Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge ‘Return of the Skesis’ Recap: Episode 01.02

Creature Shop Challenge
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The Challengers walk into The Creature Shop this week to find 3 Skesis! The Skesis are the vile villains from Jim Henson’s movie tale The Dark Crystal (1982).  Brian Henson Explains that The Dark Crystal was the original movie that gathered together the team that would eventually become The Creature Shop. Created by his Father Jim Henson and Brian Froud, the Skesis were designed to be reptilian and bird-like. The creature brief this week is to create a new version of the Skesis. Ones that were banished to a far off land, then called back, to see how they have evolved during their time away. The Challengers will work in teams of 3, and have 3 days to complete the project.

The Teams:

Robert, Melissa & Josh- Decaying Forest Skesis

Yvonne, Russ & Tina- Arid Desert Skesis

Ben, Lex & Jake- Frozen Wasteland Skesis

The teams are given a unique environment that their Skesis have been banished to, that must be incorporated into the final result. The crew are given the help of a master creature designer to help them complete their project, Julie Zobel, who worked on George of the Jungle & Dinosaurs.

The Contestants are a buzz with the news that Russ and Tina will be working together again, after the fire works of last week. Russ says that he is happy to have the chance to work together again, so that they have the chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of the Judges.

 

The teams sketch, then its time to scramble to get the challenge done in little to no time. Yvonne notices that Tina gets unfocused easily, and may cause time management issues. Russ and Yvonne struggle to get Tina to focus her excitement on the task at hand.

The sculpture work is fascinating this week, with the complex forms of the Skesis. Several Contestants are getting a crash course on the mechanics of animatronics. Julie Zobel tells the teams to keep in mind how many performers will have to be coordinated inside the Skesis, to simplify designs so they can realistically operate during the screen test.

The creatures come together on day 3, and the work done in such little time is impressive. Russ, Yvonne and Tina are left lagging behind the other teams. All are painting and finishing until the last minute. The amount of work completed on such little time is amazing.

On screen test day, the teams have one hour to coordinate how the puppeteers will perform. It’s obvious that the Contestants are nervous. Jake’s team is worried that the head of their Skesis may fall off during the screen test.

On the sound stage, the teams find the set of The Dark Crystal, with original props from the movieJudges Kirk Thatcher, Beth Hathaway & Brian Henson gather again to critique the Contestant’s work. The screen tests start, and the stage comes to life. It’s truly astounding what the teams have managed. Russ, Yvonne and Tina’s Skesis eye mechanism fails, leaving them nervous.

The Judges don’t pull any punches, proving highly critical. Yvonne’s team is caught off guard when the Judges ask for the eye movement to be demonstrated, it fails, along with the movement of the small creature Tina fabricated at the last minute. They are impressed by the work done on both Lex and Melissa’s teams.

Safe: Lex, Ben & Jake

Worst: Yvonne, Russ & Tina

Winning Team: Robert, Melissa & Josh

Winning Creature Designer: Robert

Going Home: Tina

The losing team was no surprise, but it was nice to see that Russ and Tina could actually work together to create something. The lack of drama this round made for a much more enjoyable experience for the viewer. It was incredible to see what could be done in only 3 days, the original concept for the Skesis having taken over a month to come together. This show gets more and more fascinating, I really am intrigued with what is in store for the contestants!

 

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About the Author

Ruby LeRouge
is a long time slave to the Silver Screen, and all around media junkie, with a strong interest in the study and archival of classic cinema reels, scripts, press releases and props. A professional artist, dabbling in prop fabrication, costuming, and practical effects makeup in her spare time. She credits much of her artistic inspiration to her life long love of movies, and holds a special adoration for stop motion animation, film noir, and classic B movies. She writes a movie editorial blog called Sleepless Cinema, sharing her candid view on all media, new and old. Insomniac and cinephile, coffee swiller and media collector, has silver screen scream queen dreams, and she lives her life in technicolor. "While the world sleeps, I watch". - Ruby LeRouge
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