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Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge: season 1, episode 8 - Tavern at the...

Pictures from the finale of Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge.
Pictures from the finale of Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge.

Tonight's episode is the finale, with just three contestants left: Ben, Robert, and Melissa. Robert, who has always seemed shaky to begin with (and complains a lot about how hard the contest is) seems unlikely to make it. Melissa, on the other hand, has talent but seems to be having difficulty leading others. Ben, of course, is the frontrunner with his biggest problem being his ego. Brian Henson gives this advice to the three contestants. The final creature brief:

Each of you have to design and build your own original creature, a fantasy being. A traveler that meets two other travelers at a mysterious tavern where their roads cross. When all three are in the tavern they're going to tell the other two the story of where they come from, their species, and the journey that they're on. That means for the first time all three of your creatures will have to interact with each other. As this is the final brief, you have to design and build your own prop, and the story of that prop has to be incorporated into your traveler's story..

The traveler also needs to enter the room and sit at a bar. Each creature will have to perform some special effect. Each contestants is randomly assigned a creature shop master. And oh yeah, the former contestants are back -- this is TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM FACE OFF. Just kidding, it's almost exactly the same, with the exception that the teams were pre-assigned. And the teams are:

  • Melissa (Lex and Chaz): An older character named Abernash with mattered fur. Special Effect: A glowing bottle and a smoking pipe. Melissa's shop master is John Criswell.
  • Robert (Russ and Ivonne): A really tall creature named Vlorkof, a lost traveler with torn-up clothes who carries a crystal ball. Special Effect: a smoking crystal ball. Robert's shop master is Pete Brooke.
  • Ben (Jake and Tina): A sad creature named Solee, the last of his species, who has created these embryos he wants to give it to somebody to raise. Special Effect: It cries! Ben's shop master is Julie Zobel.

And the winner is...

Robert?! Although he wouldn't have been my first choice, Robert's design fulfilled the judges' requirements of being camera-ready. His sneeze/sneer seemed to really put it over the top.

Overall, Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge (JHCSC) borrowed liberally from its sister show, Face Off, but didn't borrow enough. Face Off has a time clock that really keeps the episodes ticking along. With some tweaks, JHCSC could be easily as popular as Face Off. Here's looking forward to next season!

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