Jim Henson’s Creature Shop ‘Swamp Things’ Recap: Episode 01.06

Jim Henson's Creature Shop ChallengePhoto by: Dale Berman/Syfy
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Gigi Edgley guides the crew to the sound stage for a look at the back drop of this week’s Jim Henson’s Creature Shop screen test. The Creature Brief this week challenges the Contestants to create a creature that will completely blend into the swamp environment on set. Given the choice of several types of natural materials to incorporate into their creation, Melissa being last weeks winner gets to choose first; picking grass. Ben next, picking a moss covered rock. Jake a gnarled piece of wood, Robert picks lily pads, and Russ Weeping Junipers. One element of mechanization must be incorporated as well. Julie Zoble is the Shop Master this challenge, known for her talent in texturing and finishing. She will be a valuable resource in this camouflage challenge.

The Contestants head back to the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to get to work. We get a view into the Creature Shop supply room, filled with amazing textiles and supplies for their creations. The first day, Russ panics, feeling already that he is falling behind.

Day 2, the crew is hard at work, the majority include servos in the eyes as their mechanized element. Julie Zobel drops in to give advice, with words of wisdom and stories about Jim Henson. She isn’t impressed with Ben’s rock creature, but Ben decides to ignore her advice, feeling it would take too long to change anything. Several Contestants seem to struggle with the ‘hiding in plain sight’ element of the challenge.

Day 3 is a rush to complete, Robert starts the farthest along. Melissa falls behind on painting and finishing.

Screen test day arrives and the crew meets with their puppeteers to show them how to work their puppets. Robert’s creature looks fantastic. While rehearsing, the arm of Russ’s puppet breaks and he scrambles to fix it in time.

The Judges assemble and the screen tests commence, with guest Judge Neville Page on the panel. Russ’s creature starts, brightly colored and comical, Robert’s cyclops lily pad creature makes the Judges laugh, while Melissa’s blends into the environment the most. Ben’s turtle like creature is well crafted, even if the creature itself doesn’t quite blend. It’s very reminiscent of the turtle creature from Never Ending Story, as if it were the infant version of the same character. Jake’s puppet is interesting, but not as strong as the 3 previous Contestant’s. Jake and Russ look likely to be at the bottom this week.

Best: Robert & Melissa

Worst: Jake, Russ & Ben

Safe: Jake & Ben

Winner: Melissa

Going Home: Russ

Melissa’s puppet definitely deserved the win this week, completely capturing the camouflage challenge. I think Ben needed to be humbled (again). He’s talented, but needs to learn to heed the advice of other more experienced designers, as well as take in account that those that may not be as experienced as he also can have valuable input. Russ’s attitude improved over time, but I have to say that I am relieved that he has finally been sent home. Now down to the final 4 of the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge, I would predict that Jake will be the next to go. I can’t imagine Robert or Melissa not being in the Finale.

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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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