned last week for what is being referred to as Season 1.5. Now, as those of you who read my blog or listen to Nerd & Tie know, I wasn't particularly happy with how the show's first six episodes represented my beloved con scene last year -- so needless to say I wasn't looking forward to this "second/not second" season.

But we've had two episodes for me to chew on, so I thought I'd give you my thoughts.

To mild relief, I'm happy to say that the first two episodes of "Season 1.5" are significantly better than the first two episodes of the first season. Gone is the explicitly stated focus on "cash prizes" (although they still exist on the show), as is much of the interpersonal drama. While some conversations are still highly staged (like the scene with Crabcat and Chloe at the comic book shop), they're just the standard "set up" conversations that are staged on all stripes of reality shows.

Exposition is hard to capture naturally.

Also, far more of the show is focused on the crafting of costumes than the first season, and the show relies more on this angle for its drama than interpersonal squabbles. And, frankly, there's been a lot less Yaya Han in these episodes.

But while I no longer feel insulted watching the show, I still have some major issues with it.

Yaya Han still features prominently, and while she is a talented cosplayer, she still has the onscreen persona of a block of wood. They've minimized her appearances on the show, but she continues to be exceptionally unnatural and wooden on screen. Some of us have nicknamed her "Sentient Lumber" -- as we believe she is a person deserving of dignity and respect, but we also believe she is composed of wood. She'll likely never leave the show though, as she's centrally involved.

Likewise the show continues to feature non-serious cosplay events on a show supposedly dedicated to serious cosplayers. I mean, it's fine to only so a show about a certain subsection of Cosplay, but then why would you feature a convention like Stan Lee's Comikaze which doesn't have prejudging? The second episode featured Ottawa Pop Expo, which I'm fairly sure DOES have prejudging.

...but even there we never see it. I wouldn't know it had happened if I hadn't looked it up on their website.

This may have more to do with how the production company behind Heroes of Cosplay takes over cons though, and serious cosplay events may not want their dominating presence. From what I've been told, during New Orleans Comic Con (which will feature in a yet unaired episode this season) some contestants were forced to stay there for up to six hours while the show shot.

That's right, six hours. I don't know about you, but if I had paid to go to a con for fun, that might ruin it for me.

To go back to something that I actually liked though, what frustrates me is the small time frames these cosplayers give themselves. Often on this show they have people only taking a week to work on a cosplay. Now I know a lot of talented cosplayers, and often they work on projects for months before they get debuted. It's kind of misleading to make people think they should be able to pull off highly complicated work in a week.

All in all? This "new season" has been a marked improvement over last year's, and I no longer think the show is doing a direct disservice by being on the air. But I still (firmly) believe convention organizers are doing a disservice to themselves and their attendees by letting Heroes of Cosplay in the door.

- Traegorn

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To add a little to the comments about New Orleans Comic Con: The contest was Saturday night and filming didn't end until early Sunday morning; I want to say around 2AM or so. I left the filming around 10PM so I'm not exactly sure. All I know is, there were a LOT of very unhappy cosplayers Sunday afternoon...
What bothered me most about this second episode... They put all this emphasis into pointing out that the contest was using the International Guild's rules... yet didn't even hint at what they were. I had to go googling to find even part of it, and even then all I found were rules regarding levels and if costumes could/couldn't be entered if they'd been in a previous contest.

Trae Dorn
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